The principle of Hebbian Learning has become instrumental in our understanding of the brain and neural pathways, two of the most important principles are:
“Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together”
“Neurons that Fire apart wire apart”
If you have done any research into neuroscience at all you have probably heard of these two principles. I often explain these to my client to help them understand why we want to develop new neural pathways in their brain and how best to do this.
The best analogy I can give is that of bush walking. Imagine you are waking through the bush on a well worn path, a path that has been there for year and thousands of bush walkers have used this path making it one of the most well worn paths in the bush. This is like a well-established neural pathway in your brain; you would have used it thousands of times before so it is very well established. You probably don’t even have to focus on it, it will just happen, like when tying your shoelaces or driving a car. This has developed over time because; “Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together” and these pathways can be positive or negative!
If we are trying to make a new neural pathway in your brain, and not use the old pathway, this is like establishing a new path through the bush. You have to stop using the old path, “Neurons that Fire apart wire apart”, to focus on making the new pathway. This will take some real work, you may need tools, friends to support you, feedback and you might need to use this path many times before it becomes a well-worn path like the path you normally take. This is what happens when you are making a new neural pathway in your brain. Over time this new pathway will become established and the preferred path that you now take, “Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together”.
This gives us real clues as to how neural pathways develop, what it takes to not use established pathways and how best to establish new pathways.