For a long time it was believed that you had a certain number of brain cells and that was all you got throughout your life. Elizabeth Gould didn’t believe it was true and subsequently discovered neurogenesis. Andy Hunt (of Pragmatic Programmer fame) wrote:
But here’s the funny part. The reason researchers had never witnessed neurogenesis previously was because of the environment of their test subjects. If you’re a lab animal stuck in a cage, you won’t grow new neurons.
If you’re a programmer stuck in a drab cubicle, you won’t grow new neurons either.
On the other hand, in a sensory-rich environment with things to learn, observe, and interact with, you will grow plenty of new neurons and new connections between them… the increased tactile sensory experience actually encourages growth of new neurons and stronger connections…
Your working environment is a context as well. It needs to be rich in sensory opportunities, or else it will literally cause brain damage.
If we want to learn, we need to be in an environment that stimulates our brains. This is so critical that it is one of the 5 rules of accelerated learning, “Setting First”. Natural light, playful colors and decorations and appropriate noise levels are all ways that we can adjust our environment to create the right setting for learning and neurogenesis!