Research in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis
Research in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis (Gould et al. 1999) is beginning to raise awareness that learning capacity and memory can be improved by our surroundings. Not all aspects of the brain are fixed, or destined to deteriorate over time, as was previously assumed.
Instead, the brain is changeable or “plastic” throughout adulthood, with the potential to create new neural networks under “enriched” conditions.
Research on mice brains indicates that environmental enrichment such as being raised outside a cage as a pet, in an appropriately stimulating space, leads to increased cognitive development.
Mice raised in cages with toys, ladders, tunnels and running wheels showed higher rates of synaptogenesis (+25%) – which links neurons and results in increased brain activity and thicken cortex (Rosenzweig, 1960-64).
Our environments have the ability to cause heath.