Response to: Hippocampus
Diane - I have to admit that I haven't done much research on specific brain structures yet. I guess I'm so far out on the purely functionalist track that anything having to do with structure scares me to death. ;-)
However - when it comes to the brain things might be different after all.
I found another interesting article about the effects of severe stress on hippocampal volume.
If you think about patients with chronic pain it all starts making sense:
pain leads to stress - stress leads to gray matter loss in the brain (not just in the hippocampus) - thereby limiting the amount of neurons you have to be able to learn something new. It really is a vicious circle. Scary stuff.
I wonder if an increase in hippocampal volume is universal, i.e. can these new neurons then be used for other tasks as well or are they built for one task only?