Norman Doidge In The Brain That Changes Itself Analysis

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In The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge uses experimental and research study evidence consistently and effectively. He successfully simplifies experiments in order to insure that any reader can understand the point being made. However, his use of numerical evidence is lacking the strength needed to support his claim that the brain can be trained and even physically changed. Doidge also presents how scientists react when they disagree with one another and how their curiosity is an essential component of a scientist’s job. Throughout the reading Doidge uses experimental evidence repeatedly to persuade the audience of his claims. Specifically, the idea that by placing a person in a stimulating environment you can modify their brain.…show more content…
One habit we learn from In the Brain That Changes Itself, is how scientists respond when two or more scientists disagree. This is particularly seen during Doidge’s, recount of when Merzenich discovered that the accepted view of how the brain forms its maps to understand sensory pulses was completely wrong. Previously accepted was the idea that “each point on the body surface had a nerve that sent signals directly to a specific point on the brain map, anatomically hardwired at birth.” What was also known was that in the healing process of a nerve, the axons get shuffled around and get crossed. An axon is one of three parts of a neuron and that carries electrical pulses at high speeds throughout the body. When these axons crossed it was believed that the sensory pulses would get sent to the wrong part of the brain causing a touch on your index finger to feel like a touch on your thumb. This phenomenon was referred to as false localization. Merzenich accepted this idea and went on to document what was happening in the brain during this process. However, what he discovered was completely unexpected. It turns out that even when axons get shuffled, the brain managed to normalize the signals and shift its map to un-shuffle the signals. This breakthrough was so important because it concluded that the brain was indeed plastic. Merzenich scoured through past experiments for any type of evidence that could also corroborate that the brain was plastic. He came across an experiment conducted by Karl Lashley. In the experiment Lashley stimulated a particular spot in a monkey’s motor cortex and observed what body part was caused to move. He then waited a few months and proceeded to stimulate the same part of the brain only to find that it would cause a different body part to move. This finding was all Merzenich needed to confirm his new found belief that

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