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Experience-Dependent, Experience-Expectant Processes

Humans have evolved the unique capacity to store enormous amounts of information from birth to old age. The human brain is already large and complex at birth and is programmed to incorporate specific information (e.g., vision, language, attachment) on a developmental schedule. The brain continues to grow considerably for decades while incorporating additional information as needed (e.g., details of the environment, school, culture, personal experience). The neural mechanisms to store expected information during development are similar to those used on demand in adulthood but the differences have important clinical implications.

Evolutionary Background

Learning is an example of convergent evolution, where different species have independently evolved homologous information storage systems. For example, honeybees store spatial information about food location to communicate with other bees. Octopi are capable of ...

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