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Neuroplasticity definitions

Keywords and Concepts for Understanding Neuroplasticity
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Learning changes the brain

"Pensar es servir"


Every mind is creative

additive plasticity Additive plasticity refers to brain change that involves the growth of new neurons or new connections between neurons. Subtractive plasticity refers to brain change that involves the loss or pruning away of neurons or connections between neurons. Subtractive plasticity is a natural process during early childhood and adolescence.

cognitionGenerally speaking, cognition refers to thinking. More specifically, cognition refers to mental processes such as attention, memory, reasoning, problem solving, decision making, and understanding language.

 cognitive exercise Generally speaking, cognition refers to thinking. More specifically, cognition refers to mental processes such as attention, memory, reasoning, problem solving, decision making, and understanding language.

Cognitive exercises include a range of conscious mental activities aimed at repairing, improving, or increasing the brain's ability and processing speed in areas like thinking, reasoning, remembering, focusing, paying attention, etc. To be considered effective, cognitive exercises must have measurable results and increase in difficulty to enhance brain fitness and maintain a healthy brain.

critical period
Experience changes the brain, and some changes have to occur within a critical period of brain development.

Critical period refers to a brief window of time in the development of the brain when new brain systems and maps develop. This window occurs early in life, and some important aspects of brain development cannot or will not readily occur after its associated critical period closes.

Different brain systems have different critical periods during which the brain is especially changeable and sensitive to its environment. For example, the critical period for language development begins in infancy and ends usually between eight years and puberty. After this critical period closes, learning a new language, and learning to speak it with native fluency, requires more effort.

localizationism
Until a few decades ago, the idea prevailed that anyone who was born with mental limitations, or who sustained brain injury, say from a stroke, would live out their lives with that limited or damaged brain. This theory was based on localizationism, the scientific mindset which assumed that the brain's structure is fixed, and that once brain damage occurs, senses and abilities connected to damaged areas of the brain are lost forever.

neuronal pathways
Neurons that connect or communicate to one another and form functional units create networks or neuronal pathways. A brain system is made of up many neuronal pathways. Should damage from injury or stroke block or destroy primary pathways, the brain unmasks or exposes secondary pathways which become strengthened the more they are used. This phenomenon is believed to be one of the many ways the brain changes and reorganizes itself.

perceptual learning
Perceptual learning occurs when the brain learns to perceive in a new way, or with more acuteness, resulting in the development of new brain maps and structures. What we can and cannot perceive depends, to a significant degree, on culture. When we change cultures we learn to perceive differently.

plastic paradox, the
Brain plasticity is neutral - it may be positive or negative. The term plastic paradox expresses the idea that while neuroplasticity means brain change, neuroplasticity can also lead to rigidity in the brain. Repetitive patterns of behaviour create and strengthen neural pathways that, once established, are not readily undone. Motivation and repetition over time, and sometimes roadblocks, are key factors that drive brain change.