Your brain starts out with an excess of neurons. During development, extra cells are trimmed back, keeping only those connections you need, in a process called synaptic pruning. Later in life some unused neurons may wither away. When you learn how to perfectly bend your knees for a plié, your brain reacts by strengthening or weakening the connections between neurons. It can even create new ones. The brain’s capacity to change is vital — an injured or damaged brain may eventually regain lost abilities by rerouting connections and sometimes growing new neurons. So with each new dance move you learn, your experience shapes your brain to become uniquely yours.
Click on the targets in the image to learn more about how experience shapes your brain.