How Does Neuroplasticity Work?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to experience. It is believed to be the mechanism underlying learning and memory.
Neuroplasticity occurs at all levels of the nervous system, from the firing of individual neurons to the structure of the brain itself. Changes can be structural, such as the formation of new connections between neurons, or functional, such as changes in the strength of existing connections.
One well-known example of neuroplasticity is London taxi drivers. A study found that London taxi drivers have larger posterior hippocampi – the region of the brain associated with navigation – than non-taxi drivers. This difference is believed to be a result of the taxi drivers’ training, which requires them to learn and remember complex route maps.
Neuroplasticity is believed to be involved in many types of learning, including motor learning, auditory and visual learning, and learning to read. It may also play a role in recovery from brain injuries, such as stroke.