Does the structure of an adult human brain alter in response to environmental demands?
Subjects in the juggler group were given 3 months to learn a classic three-ball cascade juggling routine.
A second brain scan was performed when they had become skilled performers (that is, when they could sustain juggling for at least 60 seconds).
A third scan was carried out 3 months later; during the intervening period, none of the jugglers practised or attempted to extend their skills
We find that these individuals show a transient and selective structural change in brain areas that are associated with the processing and storage of complex visual motion.
This discovery of a stimulus-dependent alteration in the brain’s macroscopic structure contradicts the traditionally held view that cortical plasticity is associated with functional rather than anatomical changes