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Transient Exuberance

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hannah yale

on 2 March 2015

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Transcript of Transient Exuberance

The Developing Brain
Transient Exuberance
Increased Brain Power
When things go wrong
Transient exuberance
is the great but temporary increase in the number of dendrites that develop in an infant's brain during the first two years of life.
After transient exuberance, the brain goes through a process called pruning.
is the process by which unused connections in the brain atrophy and die.
This means that the quickest, most efficient connections are saved and used, while the connections that take longer to pass information along are killed off.
Expansion and pruning occur for every aspect of experience early on in life. This includes things such as noticing musical rhythms and understanding emotions.
Brain Weight Growth
Remarkably, the loss of these less efficient connections increases brain power.
Humans have more space between their neurons in areas of the brain such as those associated with advanced, abstract thought. Monkeys, however, have very densely packed neurons.
We have more space for the formation of dendrites, which allows for more synapses, which in turn allows for more abstract thinking.
Sometimes when the human brain doesn't prune normally, it results in some intellectual disabilities.
Some children's brains do not prune enough of the less efficient connections, which makes it harder and longer to process information.
One thing that may indicate autism is rapid brain growth that exceeds what is normal. This indicates too little pruning of the connections.
Nature v. Nurture
Some psychologists suggest that if the infant is lacking in some form of nurture (neglect, hunger), that the brain will compensate.
The hungry baby will become an obese adult.
The neglected child will reject attention.
These psychologists also argue that once this overcompensation takes place, it can not be reprogrammed to normalcy, even if the situation changes.
Brain Weight Growth
Increased Brain Power
Most of the increases in brain weight observed after infancy are due to myelination. Myelination continues on for years, but is clearly evident in the early years of childhood.
Myelination is the process by which axons become coated with myelin, a fatty substance that speeds the transmission of nerve impulses from neuron to neuron.
The speed of the transmission of information becomes critical when several thoughts/actions need to occur at once.
This can be observed when kids play baseball.
They need to remember plays, the objective of the game, the rules of the game, catching, throwing, quickly thinking about where to throw the ball to make a play, etc.
This can also be observed later in life with activities such as driving.
Adults need to remember laws, being able to recall quickly where everything is and what it does, remembering roads to get where they are going, knowing where to take short cuts if they are running late, looking out for and avoiding possible accidents (children running out into the roads, wrong way drivers, swerving drivers, etc.), keeping the right amount of pressure on the gas petal, right amount of pressure when braking, etc.
The Corpus Callosum
Why is this important?
When things go wrong
The corpus callosum grows and myelinates quickly during childhood.
The myelination of the corpus callosum makes communication between the two hemispheres more efficient.
This is critical, because we use both hemispheres of our brains for nearly every task.
The corpus callosum is a long, thick band of nerve fibers that connects the left and the right sides of the brain.
The common belief that the left side of brain does things that the right side can not and vice versa is extremely over-exaggerated. Both hemispheres of the brain are in use for almost every task.
Even though this is over-exaggerated, there are some things that are associated with one hemisphere more so than the other. This is called
, which literally means "sideness".
The left hemisphere of the brain is associated with logical reasoning, detailed analysis, and the basics of language. The left hemisphere also controls the right side of the body.
The right hemisphere of the brain is associated with emotions, creativity, and the appreciation of music, art, and poetry. It also is responsible for the movements of the left side of the body.
In a lot of cultures, it is assumed that people should be right-handed. This causes the need for left-handed people to adapt and adjust to a right-handed world. In most cases, the corpus callosa of left-handed people are a lot thicker than average. This is believed to be because they have to reprogram a lot of normal day-to-day functions (like shaking hands), to fit it with the societal norm.
If the corpus callosum fails to mature or myelinate normally, this can result in serious disorders, such as autism.
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