The development of neural networks through …

  • repetition
  • neural pruning

is both genetic and subject to environmental influences

Neural networks can change developmentally;

  • over time
  • after injury

Long term potentiation:

Brilliant clip of the wonderful Marian Diamond talking about ageing, brains, neuroplasticity and rats:

Amazing clip of a new synapse forming:  credited to the amazing neuroscientist Dr. Lila Landowski.

Relevant research studies:

Draganski’s jugglersdraganski2004

Making juggler APFC notes/research rainbow:

picture reference for draganki juggler notes

Evaluating a study GRAVE: grave2 web-grave

Evaluating Draganski; Creating chains of reasoning

Using Draganki to support neuroplasticity: using a study to support a concept or theory

If you wish to use Maguire for this section, you could consider evaluating with this study:

Linking neuroplasticity to Abnormal Option (biological etiology of MDD):

Linking neuroplasticity to the Health Option (e.g. stress): you could look at research that demonstrates the neuroplastic effects of mindfulness, such as Holzel et al. (2011). 

Practice Questions and Model Answers

Please be aware from 2020 SAQs can include the terms neurons, neural networks and neural pruning.


  1. Describe one study of neuroplasticity. (9)
  2. Explain how neural networks are formed with reference to one research study. (9)
  3. Explain the process of neural pruning with reference to one research study. (9)
  • You could include dendritic retraction and the study of Draganski’s jugglers where the mid temporal region decreases in size three months after the juggling group ceased practising.


ERQ model essay (a little long but hopefully helpful): evaluate-research-on-neuroplasticity (1)


Wordmint Bingo cards and clues: Neuroplasticity – WordMint bingo and clues-for-neuroplasticity-bingo

Quizizz link here for teachers:


Neuroplasticity (Part 2):

Draganski (plasticity):

Danelli Case Study: