LTP: When Neurons Make a Long-term Commitment

An excellent explanation of long-term potentiation (LTP)!

Knowing Neurons

A few months ago, I got a new smart phone that had a bigger screen and a different operating system. For a while, I was annoyed that I made so many typos when texting and emailing, but now I’m completely competent with my new phone! It even feels strange to use the old one. In neuroscience, an experience like this is called synaptic plasticity, which refers to the brain’s ability to change as a result of experience.

As Juan noted in his latest post, your brain really is a lot like a sponge. It is flexible and often changes the strength of its neural connections and networks. The more you use a particular neural network, the stronger it becomes because you are reinforcing that connection. For example, as I familiarize myself with my new cell phone, I reinforce the neural circuits that require me to become faster and…

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