Experience and Brain Development (D)

Tom and Evelyn

As the brain experiences more things, the development of neural connections is stimulated. In an experiment conducted on rats by Rosenzweig and Krech, it was found that rats living in more enriched environments had physically heavier brains. Other research studies have shown that "handling" infant rats and premature babies helped them develop more rapidly and effectively. By stimulating touch and massage benefits in rats, their neural tissue of the area that processes experience was changed. As the brain matures and experiences more, new useful neural connections are made while unused connections are weakened. Also, the brain is able to preserve and make use of important connections if exposed to experience during a person's childhood, since many of the connections are still intact. For example, a person will only be able to master a language that he/she has encountered before adolescence. The situation is similar for vision and visual experiences, as people who could not see in their early ages are never able to gain the same perspective even if their vision is restored later on in their lives. Even though it is important and effective for the brain to go through experiences to develop connections, the brain continually modifies itself. Senses strengthen certain connectons and weaken others, perceiving new information. Both nature and nurture affect this development, as our genes deteremine the base structure of our brain and our experience determine the details of it.

Experience and Brain Development (D) - The NeuronExperience and Brain Development (D) - The Neuron


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