Talk:Neuroplasticity

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon psychology.svg

This Psychology related article has not received a brainstar for quality. Please consider expanding the article appropriately. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Steelbrain.png

Arguments for strong neuroplasticity[edit]

Climate is and has always been variable. That favours flexibility. This explains the existence of epigenetics[1]. Epigenetics debunks claims that twin studies somehow disproves full adaptability. While epigenetics usually only can change regulation of gene activity and not the DNA itself, mammalian brain neurons can indeed change their very DNA, the process being especially efficient in humans [2][3]. That means that even gene/behavior correlation studies cannot disprove full adaptability.

There is evidence for recoveries after brain damage that computationalist psychology cannot explain. Such successful recoveries are linked to tolerant, flexible environments. Faliure of such is linked to rigid curriculums[4]. This implies that "learning windows" are cultural constructs and not biologically fixed.

Adaptive evolution in specific traits can go extremely fast[5] and humans are no exception[6]. This means that all theories about limitations to neuroplasticity predicts innate behavioral differences between ethnicities. That prediction does not seem to pan out [7]. The most likely explanation of why there is no evidence of innate ethnic differences in behavior is that environments without sociological racist discrimination tend to be fairly tolerant and flexible, allowing the fullness of neuroplasticity to flourish.

The fact that no nonhuman animals are at or even near that level of neuroplasticity can be explained by an epigenetic feedback loop towards greater neuroplasticity, the more plastic the brain already was the better it was at further improving its own plasticity [8].


  1. By selection for flexibility causing Darwinian evolution to select for the ability of Lamarckian inheritance
  2. Aneuploid neurons are functionally active and integrated into brain circuitry
  3. How many genomes do you have?
  4. Mind, Brain and Education
  5. As examplified by caterpillars in polluted cities evolving darker camouflage
  6. Tibetans have evolved much more efficient lung and hemoglobin in just 3000 years
  7. Studies show that "racial" differences in behavior can be explained by educational discrimination, and the prediction of thrifty, time-saving cuts of linguistic generality is blatantly debunked by the fact that people of any ethnic descent can learn other languages
  8. There is fossil evidence that brain evolution have accelerated

As none of those ref-tags are actual references, yet this makes some strong claims ("there is evidence for..." "studies show...") I've cut this here. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 14:07, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Recoveries[edit]

The evidence for extreme recoveries after brain damage is explained in the article "Brain" on topic page "Psychology" on http://purescience.wikia.com although research on the ecological paradox have now made the human exceptionalism part obsolete Martin J Sallberg— Unsigned, by: 109.58.99.190 / talk / contribs

Go spam your insights somewhere else, please.--ZooGuard (talk) 14:32, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Footnote 7 does not work[edit]

Do you all have a replacement or something? Scamharris (talk) 18:22, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

I found one, but it's now paywalled. Sorry. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 18:40, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Ah, I found one that's not paywalled. :) 142.124.55.236 (talk) 18:41, 22 August 42015 AQD (UTC)

The most unscientific article on RationalWiki[edit]

This article is far too theoretical and even pseudoscientific in nature for RationalWiki. The overstated power of neuroplasticity reads like someone has read Norman Doidge book and concluded the brain is malleable and made of plastic. Identical twins who were separated at birth have huge overlap in brain patterns, indicating that neuroplasticity is significantly limited in it's scope, and brains are in many ways hard wired. Neuroplasticity can have effect on a few tasks such as taxi driving as is mentioned in the article, but "brain training" games don't make you smarter, and claims about porn/sex addictions with relation to neuroplasticity have largely been refuted in follow up studies.[1][2]

Steven Pinker writes:

Critics of new media sometimes use science itself to press their case, citing research that shows how “experience can change the brain.” But cognitive neuroscientists roll their eyes at such talk. Yes, every time we learn a fact or skill the wiring of the brain changes; it’s not as if the information is stored in the pancreas. But the existence of neural plasticity does not mean the brain is a blob of clay pounded into shape by experience. Experience does not revamp the basic information-processing capacities of the brain. Speed-reading programs have long claimed to do just that, but the verdict was rendered by Woody Allen after he read “War and Peace” in one sitting: “It was about Russia.” Genuine multitasking, too, has been exposed as a myth, not just by laboratory studies but by the familiar sight of an S.U.V. undulating between lanes as the driver cuts deals on his cellphone.
If you didn't know, Norman Doidge who popularised the concept through his books makes huge claims about neuroplasticity meaning we can cure cancer, autism, rare diseases and all sorts of ailments. He has sold millions of books, and been called a pseudoscientist by many neuroscientists. Psychiatry is largely considered the least scientific of all medical fields. To overstate the effects of neuroplasticity is unscientific --Debunky (talk) 03:07, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
  1. https://www.thedailybeast.com/your-porn-addiction-isnt-real
  2. https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/sex-and-love/porn-addiction-may-not-be-addiction-after-all