Lecture 5 - 13.04.10

Lecture 5 - 13.04.10 - 13.04.10 Psych 130 Lecture 5 The...

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13.04.10 Psych 130 – Lecture 5 The Effects of Early Experience When something happens when you are 17 as opposed to when you are 3, does this have difference effects on you depending on your age? The Valence of Plasticity – the brain can be influenced by the environment. Negative: neglect o Kitten’s eyes Raised in a vertical world. The brain of the kitten is so plastic that it is shaped by the world the kitten is raised in. The kittens could not see or recognize horizontal lines o Positive: our brain being shaped by environmental stimulation in terms of learning Violinist’ left hand and its representation in the brain. Expert violinists have more robust and rich representations of their left hand in their brain than others. Enriched Environments Greenough’s rats: Enriched environment and control rats o Enriched environment had a lot of tunnels, bedding to dig through and a lot of new toys to stimulate the rats. o Control rats lived in laboratory control cages o Enriched rats had much better learning on future tasks, more synapse formation, more dendritic spines (surface area), more neural growth Is it possible to get better than normal (experience-expectant) development? o Our brains are going to expect a certain level of stimulation from the environment and that is probably good enough for our brains and going beyond that might not actually make our brains better or take them to a higher level. 3 Types of Development (Synapse Formation) Depending on the category of the behaviour we are interested in, the type of development is one of the following: Gene-driven – need very little environmental input and there are very few types of this kind of development in humans. Where you do not expect the environment to play a role in the expression of that feature. Maybe, the fact that we have a CNS is an example of gene development. Experience-Expectant (Synapse overproduction) – genes expect that a certain environment is going to be present in an individual’s life and therefore, the influence on a particular behaviour that that environment is going to contribute doesn’t need to be built. E.g., genes do not produce vitamin D and sunlight is needed for vitamin D production. Our genes know that we are not going to die if we do not build a mechanism to produce vitamin D because we can get it from the sun. This is a product of evolution. o
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This note was uploaded on 03/07/2011 for the course PSYCH 130 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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Lecture 5 - 13.04.10 - 13.04.10 Psych 130 Lecture 5 The...

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