Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Brain Plasticity

  • Jennifer Sue KleinerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_714


Plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change its structure in response to development, the environment, or injury.

Current Knowledge

Brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to change in response to development, to the environment (including learning), and in response to injury or aging. While it was once conceptualized that once the brain ceases development, that it would then be resistant to change, or in effect be static. Research over the last several decades has demonstrated that the brain continues to be capable of change, or restructuring, throughout the life span. While much research with respect to brain plasticity focuses on outcomes following injury, brain plasticity also refers to developmental changes that occur in the brain throughout the life span, including synaptic changes that occur in response to the acquisition of new learning and memories. As such, plasticity is seen as an intrinsic property of the central nervous system...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Galaburda, A., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2003). Mechanisms of plasticity and behavior. In T. E. Feinberg & M. J. Farah (Eds.), Behavioral neurology & neuropsychology (2nd ed., pp. 57–70). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  2. Kolb, B. (1995). Brain plasticity and behavior. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Kolb, B., Gibb, R., & Robinson, T. E. (2003). Brain plasticity and behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12(1), 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I. Q. (1998). Brain plasticity and behavior. Annual Review of Psychiatry, 49, 43–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Nelson, C. A., & Luciana, M. (2001). Handbook of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Blandford Physician CenterLittle RockUSA