Can your brain rewire itself : first of all, human brain is very simple and it can usually rewire itself within 3-4 weeks. But rewiring itself is a complex process. Rewiring can take different forms. For example, if you try to rewire your brain to rewire itself everyday!
The brain is constantly ‘rewiring’ itself at every time scale — from hundreds of milliseconds, to minutes, hours, days, weeks and so on. This rewiring is typically called plasticity or neuroplasticity.
So when we ask whether the brain has ‘rewired’ itself, we have to specify how much change counts as significant, since constant small changes are the norm rather than the exception. The brain is always rewiring itself.
If you are trying to tell when you have become an expert in some field, the only real criteria lie outside your head. They will involve measures like your performance on tests, the assessments of peers & mentors, and more importantly, your ability to solve real problems that require applying the skills that you have acquired.
How long this takes really depends on the field, in addition to your own motivation, skill set, training time, and so on. But in general becoming an expert requires years.
If we understand the ‘wires’ in the rewiring metaphor to be axons, then it is important to understand that the brain’s wires barely move. What gets modified through plasticity is primarily the connection between the axon of one neuron and the cell body of the other — the synapse. Its size, shape and biophysical properties change as a result of behavior, experience, and other factors including bodily state and health.
Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is a term that refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. When people say that the brain possesses plasticity, they are not suggesting that the brain is similar to plastic. Neuro refers to neurons, the nerve cells that are the building blocks of the brain and nervous system, and plasticity refers to the brain’s malleability.
Up until the 1960s, researchers believed that changes in the brain could only take place during infancy and childhood. By early adulthood, it was believed that the brain’s physical structure was mostly permanent. Modern research has demonstrated that the brain continues to create new neural pathways and alter existing ones in order to adapt to new experiences, learn new information, and create new memories.
Psychologist William James suggested that the brain was perhaps not as unchanging as previously believed way back in 1890. In his book “The Principles of Psychology,” he wrote, “Organic matter, especially nervous tissue, seems endowed with a very extraordinary degree of plasticity.” However, this idea went largely ignored for many years.
In the 1920s, researcher Karl Lashley provided evidence of changes in the neural pathways of rhesus monkeys. By the 1960s, researchers began to explore cases in which older adults who had suffered massive strokes were able to regain functioning, demonstrating that the brain was much more malleable than previously believed.