Response of the brain to enrichment

Authors
Citation
Mc. Diamond, Response of the brain to enrichment, AN AC BRASI, 73(2), 2001, pp. 211-220
Citations number
27
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Multidisciplinary
Journal title
ANAIS DA ACADEMIA BRASILEIRA DE CIENCIAS
ISSN journal
0001-3765 → ACNP
Volume
73
Issue
2
Year of publication
2001
Pages
211 - 220
Database
ISI
SICI code
0001-3765(200106)73:2<211:ROTBTE>2.0.ZU;2-W
Abstract
Before 1960, the brain was considered by scientists to be immutable, subjec t only to genetic control. In the early sixties, however, investigators wer e seriously speculating that environmental influences might be capable of a ltering brain structure. By 1964, two research laboratories proved that the morphology and chemistry or physiology of the brain could be experientiall y altered (Bennett et al. 1964, Hubel and Wiesel 1965). Since then, the cap acity of the brain to respond to environmental input, specifically "enrichm ent," has become an accepted fact among neuroscientists, educators and othe rs. In fact, the demonstration that environmental enrichment can modify str uctural components of the rat brain at any age altered prevailing presumpti ons about the brain's plasticity (Diamond et al. 1964, Diamond 1988). The cerebral cortex, the area associated with higher cognitive processing, is more receptive than other parts of the brain to environmental enrichment . The message is clear: Although the brain possesses a relatively constant macrostructural organization, the ever-changing cerebral cortex, with its c omplex microarchitecture of unknown potential, is powerfully shaped by expe riences before birth, during youth and, in fact, throughout life. It is ess ential to note that enrichment effects on the brain have consequences on be havior. Parents, educators, policy makers, and individuals can all benefit from such knowledge.