This Nifty Infographic Is a Great Introduction to Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Therapy

Did you know you can rewire your brain? Neuroscientific research breakthroughs are revealing fascinating new truths about the malleability of our brains and, thus, the malleability of ourselves as well.

It's startling to think about how we've got a spaceship billions of miles away rendezvousing with Pluto, yet here on Earth there are major aspects of our own anatomy that we're almost completely ignorant about. We've climbed Everest, sent men to the moon, and invented the Internet — but we still don't know how our brains work. The positive outlook is that many health, science, and research specialists believe we're on the precipice of some major neuroscientific breakthroughs.


One example of a recent discovery with major implications is our further understanding of neuroplasticity. Simply put, we used to think our brain was what it was — unchangeable, unalterable. We were stuck with what nature gave us. In actuality, our brains are like plastic. We can alter neurochemistry to change beliefs, thoughts processes, emotions, etc. You are the architect of your brain. You also have the power to act against dangerous impulses such as addiction. The therapeutic possibilities here are endless.

Below, broken up into two parts, is a terrific infographic detailing the essence of what we know about neuroplasticity and how it works. It was created by the folks at Alta Mira, a San Francisco-area rehabilitation and recovery center. 

Want a high-res, unedited version of the image above? Your wish is my command.

(h/t @DaniMansfield)

Want to learn more about neuroplasticity? Comedian and mental health advocate Ruby Wax is an expert. Honestly! She has a master's from Oxford! She's also a Big Think expert and a very entertaining resource on the ways we can modify the makings of our own brains:

Top photo credit: Jezper / Shutterstock

Why the U.S. is an anomaly among democracies

Eboo Patel explains how America's political philosophy broke the democratic mold.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • From the time of the ancient Greeks, political philosophers believed the only way to have diversity in a society was for it to be an empire or a dictatorship. They thought homogeneity was the core of democracy: one ethnic group, one racial group, and especially one religion. Then America broke that mold in 1787.
  • Eboo Patel cites historical examples of how Benjamin Franklin donated funds to different religious communities and built a pulpit for the Grand Mufti of Constantinople to preach Islam, if he so wanted. George Washington assured the Jewish people protection in a very famous and beautifully written letter. Religious diversity? Turns out it's as American as apple pie.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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For the first time since the Vikings sailed, the Icelandic public will soon be able to worship classical Norse gods like Odin, Thor, and Frigg at a public temple built in their honor.

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For the first time since the Vikings sailed, the Icelandic public are worshiping classical Norse gods like Odin, Thor, and Frigg at a public temple built in their honor. "The worship of Odin, Thor, Freya and the other gods of the old Norse pantheon became an officially recognized religion exactly 973 years after Iceland’s official conversion to Christianity."

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The photos were taken the same day as Russian cosmonauts investigated a mysterious hole discovered in one of the craft.

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Surprising Science
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  • Six astronauts are currently aboard the International Space Station to conduct a variety of experiments.
  • On Monday, Russian cosmonauts conducted a spacewalk to investigate the nature and cause of a mysterious 2-millimeter-wide hole in a Russian spacecraft.
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