Forums > Social Chat > nature says: "juggling makes you cleverer"

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:well, its a theory innit... ubbangel

For a bigger brain, juggle
January 21, 2004 - 4:33PM

Juggling and probably other visual skills that take time to master increase the size of your brain.

That's the conclusion of German researchers, which throws down the gauntlet to the mainstream view that the size of the adult brain does not change at all except when it is confronted by ageing or disease.

University of Regensburg neurologist Arne May and colleagues asked 12 people in their early 20s, most of them women, to learn a classic three-ball juggling trick over three months until they could sustain a performance for at least a minute.

Another 12 were a "control" group who did not juggle.

All the volunteers were given a brain scan with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the start of the program, and a second after three months.

After this, the juggling group were told not to practice their skills at all for three months, and then a third scan was taken of all 24 volunteers.

The scans found that learning to juggle increased by about three per cent the volume of "grey matter" in the mid-temporal area and left posterior intra-parietal sulcus, which are parts of the left hemisphere of the brain that process data from visual motion.

Students who had not undergone juggling training showed no such change.

After the third scan, by which time many recruits had forgotten how to juggle, the increases in grey matter had partly subsided.

That proves in the researchers' view that the anatomical change had been only temporary.

"Our results contradict the traditionally held view that the anatomical structure of the adult human brain does not alter, except for changes in morphology caused by ageing or pathological conditions," their study says.

Quite why the brain's size should grow and contract in response to the demand for learning is unclear.

The change could be caused by an increase in production of neurons (brain cells) to cope with the data-processing burden, or, alternatively, to changes in the connections between the cells, the authors speculated.

Their study is published tomorrow in Nature, the British weekly science journal.


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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:i had an emai lfrom a techer in a school near me saying roughly the following(on a different account just now or i'd give you the quote):

'the students who have learnt to juggle and particularly those who persevered and are still juggling have noticeably higher grades than before'


eek\

should be in the national curriculum no?
R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Interesting...

very interesting.

I think we should replace brains with computer chips.

just think of the power we could harness!!!

muhahaha.


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Dunc
Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands
Member Since: 19th Aug 2003
Total posts: 7263
Posted:Quote:


I think we should replace brains with computer chips. Just think of the power we could harness!!!




Just think of the Poi and Staff moves we could do!!


Let's relight this forum ubblove

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telic
I don't want a title.

Member Since: 26th Jun 2003
Total posts: 940
Posted:But they should have had another group of 12 that learned a different skill, like woodworking or baseball or chess.

E pluribus unum, baby.

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:it wasn't *really* about juggling - it was about change of brain size in adults related to learning in general i think.

i agree it would be very interesting to see a comparative study that gives the subjects an entirely non-physical learning task like your suggestion of chess or a learning new language for example.

i guess they chose juggling because it has a very convenient measurability in the early stages which allowed the researchers to define clear start and end points for the goals and period of the learning - start with no juggling skill at all and aim to "learn a classic three-ball juggling trick over three months until they could sustain a performance for at least a minute".

and cos it's cool biggrin
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"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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general spin
member
Location: England
Member Since: 18th Jan 2004
Total posts: 52
Posted:probbly a little off topic but when I started doing poi, and moves were coming thick and fast, I swear down, i felt like a kid again.

At the time I remember thinking about all the new connections being made throughout my nervous system to enable me to do do these moves I also remember comparing this state of affairs to what a child must experience when learning to walk or anything. Its the same, im sure of it.

Motor skills are fundamental part of our being human, (correct me if im wrong here)we are predisposed to the learning of them, the formation of new synapses creates the environment in our brains chemicals that actually encourages the forming of even newer ones, creating a positive feedback loop. Mike could put it better.
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its has always been my opinion that poi or any form of advanced movement (martial arts, boxing, dance) is really just walking... for adults.

Dunno what im trying to say like but this has been bouncing around in my head for a while and this seems like an appropriate place to evict it smile

Thank you for that coleman

P.S. thats a cool name
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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:cheers - yours name badass too man wink

checked out your website and i think it is superb biggrin

i was especially impressed with what you had to say at the bottom of the professional page.

respect.


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Quote:
probbly a little off topic but when I started doing poi, and moves were coming thick and fast, I swear down, i felt like a kid again.

At the time I remember thinking about all the new connections being made throughout my nervous system to enable me to do do these moves I also remember comparing this state of affairs to what a child must experience when learning to walk or anything. Its the same, im sure of it.

.... its has always been my opinion that poi or any form of advanced movement (martial arts, boxing, dance) is really just walking... for adults.




That's a really interesting perspective, I've felt it for a long time but never seen it put into words i.e. I know from experience that learning spinning, juggling, unicycling, music etc etc makes for a happy state of mind, but it's never occured to me that it could be because you're being taken back to the days of play of childhood.


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vanize
vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas
Member Since: 21st Aug 2001
Total posts: 3899
Posted:mind you though that the study doesn't actually claim your brain gets bigger (the media articles are not well worded). what the study showed is that your brain reallocates other parts of your gray matter to the problem of visual processing that it didn't previously when you start to become proficient at juggling. thus the amount of your brain dedicated this process increases, but the actual size and volume and amount of gray matter in your skull stays the same (perhaps at the cost of some other process?)

basically the proper conclusion is that your brain adjusts how much processing power to put towards what tasks based on long term demand.


-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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general spin
member
Location: England
Member Since: 18th Jan 2004
Total posts: 52
Posted:cheers coleman, appreciated
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