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Instigator

Brain Development

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Hi,

So I'm going to be turning 25 years old in a few months. Lately I have been hearing that your brain stops developing at 25 years old. This is worrying because there is still so much I want to learn in life (musical instruments, another language and learning to be a good sales rep).

It would help if someone over the age of 25 with an ambitious attitude to learn share your experiences?

I'm really feeling old right now and it would help to hear! Edited by Instigator
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Where did you hear that? Because I'm pretty sure that's not true. Your brain is like a muscle, the more you work it the more new neurons and connections are formed. It's called neuroplasticity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

However, your brain isn't fully developed until your early 20's, but that's not to say it just goes dormant after that.
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[quote name='BMO' timestamp='1355019356' post='5008671']
However, your brain isn't fully developed until your early 20's, but that's not to say it just goes dormant after that.
[/quote]
I've met a few people whose brains seemed fully dormant at that age.

I agree that this seems like a myth or urban legend, like the "only use 10% of your brain" myth. It isn't one I've heard before.
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[quote name='BMO' timestamp='1355019356' post='5008671']
Your brain is like a muscle, the more you work it the more new neurons and connections are formed. It's called neuroplasticity.
[/quote]QFE. Recent Neuroplasticity work has overturned a lot of long held scientific beliefs about the brain, such as that adult brains don't grow.

The brains of children are the most malleable, and it's easiest to learn things at that stage. A lot of things do get "locked down" somewhat in this initial development period, which is why childhood learning is so important. e.g. if you learn a 2nd language later in life, it will likely be stored in a completely different physical area of your brain than where languages that you learn as a child are stored.
In adolescence/teenage-hood, you brain goes through a period of above-average "pruning", where useful behaviours are cemented and unnecessary cruft is thrown out. This settles down in adulthood, and things settle into a "normal" state. It used to be thought that at this stage, everything was completely finished and locked down, but that's not true; it just takes [i]more practice[/i] to learn things in adulthood than it does in childhood.

For an extreme example, stoke or injury victims have lost entire parts of their brain, responsible for things such as their primary language, etc... These people are basically like an adult who somehow never learnt English, and with enough practice, can be taught English ([i]in a different, undamaged, physical area of their brain[/i]) up to a similar level that they had before their injury -- something the old school of brain scientists didn't believe was possible.


Just like an obese person deciding to get on a treadmill, it's hard for a long-idle brain to develop new skills, but that just means you've got to be ok with hard work.
If you don't let your brain go idle, and spend your whole life learning new things, then in old age, your brain will weigh a lot more than your idle neighbour's. Edited by Hodgman
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Even if it was true, not developing any more wouldn't necessarily mean that it can't learn new things. I'm 27, and I'm learning new things.
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Not only that you CAN learn new things at any age, YOU SHOULD. You should ALWAYS ALWAYS always learn new things - weather it's work/technology related, or just for fun, or a new skill or craft - you should always keep learning, keep reading and keep dreaming.

And to answer your question directly, I just learned how to play guitar in the last year and I'm 29.
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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1355035398' post='5008720']
Just like an obese person deciding to get on a treadmill, it's hard for a long-idle brain to develop new skills, but that just means you've got to be ok with hard work.
[/quote]

Exactly.
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