Plasticity is the brain’s ability to structurally and/or functionally change in response to environmental stimulation. This environmental stimulation can occur in the form of exposure (e.g., learning through exposure to enriched environments) or injury/illness (e.g., neuronal recovery). Plasticity at the neural level (i.e., structural plasticity) does not necessarily imply plasticity at the behavioral level (i.e., functional plasticity), that is, neural plasticity may not necessarily lead to functional behavioral change.
The pioneering work of Margaret Kennard (1938) produced the notion that the brains of infant animals have greater potential for neural plasticity than those of adult animals. Her work is embodied in the so-called Kennard Principlethat the earlier in life brain damage occurs, the greater the chance of recovery. The Kennard Principle was widely accepted in neuropsychology for many years, but more...
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