Education Today Logo


Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Brain plasticity. The good news, the bad news, and the good news

by Dr Ragnar Purje

News Image

The ability for the brain to rewire itself, is, of course good news. However, the brain’s ability to rewire itself has what may be thought of as having a ‘sting in the tail.’ This ‘sting in the tail’ arises that the brain responds neurologically to negative destructive behaviour in the same way that it responds neurologically to positive constructive behaviour.

Double-edged sword
Whatever thinking and behaviours that are being presented, is the neurological wiring that will take place. Therefore, brain plasticity is a double-edged sword.

There is good news: Negative to positive
Individuals who persistently present negative behaviours are rewiring their brain in a manner that supports their negative thinking and associated negative behaviours. However, as noted, there is good news in this as well. This 'negative' neurological wiring can be changed to 'positive' neurological rewiring if the individual in question begins to present and engage in positive behaviours.

These new positive behaviours and positive thinking procedures will begin to rewire the brain to create new neurological processes that will support the new positive thinking and the new positive behaviours and learning that is now taking place.

It’s what you think and do that counts
As the research in brain plasticity points out, neurological connections and pathways are and will be created and enhanced, through personally inspired and self-motivated thinking, and self-activated positive behaviours (such as replacing negative thoughts and behaviours with positive thoughts and behaviours), these new neurological connections will lead to the brain rewiring itself.

This rewiring will support these new positive thoughts and behaviours. As a result, all of these new neurological connections will not only begin to flourish, but all of this will help in the formulation of additional rewiring. In effect a positive cognitive, behavioural and neurological loop is being been formed.

You can change your thinking, your behaviour, and your life
What this means is that the positive thinking and positive constructive behaviours will become the dominant behaviour because these new positive behaviours are “no longer [being] hampered by the interference of a learning [or behavioural] dysfunction” (Arrowsmith-Young 2012, p. 184) that was previously presented.

Use it or lose it
Regarding the previous presenting negative behaviours that led to the development of “negative neurological pathways,” these negative neural pathways will start to be pruned, and then removed by the brain, because the previous “negative neurological connections and pathways” are no longer being supported by any presenting negative behaviours; and as result, this will lead to the development of what could be thought of as a new neurological connection scheme and this will bring with it a positive behaviour brain map.

20 Sep 2018
Recommendations to streamline teaching careers News Image

Recommendations provide clear steps to maintain or improve the high standards of the teaching profession, strengthen child safety, and streamline teacher registration across Australia. Read More

20 Sep 2018 | National
Who wins in new funding model? News Image

It’s now settled, parents’ incomes will be the basis of funding provided to schools, the approach is fairer but some sectors will be better off than others.
Read More

20 Sep 2018 | National
Funding changes postponed News Image

Minister Dan Tehan’s extension of 2018 funding arrangements to 2019 by provides immediate certainty for schools planning for the new year, while allowing time for further work to be undertaken on the issue. Read More

19 Sep 2018 | National
Uni courses for the most profitable career News Image

The more things change the more they don’t, especially when it comes to graduate earning potential says the Grattan Institute’s Mapping Australian Higher Education report. Read More

19 Sep 2018 | National
Mentoring helps low SES students win at life News Image

The ABCN Foundation has been working with students from low-SES schools since 2005 and is the only organisation of its kind to offer the combination of mentoring and financial support. Read More