The role of experience is crucial in the development of the nervous
system. The definition of experience includes neural activity,
hormonal environment, and social interactions, as well as exposure
to sensory stimuli. There are a variety of organism-environment
interactions that guide the development of the nervous system.
There is evidence that early sensory experiences enhance brain
development and make for a more intelligent adult. A common theme
throughout the book is the biological mechanism of early
experiential influences in neural development. The book covers
three stages of development: (1) embryonic or perinatal
manipulations; (2) manipulations early after birth or hatching; (3)
major periods of transformation in the organism's life.The first
stimuli felt by an organism is at the embryonic stage. For example,
the expression of prenatal reflexes and movements regulates the
life and death of developing neurons and is necessary for the
normal development of the nervous system. Another example is the
sensory system, the development of which starts before the organism
has any sensory input. Furthermore, interactions between a pregnant
or nursing female and her environment can influence the environment
experienced by her offspring.As regards the organism's development
right after birth, evidence suggests that sensory deprivation of a
particular system may lead to the death of its neurons. Experiments
have been conducted on the olfactory bulb in the rodent and chick
auditory systems.The major periods of transformation refer to clear
changes in neural structure and function. One of the most
extraordinary transformations observed in developing organisms is
metamorphosis. During thisstage, some neurons may die, others alter
their anatomy, take on a new function, and die at a later time. In
some organisms, an entirely new sensory epithelium is formed, while
in others, learned behavioral changes become biologically possible
due to growth of cells that comprise a neural circuit.
Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers
|Country of origin:
Richard Lee Hyson
||Electronic book text
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