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Other Words for Learning: Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity describes the changeability of the brain’s neuro-cellular materiality. It asserts that neural connections, like plastic, are not immutable; under the right conditions, they can be reformed and repurposed.  But, this is where the term can mislead us. Plastic has no agency. It’s inert. Change happens to it. There is no being. No participation.

Unlike plastic which has a lifeless material response to what happens to it, living brains respond to what happens to them by adapting (learning); mostly according to how they have adapted (learned).

Rather than emphasizing the plastic-ness of cellular biophysics, it would be helpful if our popular perception of the term Neuroplasticity, instead, conveyed the opportunity for agency implied in its openness to change – its openness to being changed by learning.

More “Other Words for Learning

Like molding plastic?

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3 Responses to Other Words for Learning: Neuroplasticity?

  1. Kirk VandenBerghe June 12, 2022 at 10:46 am #

    My favorite phrase in this post: “…by adapting (learning); mostly according to how they have adapted (learned).”


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