Novelty and Brain: 6 Best ways to improve Cognitive Reserve

Disha enjoys every bit of her life! She loves what she does! Yes, she is in love with her life! She does something new every day. Even the smallest of unusual experiences satisfy her in every way.

She is full of energy. She smells beautiful flowers while she is on her road trip, watches a film, sleeps below the sun and enjoys her job to the fullest.

Novelty

Why?

Because there is newness in every part of her life.

Are you glued to the screen and motivated to explore a new level in a video game?

Are you in the hope of unlocking a new achievement or gaining more points?

All of us loved shiny new toys when we were toddlers, new gadgets when we were older, traveling to a new city or indulging in a new job. Our brains are attracted to novelty which actually improves our memory and learning capacity.

We are often encouraged to follow a sleep hygiene cycle, maintain a proper circadian rhythm, be aware of sleep disorders, go to sleep at a set time and reduce the usage of mobile phones before bedtime. It is pretty essential to inculcate these habits into our lifestyles to be healthy and fit.

But is it possible that a different plan should also become a regular path of our schedule? This sounds contradictory, but research says that Novelty is essential for a happy, long, healthy life.

What is Novelty?

Novelty is anything that is unfamiliar or new to us. The experience of this can take various forms like meeting a new friend, learning a new language, developing a new habit, learning a new skill, listening to some new music or traveling to a new environment.

Humans naturally prefer novelty so long as it doesn’t come with a perceived threat. Children are automatically magnetized towards a new toy even when their old favorites are readily available.

what is novelty

This feature of the brain instills a sense of curiosity, due to which we try to explore and learn about the new environments and unleash our adventurousness.

It is somewhat difficult to try without novelty. Out of the ordinary days are usually remembered while the ordinary is forgotten. Learning, whether work-related or academic contain used to depend on novelty.

Experiences and information simulate the memory centers of the brain that are closely related to the pleasure centers above.

While you travel down memory lane, do you remember a day when you did something different and that every day seemed to last longer than the other days?

Why?

Probably, because there was something that was unusual and different from your usual routine, your brain is a storehouse of normal information to catalog and hold on for future reference.

Novelty also helps you to recall and relive unusual experiences. Novelty is something that also increases the sense of happiness and peace and provides fulfillment in life.

New Experiences

One experiences are more enjoyable and we are likely to remember novel experiences much more than the other details of a mundane life. You feel more alive when you indulge in unusual activities.

Novelty helps to ingrain unusual situations and enables you to recall them quickly. This is the reason why good teachers often look for different methodologies to teach boring subjects. Novelty makes things interesting which in turn makes the information to be absorbed easier to remember.

If bits of Novelty are injected into our day-to-day life, it can definitely go a long way. Even switching the order in which we complete our task can shift our experience of a day.

It doesn’t take a lot to make our days memorable. Going out on a road trip or doing the unusual is novelty.

We need the dopamine rush to keep us inspired to keep going in life -to learn, to work or to succeed. If we no longer feel that rush of dopamine, we are likely to give up on and look for pleasure elsewhere.

Success in a career is also dependent on novelty since people become bored and unmotivated if new challenges are not offered and even the closest of personal relationships break down if they succumb to usual routines.

When we notice something new or unusual, we see that it has the potential to reward us in some manner. This potential that lies in strange things motivates us to explore our environment for awards. If there is no reward associated with something, it also loses its potential. Completely new ideas activate the midbrain area and increase dopamine levels motivating us to explore the unknown.

Without novelty, discoveries, creations, inventions and innovations are practically impossible since our brains are never challenged to consider a new perspective or to integrate new information.

Novelty plays an essential role in the mental well-being of every individual. Research says that individuals who looked out for new experiences throughout life are happier and healthier. The tendency to seek out novel experiences often decreases with age.

As we grow older, our brains become strongly wire to the routine we have established, making us quite rigid to stray from familiar experiences.

Something that is new, unusual or different is bound to catch our eyes. A new working environment, a new place can you friend wearing new clothes for changing our hair color. In fact, we can be pulled towards novelty without even being conscious about it. Life would become monotonous without Novelty as ordinary things would not be able to Captivate us constantly.

How the brain handles novelty?

There is a region in our mid-brain also called substantia nigra (SN). This is the major Novelty center of the brain. The substantia nigra is closely linked to the brain called the amygdala and the hippocampus, which play essential roles in learning and memory. The amygdala response to emotional stimuli and strengthens associated long-term memories while the hippocampus compares stimuli against existing memories.

2-Minute Neuroscience: Substantia Nigra

To improve your knowledge retention power several tricks can help you get started. You need to introduce novelty into your learning process.

Add something new

Every time you review the information or facts that you have read before, add in a number of new ones. This will help your brain to spot and recognize slightly familiar information and remember it more easily because it’s set aside by brand new concepts.

Change your environment

A new environment can offer a huge amount of novel stimuli for your brain. Try introducing new settings every time they become familiar. Changing the temperature or lighting of your room can make a huge difference.

Learn every time you do something new

Use your brains increased ability wisely by setting aside time to explore right after taking in the novel stimuli. Whenever you meet someone new for coffee or explore a new place, you will be more open to making a new connection during and right after this time which will be advantageous for you. Keep away from your phone and enjoy the world.

In today’s digital age, it’s not unusual to look at your phone frequently, even while you travel from one place to another. If you keep your phone aside, you can engage with your surroundings, talk to others, form a connect or pet a pup while you travel.

Listen to something unusual.

Instead of listening to the same songs again and again, switch to some new music which can help you increase your feelings of creativity and allow you to broaden your mind a little more.

Do something exploring

Do the unusual. Go on a long trip with your loved ones, enjoy at a party, learn a new skill, travel to a new area, make a new friend and do everything that is on your bucket list. This is what you are going to remember while you lie on your deathbed because there is strangeness in it.

Take a new road

Instead of walking on the same path and making it a usual routine, try a different one. Maybe an opportunity lies in front of you.

Importance Of Novelty

Novelty enhances memory and learning.

Different methodologies in the process of teaching are usually adopted by institutions so that the learning process is made easier by injecting Novelty into it. Novelty provides a sense of bizarreness to an incident which makes it easier to remember.

Novelty enhances creativity

When one desires to explore the unknown, it enhances Creative Thinking. It gives rise to new inventions, ideologies and innovations.

Importance of Novelty

Novelty can help slow downtime.

As we grow older, time seems to fly. As we engage in new experiences, aging slows down. Days with novelty seem to be longer than usual days. Novel experiences help time to pass as hours and hours as minutes.
Novelty makes it easier to recall experiences.

When you turn to look back at your school days, all you remember are the days that stand out. On these days, something indifferent or unusual is recalled because there is strangeness in it. These experiences stick with us throughout life.

Novelty makes life happier


As we age, we are reminded of several experiences throughout our lifetime. These incidents which stay with us have something unusual in them which helps make us smile and provide a sense of content in our life.

4 thoughts on “Novelty and Brain: 6 Best ways to improve Cognitive Reserve”

  1. Shashidhar Rao Konaje

    As we engage with new experiences ageing slows down. True, experiences of past childhood days were exciting.

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