How do synapses change during learning

Learning - Knowing How - What Happens When We Learn?

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Smell, hear, see: our brain processes vast amounts of information every day and carries out countless commands. It consists of around 100 billion nerve cells that are linked to form a large network - and thus get us through everyday life. But: the brain prefers to learn.

As soon as our brain is working, nerve cells called neurons fire electrical signals. At their ends are the synapses, our switching points in the brain. The synapses send the electrical signals in the form of chemical messengers to other neurons. Such chain reactions are constantly occurring, which direct the signals through a huge neural network to the right place.

Because: Synapses also connect the neurons with other cells - such as muscle, sensory or gland cells. This is how the brain ensures that we function.

All of our knowledge is anchored in this network. We ourselves have built it up step by step in the course of our lives. We learnt". The result: we read, speak English and play guitar.

The brain adapts - for a lifetime

With every experience, every school lesson, every vocabulary training we optimize the neural network. Because the brain is “plastic”: it constantly adapts to the environment and its requirements. It remembers which connections are activated more often than others - and reacts: New connections are added and condense the network, existing connections become stronger, unused connections disappear again. And that for a lifetime.

And the synapses are also doing something when we learn: Scientists have observed that the amount of messenger substances released at regularly used switching points increases, additional receptors are created on the recipient cells, or the contact surfaces of the synapses grow.

«Muscle training» for the brain

Just a look at its weight shows that the thinking muscle changes during learning: just two years after we were born, the brain is about twice as heavy - although the number of nerve cells hardly changes in the course of our entire life. Rather, our brains become heavier because the number of switching points increases and the connections become thicker.

Every learning process is like a visit to the fitness studio: just as a biceps gets stronger through training, regular exercise strengthens our brain. The result: our brain performance increases, our memory improves. This effect can last a few seconds, a few minutes - or even a lifetime.

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Humans only became Homo sapiens because they can do something: learn. Animals can learn too, but the human abilities to acquire new things are unsurpassed. But how do we learn best - and why? To the special

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