Thursday, February 14, 2008

Juggling & Brain Growth

I was reading a manifesto at ChangeThis.com (a very cool website, btw), and came across this interesting bit of news:

In January 2004, the science journal Nature pointed out an intriguing study by Dr Bogdan Draganski at the university of Regensburg in Germany. using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), his team found that when participants learned to juggle, their mid-temporal lobes—the part of the brain that stores and processes moving objects—had grown by 3%.

How cool is that? Juggling makes you brain grow? Even for adults? As a moderately accomplished juggler myself, I think this is quite something...

4 comments:

Kim said...

Pretty cool. I wonder if it's the juggling part or the learning a new task part that actually makes the brain grow?

revolution said...

i can't juggle. maybe my brain is too small.

Mark said...

I always thought your mid temporal lobe was kinda big. I didn't want to say anything...

:)

The Dan Ward said...

Rev - I think everyone can juggle. I once taught a juggling class, and two 50-ish year old ladies learned - in about an hour. Probably 'cause I've got a big mid temporal lobe, eh?

In all seriousness, the thing with learning to juggle is people tend to focus on the wrong end of the problem. They think they can't catch. Well, the only reason they have a hard time catching is because they're not throwing it well. Fix the throw, and the catch comes naturally.

Not catching the ball is a symptom. Throwing badly is the problem.

In fact, that's sort of a parable of learning and problem solving in general. Focus on the right problem, and you're more than 1/2 way there...