Neuroplasticity and the Fire-Wire Principle

In an earlier post I introduced the idea that neurons that fire together wire together. When we experience a habitual simultaneity between two things, the part of the brain that responds to those two things becomes fused. The reason this it’s possible for this to happen because the brain is plastic, in the sense of being adaptable and malleable. (We discussed the phenomenon of neuroplasticity earlier in our posts ‘From Localizationism to Neuroplasticity’ and ‘The Adaptive Brain.’)

But while humans have always known this on an experiential level, it has only been recently that they’ve been able to understand it scientifically. In Dr. Doidge best-selling book on the brain’s neuroplasticity, he shared about the discoveries in the middle of the last century that were seminal to this understanding of the brain:

 “In 1949 Hebb proposed that learning linked neurons in new ways. He proposed that when two neurons fire at the same time repeatedly (or when one fires, causing another to fire), chemical changes occur in both, so that the two tend to connect more strongly. Hebb’s concept—actually proposed by Freud sixty years before –was neatly summarized by neuroscientist Carla Shatz: Neurons that fire together wire together.

Further Reading

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