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Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes.

May 31, 2010

Earlier: believed that brain was only influenced by genes and thus unchangeable

Now we know that environmental enrichment/deprivation can modify brain

Brain plasticity

  • The brain’s ability to rearrange connections between its neurons, to respond/adapt to environment (=experience/learning)
  • High levels of stimulation and numerous learning opportunities increase density of neural connections (dendritic branching)

–>Rosenzweig and Benett (1972)

  • Rats were place in 2 different environments: enrichment vs. deprivation
  • Post-mortem study to investigate brain differences


  • Enrichment increased thickness of cortex and weight of frontal lobe.
  • Company + stimulation = best

–>Maguire (200) – the taxi driver study

– Alzheimer’s disease: patients responding well to enriching environment

– Cases from deprived environments:

  • Genie
  • The Czech twins
One Comment leave one →
  1. September 12, 2012 11:01 pm

    Thank you! 🙂

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