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Plasticity may change inputs as well as processes, structures, and responses.

  • Author(s): Oakes, Lisa M
  • et al.

Significant work has documented neuroplasticity in development, demonstrating that developmental pathways are shaped by experience. Plasticity is often discussed in terms of the results of differences in input; differences in brain structures, processes, or responses reflect differences in experience. In this paper, I discuss how developmental plasticity also effectively changes input into the system. That is, structures and processes change in response to input, and those changed structures and processes influence future inputs. For example, plasticity may change the pattern of eye movements to a stimulus, thereby changing which part of the scene becomes the input. Thus, plasticity is not only seen in the structures and processes that result from differences in experience, but also is seen in the changes in the input as those structures and processes adapt. The systematic study of the nature of experience, and how differences in experience shape learning, can contribute to our understanding of neuroplasticity in general.

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