Full text of award-winning neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki’s talk titled “Exercise and the Brain” at TEDxOrlando conference. In this talk, Wendy discusses her research which focuses on understanding the patterns of brain activity underlying long-term memory as well as the role of aerobic exercise in improving learning, memory and cognition.
Wendy Suzuki – Neuroscientist
How exciting to be here!
What I’m going to try and do today is add to the amazing lineup of speakers today by bringing the brain into our discussion of the creative spark.
And I want to do that by telling you about some of the newest research that I’ve been doing in my neuroscience research lab at New York University, asking the question: Can aerobic exercise, that is can going to the gym actually improve your learning, memory and cognition?
I also want to address the question of whether increased aerobic exercise can also make you more creative.
Now, I remember the day that I realized I wanted to become a neuroscientist. I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, and I was taking a freshman seminar class, with just 10 or 15 of us, called “The Brain and Its Potential,” taught by Marian Diamond.
She was standing at the front of the classroom, and up there at the front, she had this beautiful hat box. And with her gloved hands, she opened that hat box, and out she pulled a real, live, fixed human brain.
Now, it was the very first time I’d seen a human brain. And what she told us was that what she was holding in her hands was the most complex structure known to mankind; it’s the only structure that can think about itself.
And one of the most amazing things about the brain is that it can change as a function of the environment; it can learn; it can grow. And I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever heard in my whole life.