A.K.A. Neuroplasticity

Definition: The brain's ability to adapt or change both the structure and function of cells in response to experiences (and traumas).

Quite Simply...

  • The neurons in your brain can adapt after being exposed to new situations.
  • Neural shortcuts your brain creates for repeated activities.
  • Allows neurons to compensate for injuries and diseases, and adjust their activities in response to new situations or changes in environment.
  • "You can teach an old brain new tricks"

Examples of Plasticity

  • When I was in kindergarten, I broke my left wrist. Even though I am not left handed, the nerves in my right hand had to adapt to more processes that I would have used with my left hand. The nerves in my right fingers actually adapted and became stronger at playing the piano since I could not use my left hand for that time.
  • A little girl had a hemispherectomy on the right side of her brain because of seizures. Because of plasticity, she was able to continue leading a normal lifestyle.This was because the left hemisphere of her brain picked up the functions that were originally part of the right hemisphere of her brain.
  • Old practices in certain catholic or religious schools would punish kids for using their left hand because it was considered "unholy". The kids learned to write with their right hands instead of their left because they had no choice.

See Also...

  • Neuroplasticity
  • Central Nervous System - the part of the nervous system that coordinates all activity throughout the body.
  • The Synapse is the gap between neurons that serves as a communication link between them. As new neuron paths are formed through plasticity, the synapse allows each neuron to communicate with the next.

How (neuro)plasticity relates to psychological diseases: