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More experience = Bigger Brain?

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Presentation on theme: "More experience = Bigger Brain?"— Presentation transcript:

1 More experience = Bigger Brain?
By Caroline Filko and Haley Stone

2 Background Do certain experiences produce physical changes in the brain? 1785, Malacarne, an Italian anatomist discovered that the brains of the animals that were trained appeared more complex. Late 19th century, a study surfaced to relate the circumference of the human head with the amount of learning a person had experienced. Disapproved by later research.

3 Experimental Method 12 sets of three male rats were chosen from the same litter and designated to one of three types of conditions: Impoverished Environment (smaller cage, one isolated rat) Control Group (standard cage, multiple rats) Enriched Environment (large cage, objects to play with, multiple rats)

4 Results Enriched rats were vastly different from the impoverished rats! Denser Cerebral Cortex was found in the enriched rats. Was heavier, thicker, and possessed larger neurons. Greater overall chemical activity of acetyl cholinesterase and the ratio of RNA and DNA Bigger Synapses were found in the enriched rats by 50% Conclusion: Brain anatomy and brain chemistry are changed by experience. Cortex is part of the brain that responds to experience  movement, memory, learning, and all sensory input acetyl cholinesterase a nervous system enzyme that allows for faster and more efficient transmissions of impulses among the brain cells. RNA and Dna are the two greatest brain chemicals for cell growth

5 Criticism Different handling of rats  responded by handling one litter daily, and not the other. Results remained the same. Stress effects  other research that exposed rats to stress cited with no changes in brain development. Artificial environment  used wild deer mice as subjects. Proved that a natural environment is more beneficial. Relationship to human subjects  research allows scientists to test concepts that may later prove useful to human subjects. Enriched were handled more often to for more toys and cleaning Critics believed that the isolation was promoting stress thereby decreasing brain development. Various levels of stimulation of animals common in the wild. Rats are different from humans. How can this research apply to human subjects?

6 Significance of the Study
Study of memory  new techniques for improving memory and preventing memory loss Relationship between malnutrition and intelligence  theories developed about how malnutrition maybe reduced or enhanced by environmental enrichment or deprivation. changes in the brain due to experience may lead to a better understanding of the storage of memory Malnutrition may make a subject unresponsive to simulation in the environment

7 Recent Applications People unable to have certain experiences will possesses a less developed brain region. Applied to the process of human intellectual development. “ …I found that the people who use their brains don’t lose them. It was that simple.” by Marian Diamond Effects on CHS student development? Study by Ian Sneddon on pigs with operant tasks and rewards. Reapproved the idea of cognitive development based on an enriched environment. “Mozart Effect” children become better learners when listening to Mozart. Claimed as a fad of pop psychology.

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