Learning & the Brain – Norman Doidge (neuroplasticity)

If you read Doidge’s book, The Brain that Changes Itself, then you didn’t need to be at the Learning & the Brain conference session. And if you were at the session, then you should still read the book because Doidge shares intriguing stories and, in my opinion, is a far more captivating writer than he is a presenter.

Having blogged extensively about the people and issues described in Doidge’s book, rather than recoup it all again, I refer you to the tag cloud for a look at my past posts. If you are not a regular reader of this blog, my recommendation is to begin with the earliest post, which describes Plasticity and will be at the bottom of the page.

You will discover in your reading of either the book or my posts that “brain plasticity occurs in response to the environment, the task at hand, and our thoughts and imaginings”.

And what took so long for plasticity to be acknowledged? Doidge says it is partially due to how the brain has been considered throughout history, which has been from a combination of natural and mechanical perspectives; to a lack of technology for adequately seeing changes as they happen in the brain; to poor prognosis, in the past, of those with brain dysfunctions, coupled with insufficient clinical evidence of recovery; and to the “plastic paradox” (see the third from last paragraph), whereby plasticity leads to rigidity, and therefore plasticity masks itself.

Doidge has done an admirable job of compiling in one place results of related research and development, and chronicling tales of perseverance. If you weren’t already in awe of your amazing brain, you will be after reading his book.


7 thoughts on “Learning & the Brain – Norman Doidge (neuroplasticity)

  1. Rebecca Glover

    Hi I want to use this quote in a book chapter I am writing, could you give me a citation for it. “brain plasticity occurs in response to the environment, the task at hand, and our thoughts and imaginings”.
    Thank you

  2. synapsesensations Post author

    Hi Penny,
    Wish I could be more helpful but am unfamiliar with any neuroscientists who treat what you describe. With that said, you might try contacting anyone involved in carrying on the research of Paul Bach-y-Rita. I don’t know that they’d be the ones who could help, but they might be able to steer you in the right direction to others who can be of help.
    May you have success!

  3. penny ward

    I have homon. hemiaopia after TBI (horse riding accident). Live in rural area, can’t drive and medicos here guffaw at neuroplasticity…’no clinical proof” etc. Am desperate to contact a neurolastic practitioner anywhere in the WORLD qho has aprogramme/s that may assist me enlarge my visual field. A name and emAIL or address would be much appreciated. I can travel (if I must) and am desperate for help as I wWAS an exceedingly active( Physical & mental) woman- unable at present to drive.
    If the future holds no joy here for me I am selling up and going to Europr to live.regards, Penny

  4. synapsesensations Post author

    Hi Tony,
    Thanks for the link to the Merzenich video, and for your comment.

    My work in the area of plasticity and Norman Doidge has really just been to read his book and write about his findings, as well as share whatever else I find out about neuroplasticity. Am always careful about spreading myself too thin ? besides my blog, I also write for SharpBrains and teach full time (and have been busy with semester comment writing, hence the delay in my responding). However, if you think that furthering the dialogue would be useful, am happy to continue the email conversation.


  5. tony serve

    Hi Laurie from a latecomer to Norman Doidge.

    You readers may enjoy a US Univeristy video of DR MERZENICH which can be found at http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=MPSdWY5VdEE

    I’d really like to speak with you for my radio show and for use on my blog to create more interest, understanding and action in using placticity principles and clinical experience to reduce death and suffering.

    Thanks for all your work in this area so far.

    my contacts and other possibly useful info is available to all at

    I look forward to speaking to you and anyone else who is interested in this amazing field of endeavor.


  6. synapsesensations Post author

    Hi Alison,

    I do not have much familiarity with accounting or finance related sites or books for learning. I can recommend a wonderful music site maintained by Alan Coady, which might be useful to you: http://edubuzz.org/blogs/alancoady/ Between his writing and the multitude of links he provides, you might find something of use and interest.

    Hope this is somewhat helpful!


  7. alison

    Can you suggest other books/sites – I’m interested in adult learning. eg I’m great if its music/language based, have always THOUGHT I was bad at maths – I want to understand basic accounting/finance for my business and for interest.

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