A recent television series, fronted by a well-known Authority Figure, asserted that not only is your personality determined to a significant extent by the way your brain is wired up, but that it will rewire itself if you practise a new behaviour sufficiently.
I’ve just learned my brain is fantastic
(You probably think yours isn’t bad!):
Its structure’s amazingly plastic,
Reconnecting its neurons like mad.
There’s one hundred billion or more,
Whose connections are what make you you.
Got a habit you really deplore?
Then try reconnecting a few.
Want to learn a new language or skill,
Play piano or sing in a choir?
Just practise a lot, then you will,
’Cos your neurons will start to rewire.
They’ll do it themselves, without aid:
They’ll connect up the pathways they need,
Leaving other connections to fade –
All to make sure your efforts succeed.
Reconnecting’s the key to success –
Not too often; or else, as I’ve spotted,
Your neurons could get in a mess
And end up all horribly knotted.
* UPDATE, February 2012: Dr Suzana Herculano-Houzel, of the Laboratory of Human Anatomy at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, used a ‘soup’ of four donated adult male human brains and concluded that the average number per brain was a mere 86 billion. It seems that no-one know where the hitherto widely-quoted figure of 100 billion came from!