Your Thoughts Can Change Your Brain, Research Says
Recent research published by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, the Public University of Navarre, and TU Berlin demonstrated that one hour of training with a brain-computer interface (BCI) can make significant changes in test subjects' brains.
The study was made on the brain of subjects who have no prior experience of BCI technology. In the research, there were two groups of subjects. The first group was given the task of imagining that they were moving their arms or feet, a task which requires the use of the brain's motor system. The second group was given the task to recognize and select letters on a screen, which addressed the brain's visual center.
The study showed that the latter achieved good results in visual tasks from the start and further training didn't improve the test results while the motor system is a more complex part of the brain and it requires practice. To document potential changes, the brains of the test subjects were examined before and after BCI.
Dr. Till Nierhaus of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences said, “We know that intensive physical training affects the plasticity of the brain." plasticity here means how the brain alters depending on how it's used.
Dr. Carmen Vidaurre, a researcher at the Public University of Navarre, said, "We asked ourselves if these impacts on the brain’s plasticity would also occur in purely mental BCI experimental tasks, in other words, if test subjects only think of a task without actually performing it."