Neuroplasticity has become a central neurocultural keyword not only inside but also outside the neurosciences.
Since the 1990s, studies of how diverse activities, from taxi driving to meditating, correlate with anatomical changes in the brain as well as discoveries about the brain’s capacity for recovery, repair, and self-reprogramming after injury or amputation have turned neuroplasticity into a powerful motivator in rehabilitation and geriatric medicine and stimulated research on learning and cognition, aging and development, brain injury, addiction, and such brain-related disorders as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and depression (e.g., Doidge 2015; Merzenich, Nahum, and van Vleet 2013; Merzenich, van Vleet, and Nahum 2014; Schwartz and Begley 2002; for discussions, see Choudhury and McKinney 2013; Droz 2011; Pickersgill, Martin, and Cunningham-Burley 2015; Rees 2010; Rose and Abi-Rached 2013).
According to the Canadian psychiatrist Norman Doidge (2007, xv) in his bestseller The Brain That Changes Itself, neuroplasticity is “one of the most extraordinary discoveries of the twentieth century.” As “proof ” that the mind indeed alters the brain, neuroplasticity substantiates convictions about the mind’s power to bring about illness or cure (on whose history see Harrington 2008), which the same Doidge (2015) now markets as “neuroplastic healing.”
Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....The video below explains the concept of neuroplasticity and, furthermore, serves as an example of how this concept has been coopted by ideals of self-improvement.
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