For many years, there has been a dominant view in psychology: you are who you are and you can’t change that. But research is suggesting a different view point. Brain science suggests that context, environment and your ability to change mean that you can always reinvent your personality.
Neuroscientists have observed something curious about the cerebellum. It’s a brain region that takes up 10 percent of the brain’s total volume. However, the cerebellum contains more than 50 percent of all the brain’s neurons.
All of these neurons make it possible for the brain to change how it functions – to change thoughts and behaviors. Neuroscientists refer to this as “brain plasticity”.
So, even though they are plenty of neurons in the cerebellum, giving the brain lots of potential to change, what factors make this change possible? Let’s consider a few:
Exercise can actually increase brain volume, and therefore improve how your brain functions.
This study found that when you challenge yourself mentally, you can improve cognitive function and even strengthen neurons. Therefore, breaking away from your routine, or pushing yourself to the next level can help your brain grow, and therefore, you personality, too.
Pain and discomfort
If you’re always comfortable, you probably won’t try to improve your situation. But if you’re in pain, or uncomfortable, this discomfort will push you to grow.
When you’re extremely curious about something, you’ll push yourself cognitively to learn as much as you can. This change in your brain can also help to transform your personality.
As you can see, there are several different factors that allow the brain to change. And as you push yourself and adapt to different environments and contexts, you also allow your personality to change and grow with you.