Explain Two Effects of the Environment on Physiological Processes

Topics: Neuron, Brain, Human brain Pages: 4 (1347 words) Published: May 16, 2013
EXPLAIN TWO EFFECTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT ON PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESSES: Certain effect of the environment can affect physiological processes such as hormones, neurotransmitters and the brain. The two effect of the environment on physiological processes that will be discussed are the enrichment of certain environments on brain plasticity and the observation of experiences actions on the activation of mirror neurons.

The first effect of environment on physiological processes that will be discussed is brain plasticity. Brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to rearrange its connections with its neurons, that is, the changes that occur in the structure of the brain as a result of learning or experience (exposure to different environments). The changes that can take place are related to the challenges of the environment and thus represent an adaptation to it. Plasticity occurs every time something new is learnt and it is explicitly shown after brain injury when the brain reorganizes and forms new connections with healthy neurons to compensate for the functions of the damaged area.

A supporting study of brain plasticity is Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a deprived or enriched environment on neuroplasticity, in particular, the development of neurons in the cerebral cortex. The participants used were rats. The rats were separated and exposed to the two environments, one enriched with toys and one deprived with no toys for 30-60 days before being euthanized. Rats in the stimulating environment had a thicker cortex and heavier frontal lobe compared to rats in the deprived environment. This study showed the effect of the environment on physiology because more enriched environments helped develop neurons in brains of the rats.

Another supporting study is Draganski et al. (2004) The aim of this study was to determine whether functional and structural changes could be detected in the human brain as a result of...
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