During most of the last century, the consensus was that brain structure was pretty much set, fixed and immutable after some specified period of childhood development. More recent research, however, shows that experience changes not just brain structure or anatomy but also the functional organization or physiology of the brain. And this reorganization is what people mean by “neuroplasticity.”
"Several years ago, my family and I had the opportunity to travel to the Isle of Skye, an island near the coast of northwest Scotland. Because it was dark when we arrived, I didn’t have any sense for the landscape. When I went for a walk the next morning, I was surprised to find myself..."
Andrew Tix writes on the psychology of awe.
The last fifteen to twenty years have witnessed a lot of talk about “neuroplasticity”—the idea that we can “rewire” our brains. The very idea has spawned a new kind of industry, the “neuro-industry.” From neuroeconomics, neurocriticism, and neurotheology, to neuromagic and neuromarketing, “neuro” sells books and seminars. But the way that findings in contemporary neuroscience are routinely applied to issues for which they were never meant to serve leads some to refer to the whole “neuro-this-that-and-the-other-thing” as nothing more than “neurobollocks.”
James K.A. Smith, Betsy Barber, and Todd Pickett discuss: suspicions about psychology in Christian spirituality, ancient psychologists' insight on spiritual formation, why the body is so important in Christian theology and spiritual practice, prayer, and formation of the whole person.
"...It seems that in many locations within Christianity there is a great hesitancy to give voice to any negativity regarding our relationship with God. Again, the reason for this seems to be the assumption described above, that any distress, complaint or negativity in the God-relationship is symptomatic of a lack or loss of faith.
After years of studying the development and enhancement of gratitude in children and adolescents, psychologists are discovering that the benefits reach even farther than we first thought. For example, children who exhibit high levels of gratitude are less materialistic, have better relationships, earn higher grades, and are more spiritual. Additionally, they are less likely to engage in risky or dangerous behavior—even into their teen years!
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