Author(s): Kolb B, Whishaw IQ
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Abstract Brain plasticity refers to the brain's ability to change structure and function. Experience is a major stimulant of brain plasticity in animal species as diverse as insects and humans. It is now clear that experience produces multiple, dissociable changes in the brain including increases in dendritic length, increases (or decreases) in spine density, synapse formation, increased glial activity, and altered metabolic activity. These anatomical changes are correlated with behavioral differences between subjects with and without the changes. Experience-dependent changes in neurons are affected by various factors including aging, gonadal hormones, trophic factors, stress, and brain pathology. We discuss the important role that changes in dendritic arborization play in brain plasticity and behavior, and we consider these changes in the context of changing intrinsic circuitry of the cortex in processes such as learning.
This article was published in Annu Rev Psychol
and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology