Growing the Roots of an Imaginative Mind

Feb 12 / Kelly-Ann Denton

Dendritic Arborisation

The word dendrite comes from the Greek ‘déndron’ meaning tree. A dendrite is a part of the structure of a neuron in our brain, and we have 120 billion of them in our brain. As you already know, brains are highly dynamic, imaginative and adaptable. Through the processes of seeing and doing we are constantly pruning, rearranging, and growing our potential. 
Dendritic arborisation, also known as dendritic branching, is a multi-step biological process by which neurons form new dendritic trees and branches to create new synapses, new ideas and new possibilities. There are literal forests in our brain, so the metaphor is very elegant.

Neurogenesis is the creation of new dendrites and neurons which form new neural nets and packages of information. Growing dendrites is the objective because the more dendrites we grow the more imaginative potential we have. The more imagination we have, the more creative we become, and the easier it is for us to see new possibilities and perspective. This is obviously a key to critical thinking. We need to focus on growing the potential [trees] in our brain.

First and foremost, this is why developing and growing imaginative, creative and critical thinking capabilities in our teachers is super important. We want to provide it for our school kids. If our teachers better understand imagination, they will be in a position to build these capabilities into our schools and our students.

Enriched as opposed to impoverished environments grow our creative potential. In 2009 neuroscientists observed that happy unstressed people had 50% more creative ability. They measured this scientifically by scanning and looking at changes in the visual cortex.

They then decided to perform experiments on rats to reconfirm the findings. They found that the rats in cages with environments that included toys, play, companionship, food and diverse forms of engagement had grown dendrites. Rats that were isolated and stressed did not.

The picture above shows us what enriched neurons and dendrites look like compared to impoverished. Can you see the similarities to branches of a healthy vs. unhealthy tree?

We are extremely fortunate to have a plethora of new information available to us via EEG’s and fMRI’s that show us how we think changes our brains and therefore our outcomes. Under the right conditions we can grow a new brain at any stage of our lives. This opens up all sorts of possibilities for learning and creative thought – not only in schools and workplaces but in all facets of our lives.

Why not start learning?

Watch. Learn. Improve.

The V (visual) series of courses are part of a cluster of imagination/visual learning disciplines that form a turning point in imagination training. 
V1_The Neuroscience of Imagination lays the foundation for a better understanding of what creativity is and how to develop it. It is also the beginning of visual learning.
V1 to V4 follow on from each other in order to build on skills as participants journey through the imagination learning process.
These thinking processes directly affect our ability to be better critical thinkers and absolutely develop our ability to be imaginative and therefore more creative.