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In this snippet from "You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life" by Jeffrey Schwartz

Schwartz states that refocusing attention can actually change brain structure so that habitual ways of the brain are physically broken and other new healthy behaviors become habitual with new connections in the brain.

Are their any other studies along these lines that mention how to change how one thinks and feels habitually?

  • $\begingroup$ To clarify, are you concerned about changing thought patterns and habits or are you concerned about the mechanism in the brain by which this change occurs? $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 0:57
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking if learning changes the brain? Is the answer not obvious? Or are you asking something more precise? Where is your initial research? Also, you are misusing the reference-request tag. I am VtC as NARQ. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 2:15
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    $\begingroup$ Could you post the relevant text as a quote instead of an image? use > before the text to indicate a quote $\endgroup$
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 10, 2012 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtemKaznatcheev: the book I just finished reading, stated above is part of the initial research, as his material was closest to what I was asking. I am looking for other findings specifically as stated in the question - "to change how one habitually thinks and feels?" $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ @GregMcNulty From a scientific perspective, I think it's hard for us to swallow that a self-help text can be cited as a primary source for anything. I think what Artem means is that looking into this from the perspective of textbooks on learning and memory or journal articles is going to give you a much cleaner perspective than someone out to sell books. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


There's over 100 years of learning research and theorization now that pretty well establishes that yes, if your behaviour changes then your brain changes (and vice versa). When you learned to tie your shoes your brain changed. It quickly became a habit and you don't even think of it... can't even do it if you do. When you learned to speak your brain changed. When you had a child of your own and spent 6 weeks without regular sleep your brain changed. It's hard to give you a specific reference for any of that. The brain is what guides your behaviour. If your behaviour is changing then your brain is changing. Your brain changing is neither magical or surprising, that's how you learn.

That said, I've never seen the "habit" centre.

If you really want a reference start with this.

[Aside: It's kind of absurd that he talks about how you are not your brain but now you're going to change your brain to make a new you.]

  • $\begingroup$ If you desire, then you can give one reference: the wikipedia article on mind-body problem $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'd much prefer another... (see edit) $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 10, 2012 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnChristie: yes he does mention Hebbs law several times... $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 22:09

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