Brain Plasticity Theory

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The theory of ‘brain plasticity’ has first been proposed in 1890 by William James, in his seminal work The Principles of Psychology. There he noted that: “Organic matter, especially nervous tissue, seems endowed with a very extraordinary degree of plasticity.” However, this theory was almost neglected until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most neurologically focused scientists started to view the brain as “plastic”, which means it can be modified physically by learned experiences in ways that accounted for the acquisition and improvement of skills and abilities underlying the remarkable behavioral evolution across the passage through life, after a Canadian psychologist Donald O. Hebb outlined a comprehensive biological…show more content…
On the level of specific synaptic receptors and related cellular, synaptic, and molecular processes, studies documented the phenomena of long-term potentiation and depression ultimately explained the fundamental mechanisms that underlie plasticity at all brain ages. In 1974, Eric R. Kendel added more convincing details to Hebb’s cell assembly theory. Using a high divalent cation solution to reduce neuronal activity, electrical filtering to reduce noise, and computer averaging for signal recognition, Kendel was able to apply a quantal analysis to synaptic transmission between the sensory and motor neurons of the gill-withdrawal reflex in Aplysia and to analyze the synaptic depression underlying habituation. The results indicated that short-term habituation resulted from a presynaptic decrease in the number of transmitter quanta released per…show more content…
The message from visual psychophysicists is that the work with animals can be expanded to include different attentional processes exposed by our work, since it is not clear whether the results of the exposure are due to bottom-up attention or to passive stimulus input. In addition, for understanding perceptual learning, inhibition of task-irrelevant features is a key factor (Friedman-Hill et al., 2003) and one to which we wish animal learning psychologists would pay more

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