Just as legislative bodies may deliberately redistrict a political geographical region to influence voting outcomes, so too you can choose to deliberately engage in mental activity that sets in motion neuroplastic changes in your brain.

This finding is new to science -- having been accepted by the larger scientific community only in the last few decades.

For example, by intentionally directing your thoughts in a specific direction and sustaining that attention, neural real estate begins to be structured and function differently. Neuroscientist Alvaro Pascual-Leone demonstrated this when he had subjects imagine playing the piano and measured change in the area of the brain responsible for the motor skills needed to play the piano.

People who lose certain sense perceptions, such as sight, are able to have the neurons in their brain that had been associated with sight take on different functions, such as smell or finger sensitivity needed for proficiency in learning braille.

Exercise can also bring about neuroplastic changes -- including neurogenesis, the growth of neurons -- which becomes longer lasting when you choose to engage in intellectual activity following the exercise.