Terms in this set (6)
neuroplasticity on the level of the cortex
a part of the limbic system, known to be implicated in emotional regulation and long-term memory
the ability of the brain to change itself in response to environmental demands
neuroplasticity occuring on the level of a separate neuron, construction of new synaptic connections and elimination of the ones that are not used
Merzenich et al (1984)
Investigated how the sensory cortex is responsible for the way the hand will respond to an injury by studying digits of owl monkeys with electrode responses due to stimulation. The first mapping showed that there were five distinct areas in the cortex, each responsible for one digit. Adjacent fingers were represented by adjacent areas in the cortex. Post amputation, the now unused area of the sensory cortex was occupied by adjacent intact fingers. Therefore, the sensory cortex of adult owl monkeys adapts to injury by cortical remapping.
Draganski et al (2004)
Investigated whether structural changes in the brain would occur after practicing a simple juggling routine. There were no brain structure differences before the experiment. After 3 months the juggler group had significantly more grey matter in the cortex. After 6 months, differences decreased, but the juggler group had more grey matter in those areas than before the experiment.
Therefore, grey matter grows in the brain in response to environmental demands (like learning) and shrinks in absence of stimulation (lack of practice). There is a cause-and-effect relationship between learning and brain structures.