Monday, April 1, 1996
I recently saw a brain researcher discussing early learning in children, and what steps parents could take to help their children become more intelligent.
His most emphatic suggestion was: sensory stimulation. He even recommended exposing children to movement and music while they are still in the womb. Stimulation of the senses creates electrical activity in the brain, and this accelerates the formation of pathways between the brain cells. These pathways, called dendrites, are the basis for intelligence. The more, the better. We’re born with a fixed number of brain cells, but there’s no limit to the number of connecting pathways that can be created.
I found this all very interesting, and it has an unmistakable ring of truth. Receiving a healthy variety of sensory stimulation is important, no matter what age. I know that I always feel more energized after listening to good music, flying over the desert on a clear day, riding my bicycle, hiking through a wilderness area, swimming, travelling to a new place, feeling the warm sun on my back or a cold wind in my face. These things all have a high sensory content.
Our senses deliver complex, dynamic information that challenges us to interpret it. And our minds respond to the challenge with growth. Stimulation builds our sensory vocabulary and adds to our range of experience.
Make it a point to stimulate your senses every day. And not with the same old stuff. Remember to see new sights, taste new food, listen to new sounds, move in different ways -- seek out sensations that are new and challenging. And you will most certainly grow from the experience.
Ralph MarstonHow much is too much? Purpose
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