Final Project Update – Howard Gardner -multiple intelligences is IQ? Plasticity – overall US economy slipping – China than India become largest economy by 2020, then 2050 -very interesting! Global powers- GDP

Brain Plasticity–An Overview


What is brain plasticity? Does it mean that our brains are made of plastic? Of course not. Plasticity, or neuroplasticity, is the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. As we learn, we acquire new knowledge and skills through instruction or experience. In order to learn or memorize a fact or skill, there must be persistent functional changes in the brain that represent the new knowledge. The ability of the brain.

to change with learning is what is known as neuroplasticity.

To illustrate the concept of plasticity, imagine the film of a camera. Pretend that the film represents your brain. Now imagine using the camera to take a picture of a tree. When a picture is taken, the film is exposed to new information — that of the image of a tree. In order for the image to be retained, the film must react to the light and ?change? to record the image of the tree. Similarly, in order for new knowledge to be retained in memory, changes in the brain representing the new knowledge must occur.

To illustrate plasticity in another way, imagine making an impression of a coin in a lump of clay. In order for the impression of the coin to appear in the clay, changes must occur in the clay — the shape of the clay changes as the coin is pressed into the clay. Similarly, the neural circuitry in the brain must reorganize in response to experience or sensory stimulation.

FACT 4: The environment plays a key role in influencing plasticity.

In addition to genetic factors, the brain is shaped by the characteristics of a person’s environment and by the actions of that same person.

It was once believed that as we aged, the brain?s networks became fixed. In the past two decades, however, an enormous amount of research has revealed that the brain never stops changing and adjusting. 


Learning, as defined by Tortora and Grabowski (1996), is ?the ability to acquire new knowledge or skills through instruction or experience. Memory is the process by which that knowledge is retained over time


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