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Growing Evidence of Brain Plasticity

Michael Merzenich | 23:08

Transcript

This machine, which we all have, uh, residing in our skulls, that reminds me of an aism of, uh, a comment of Woody Allen that, that ask about what's the very best thing to have within your skull? And it's this machine and it's constructed for change. It's all about. It confers on us the ability to do things tomorrow that we can't do today.


Things today that we couldn't do yesterday, and of course it's born stupid. The last time you were in the presence of a baby, this happens to be my granddaughter Mira. Isn't she fabulous? But nonetheless, when she popped out, despite the fact that she had, her brain had actually been progressing in its development for several months before on the basis of her experiences in the womb, nonetheless, she had very limited abilities, as does every.


At the time of normal, normal, natural, full term birth. So if we were to say her perceptual abilities, I would be crude. There's no real indication that there's any real thinking going on. In fact, there's little evidence that there is any cognitive ability in a very young infant. Infants don't respond to much.


There's not really much of an indication, in fact that there's person on. Okay. And there it can only in a very primitive way and in a very limited way, control their movements. It will be several months before this infant to do something as simple as reach out and grasp under voluntary control and object can retrieve it usually to the mouth, and it will be some months forward.


And when we see a long, steady progression of the evolution from the first wiggles to rolling over and sitting up and crawling, standing, walking, before we get to that magical point in which we can moate in the. And yet when we look forward in the brain, we see really remarkable advance. By this age, the brain can actually store it as stored, recorded, can fastly retrieve demeans of thousands, tens of thousands of objects, actions, and their relationships in the world.


And those relationships can in fact be constructed in hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of ways. By this age, that brain controls very refined perceptual a. And it actually has a growing repertoire of cognitive skills. This brain is very much a thinking machine, and by this age, there's absolutely no question that this brain has a person on board.


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