In praise of dendrites (our brains are even smarter than we thought)

By William Seidman converted RGB Inovision imageResearchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have made a powerful new discovery about dendrites. The neuroscientists discovered that dendrites are far more than just nerve cell connectors providing passive wiring in the brain. As George Dvorsky wrote in an excellent article in, “…dendrites do more than transfer information—they also actively process information, effectively multiplying the brain’s computing power.” “Suddenly, it’s as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought,” noted study co-author Spencer Smith. We talk a lot about the latest neuroscience research on learning in our book, “The Star Factor.” For example, positive imagery and written or verbal affirmations cause the release of the neuro-chemicals that increase openness to new ideas and learning speed. Both positive images and affirmations sharply increase dopamine levels, which are associated with increased openness to new ideas and the ability to learn new attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge faster and more completely. When people envision the tremendous contributions they can make to the greater purpose, and visualize themselves mastering a critical attitude, behavior or body of knowledge, dopamine increases and motivation grows. Related studies have shown that putting these positive images and affirmations in writing transfers neural resources from the portions of the brain associated with fear and resistance to the portions of the brain associated with a sense of control and empowerment. The act of writing itself suppresses neural resistance to change and increases openness to change. The new research on dendrites sheds more light on the power of the brain to change and transform itself. These findings could not only help researchers better understand neurological disorders, it could also challenge the way scientists think about how neural circuitry functions in the brain.]]>

Share this...

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.