Your Changing Brain

Part of the Brain: The Inside Story exhibition.

Picture Partners/AGE Fotostock

Your brain began forming before you were born, building the intricate network of neurons that help you survive in the world. Once developed, the basic structures for sensing, feeling, and thinking last a lifetime--yet your brain continues to change. The neural connections keep making adjustments with every experience and everything that you learn.

How it Works

Neurons connect and reconnect in the give-and-take between the brain and the world.

Here is how your brain changes throughout your lifetime:


Of all the organs in your body, the brain takes longest to mature. It grows dramatically when you are very young and continues to develop at a slower pace until you become an adult. What changes take place in the brain as you grow up?


Your brain matures when you become an adult, but it never stops changing. Every experience leaves its mark in the brain, as signals race down pathways from neuron to neuron. When you remember or repeat the experience, signals retrace those pathways and reinforce them. So how does the brain respond when you study or learn a new skill?


By the time you reach your twenties, your brain is functioning at its peak. What changes does your brain go through as you age?