Brain Fitness Fads
Over the past few decades many public trends have focused on the body. There were fad diets: the Scarsdale diet, the Stewardess diet, the Grapefruit diet, the Cabbage soup diet, South Beach Diet, Atkins, etc. And there have been plenty of exercise fads too: aerobics, spinning, weightlifting, pilates, hot yoga, etc.
Not that any of the science behind these fads is new, just that they had their time in the spotlight and for a while were the thing to do.
The body as fad has been around for quite awhile. I think it would be safe to say that the majority of people know that good nutrition and exercise are good for the body (whether or not most people act according to their knowledge is a whole other issue.)
So if the body as fad is on its way out, what is the next thing on the way in? According to Slate.com the brain is, and has been, the next big thing. It’s so much a hot topic that Slate has been running a special series on the brain and has no fewer than 30 articles on the subject.
Meghan O’Rourke, author of the article Train Your Brain: The New Mania for Neuroplasticity says that the brain as vogue has been around for a while actually. But that it’s only been since the advent of the 21st century that what we know about the brain has really picked up steam. She’s right: cognitive science is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Public Discourse on it is.
And the past few years have seen a major development in the brain sciences—it’s called neuroplasticity, which is just a fancy way of saying that the brain is changeable.
Neuroplasticity effectively overturns old conceptions that once the brain was damaged it was damaged forever.
The public awareness of neuroplasticity is one of the reasons that brain games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles are so popular. Effectively, these are the modern fad exercise… only the muscle being worked out is the brain.
Neuroplasticity has plenty of educational ramifications too. It means that learning disabilities can be conquered and poor study skills can be undone and that impossible algebra equation CAN be learned, and even better, understood…
Not to brag, but the fact that the brain is elastic is something that we known about for years. We built our programs on this concept.
Read more about neuroplasticity here. http://www.slate.com/id/2165040/