As far as I know, neuroplasticity is about restoring brain functions by moving some functions to other still functional. Neuroplasticity is more prominent in children than in adults.

What are other examples of neuroplasticity that are unrelated to pathologies? Can it be demonstrated by a simple experiment outside the laboratory? Are learning, or simply the getting used to new things examples of neuroplasticity?

For example, after wearing red-cyan goggles, I see a color mismatch for some time after I take off the goggles. Is it related to neuroplasticity or some other thing?

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    $\begingroup$ Can you please include a link for your definition of neuroplasticity? This is not how I understand the term at all. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2015 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse, I just remember reading about it somewhere before. Wikipedia gives this intro: Neuroplasticity, ..., is an umbrella term ... — it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking, emotions, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury. $\endgroup$
    – Vi.
    Mar 29, 2015 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ This is not something you want to be testing in any kind of "home experiment". I agree with @anongoodnurse, your last example is a bit muddled in terms of its reliance on long-term plasticity. Your first sentence has some ring of truth to it, as this phenomenon has been observed in the congenitally blind, for example (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_modal_plasticity), but there is no "movement" per se. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Mar 29, 2015 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ I have voted to close this as a medical advice question due to the "experimentation" aspect, but if you rework it a bit, there are some interesting questions here. Take a look at some of the work done on lateral connections/silent synapses in the motor and sensory cortexes particularly after cerebral infarct or TBI and you should have plenty of fodder for an outstanding and well-researched question. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Mar 29, 2015 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ @jonsca et al., I have edited the question and removed self-help referencing. I vote to re-open as it is a valid question. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Mar 29, 2015 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


Your question is basically a matter of defining brain plasticity or more broader, neuroplasticity. According to a well-cited paper in Brain (Cramer et al., 2011) neuroplasticity is defined as:

[...] the ability of the nervous system to respond to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing its structure, function and connections.

Hence, the term can be, and indeed is used very broadly. A more elaborate definition in the same article should answer you question as to whether learning and habituation can be considered to be associated with neuroplasticity:

Neuroplasticity can be broadly defined as the ability of the nervous system to respond to intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing its structure, function and connections; can be described at many levels, from molecular to cellular to systems to behaviour; and can occur during development, in response to the environment, in support of learning, in response to disease, or in relation to therapy. Such plasticity can be viewed as adaptive when associated with a gain in function [...] or as maladaptive when associated with negative consequences [...]

Your vision example, however, is more appropriately referred to as adaptation. Although it strictly spoken falls under the above definition of plasticity (...reorganizing its... function, color adaptation is (at least in my opinion) too short-lived (minutes) to be associated with plasticity.

Lastly, as to experiments - Although learning a chunk of material from a textbook as a homework assignment is definitely related to plasticity, it cannot be seen as proof; it is the result of neuroplasticity. Experiments showing plasticity can and have been done with imaging (most notably fMRI) or with electrophysiological approaches (patch clamp studies showing long-term potentiation reflecting learning). These techniques cannot be applied outside the laboratory, as they require advanced and pricey equipment, careful experimental design, and not least importantly ethical clearance.

- Cramer et al., Brain 2011;134:1591–609

Further reading
- Color adaptation: What is the science behind the inaccurate perception of colors?


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