Neuroplasticity: can it change your core beliefs?

By William Seidman Neuroplasticity is the capability of the human brain to change as a result of one’s experiences. It is also called “cortical remapping” and you can learn to implement it yourself. Can self-directed neuroplasticity be abused?  Can it be used for “bad” rather than for good? It’s logical to use the example of brainwashing, a practice that takes full advantage of neuroplasticity, but adds conditions such as physical pain and psychological anguish, even terror.  In my work I’ve seen repeatedly that adults will generally reject efforts to use self-directed neuroplasticity to change them in ways that are inconsistent with their deeply-held core beliefs. For example, you know that stealing is wrong. Will a weekend workshop and follow-up exercises designed by neuroplasticity experts who may be practiced in recruiting bank robbers convince you to abandon these beliefs and begin to steal? Probably not. However, if you think that bank robbing is a great career opportunity, then self-directed neuroplasticity exercises might tend to improve your skills. The conclusion to this is that it’s possible for self-directed neuroplasticity to reinforce ideas (even bad ideas such as bank robbing)  in which one already believes– but not to change core beliefs.]]>

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