Associative memories allow us to use what we already know in order to learn what we don’t know. Old memories, then, become the building blocks for new learning. The exercises performed in the SenserczeSensercize part of the program teaches us to relate all new data to existing memories. The more familiar hooks we can hang onto a new fact, the more likely we are to recall it. Memory is stored in many parts of the brain: smells in one place, colors in another; touch and sounds all exist in different arrays of brain cells. Any one of those components can be stimulated to trigger a reconstruction of the multi—sensory richness of an event.
An excellent program for building brain versatility is by presenting it with non-routine experiences using various combinations of the five senses: vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell. The trick is to create as many possible triggers as we can by bringing as many associations as we can, utilizing different senses. Exposing the brain to random and unusual combinations of sensory input stimulates patterns of neural activity that create more connections between the areas of the brain. In addition, the exposure causes nerve cells to produce natural brain nutrients, called neurotrophins, which increase the size and complexity of nerve cell dendrites. With an increased production of neurotrophins, cells are made stronger and more robust to damage.