“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
In addition to Susanne Jaeggi's groundbreaking intelligence training, upon which we've based the MindSparke Brain Fitness Pro™ training method, we've been watching the mounting evidence for the remarkable plasticity of the mind with great excitement:
Rats with rakes...
Dr. Atshushi Iriki, a neuroscientist at the Riken Institute in Tokyo, has trained degus (sociable, Chilean rodents) to use a rake as a tool. Iriki coaxed the rodents to drag sunflower seeds close enough to eat them. (You can watch a video of the degus at work here.)
In a similar experiment with Japanese macaques Dr. Iriki found that "their brains showed signs of gene activity in a brain region that integrates vision and touch" indicating that this kind of learning may lead to molecular and genetic changes in the brain. A particular mental aptitude, when exercised, can lead to a new organization of brain function!
In writing about the brain's limited capacity for governing self-discipline Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang cite research showing that you can increase your self-discipline over time by exercising it. "Even something as simple as using your nondominant hand to brush your teeth for two weeks can increase willpower capacity."
Older is wiser...
Brain researchers have been finding that older minds may well be provably wiser minds. Aging brains pay more attention to seemingly extraneous information, assessing and absorbing it much better than younger minds, showing that the brains of older people have changed and adapted to enhance this capability.