Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I've observed that by putting great effort into learning concepts

  1. Sep 15, 2011 #1
    I've observed that by putting great effort into learning concepts which initially seem incomprehensible or very difficult to conceptualise, even if it may at first appear like I made little or no progress, I usually end up with enhanced cognitive abilities which extend beyond the concepts I was training myself to comprehend. For example I'm a chemistry student and although my thinking style (which is a combo of visual and kinaesthetic) gives me an edge in some areas of chemistry, it seems to make others areas a huge challenge, to overcome which I have to spend a long time contemplating the concepts from different angles until I eventually gain an intuitive understanding of them. I've noticed on numerous occasions that as a result of my arduous efforts to gain this intuitive understanding, I not only gain the intuition necessary to contemplate these particular chemistry concepts, I find myself with the ability to think about things that I was previously incapable of contemplating dexterously. These cognitive abilities only become available to me days later. I suspect neuroplasticity may play a role in all this. I think that I end up with these additional cognitive abilities days later because my brain has literally formed the connections necessary to think in such a way. I'm guessing plenty of you here have observed this kinda thing too.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Re: Neuroplasticity

    I don't know if you can call it enhanced cognitive abilities, you aren't gaining any abilities but understanding something new. Neuroplasticity is bound to be involved in this as contrary to popular opinion this happens all the time in normal functioning. However considering the current lack of evidence for how exactly neural structure relates to knowledge we can't really say "I understand X because my brain grew new connections".
  4. Sep 15, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Neuroplasticity

    yes, I think it has a lot to do with generalization, when your hippocampus "writes" to your neocortex during sleep.
  5. Sep 15, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Neuroplasticity

    Sorry for the short, seemingly speculative post. I was on my iphone:

    Hippocampal --> Neocortical "writing"

    The contribution of sleep to hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation
    Lisa Marshall, Jan Born
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
    Volume 11, Issue 10, October 2007, Pages 442-450


    Hippocampus and generalization:

    Hippocampal Atrophy Disrupts Transfer Generalization in Nondemented Elderly
    Catherine E. Myers, PhD
    Alan Kluger, PhD
    James Golomb, MD
    Steven Ferris, PhD
    Mony J. de Leon, EdD
    Geoffrey Schnirman, PhD
    Mark A. Gluck, PhD
    (J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol 2002; 15:82-90)

    Gluck has done similar experiment with Parkinsons and Alzheimers patients, he talks about it in his presentation here:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Sep 18, 2011 #5
    Re: Neuroplasticity


    I smoked for 20 years, about half a pack a day. I quit smoking about a month ago, am doing just fine.

    Then I was randomly surfing YouTube and came across theme from Civilization II, It's a PC game that came out in 1996 that I use to play while smoking. Waaaay back in 1996.

    As soon as I started hearing/see'ing that video, BAM nostalgia and a huge urge to smoke. I didn't, but I found it fascinating after 1 month of quitting it suddenly felt like day 1. Apparently I'm going to have to do every single activity (like after eating, driving, playing specific games) without smoking to retrain my brain to no longer associate smoking with that activity.

    I'm guessing it will take like me like 10 hours of doing that specific activity and not smoking to retrain brain; if I quit last month or 10 years ago. Well I found it interesting, and scary. Nicotine is insidious for screwing around with the reward circuits of brain, and more.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Sep 18, 2011 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Neuroplasticity

    Yeah, I'm five months without a cigarette now, I know exactly what you mean. Because nAchR receptors are so prevalent in our body, cigarettes affect us in many strange ways.
  8. Sep 24, 2011 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Neuroplasticity


    This is a little late, but have you seen my thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=422276&highlight=adaptive" about the subject, there may be things of interest to you there.

    Rhody... :wink:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: I've observed that by putting great effort into learning concepts
  1. Great extinctions (Replies: 8)

  2. Put my hand on scanner (Replies: 13)