Researchers at the Leibniz-Institutes für Wissensmedien (IWM) and of the Graduate School and Research Network LEAD at the University of Tübingen now found out: Short and intensive arithmetic training strengthens the neuronal connections between brain regions in adults. This neuronal plasticity through numerical learning was already detectable after only five training sessions.
No matter whether a person learns new knowledge or a new body movement – synapses, nerve cell connections and entire brain areas, i.e. the function and structure of the brain, do always change.
The human brain remains “plastic” for a lifetime, i.e. it is able to change. Researchers led by Dr. Dr. Elise Klein at the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM) have investigated functional and structural changes of the brain as consequence of media-based numerical learning. It seems obvious that arithmetic training has an impact on our ability to calculate.
The study demonstrated this on a neuronal level: The calculation training changed the network of brain areas that was activated when solving math calculations. However, the study has now also revealed structural changes in the brain as a result of calculation training - and thus anatomical changes in the neuronal network.
The findings indicate how learning processes manifest themselves in the brain and show the potential of neurocognitive plasticity in adulthood.
The calculation training not only successfully improved the performance of the participants, the researchers from Tübingen also succeeded in determining how this learning process takes place on a neuronal level. In a previous study, they had already observed that training increases functional activation in brain areas associated with the retrieval of arithmetic facts from long-term memory (e.g. hippocampus). By using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers have now been able to show that the training also strengthened the structural connection between these areas which led to a successful learning process. "The neuronal plasticity following media-based training was already evident after only five training units," says Elise Klein from the IWM.
"This change at the neuronal level indicates that even short cognitive training sessions can induce plastic processes in the brain. The selectivity of the neurostructural changes, in turn, gives insight into the processing of arithmetical facts in the brain." The findings not only indicate how learning processes manifest themselves in the brain, but also show the potential of neurocognitive plasticity in adulthood.
Korbinian Moeller, head of the Junior Research Group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity, comments on the results of the study: “The study improves our understanding of the neuronal foundations of numerical learning and of the possibilities of neuronal reorganisation in the brain. The results can be used to develop interventions for children with learning disabilities and for patients with arithmetic difficulties after brain damage.”
Results of the study have been published in the renowned journal “Cortex”.
Dr. Dr. Elise Klein
NG Neuro-cognitive Plasticity
Phone: +49 7071 979-205
Phone: +49 (0) 7071 979-222
Since April 2015, Elise Klein has been working at the IWM in the junior research lab Neuro-cognitive Plasticity within the Wrangell Habilitation Programme. The researchers of the lab are particularly interested in the neural foundations of knowledge acquisition and knowledge application. The topical focus of the junior research group is on numerical cognition with particular interest being paid to the neural correlates of number processing as well as its development during childhood.
Mira Keßler M.A. | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
New cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT
Small enclosure, big sound, clear speech
31.08.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.
New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...
If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.
Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...
Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...
In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.
An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...
An international research group has observed new quantum properties on an artificial giant atom and has now published its results in the high-ranking journal Nature Physics. The quantum system under investigation apparently has a memory - a new finding that could be used to build a quantum computer.
The research group, consisting of German, Swedish and Indian scientists, has investigated an artificial quantum system and found new properties.
05.11.2019 | Event News
30.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
13.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.11.2019 | Materials Sciences