Lifespan and Physiological Limitations

“At birth and in early infancy, the brain’s 100 billion neurons have only minimal connections. The infant brain literally is ready and waiting for the experiences that will create these connections. During the first 2 years of life, the dendrites of the neurons branch out, and the neurons become far more interconnected; infancy is a time when the brain is all about making connections. Myelination, the process of encasing axons with fat cells (the myelin sheath), begins prenatally and continues after birth well into adolescence and adulthood (Blakemore & Mills, 2014; Casey, 2015).

The brain’s plasticity makes it different from any other bodily organ. It comes into the world ready for whatever world it might encounter, and the features of that world influence its very structure. Other organs physically grow as we do. But the brain’s very essence is attached to the world in which it lives.

During childhood, synaptic connections increase dramatically. Recall that a synapse is a gap between neurons that is bridged by chemical neurotransmitters. Nearly twice as many synapses are available as will ever be used (Huttenlocher, 1999)”

From Experience Psychology, Third Edition by Laura A. King. Textbook for my Psychology 100 Class