Honors Program

Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Russell W. Brown

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Russell W. Brown, Andi Clements


Environmental enrichment, for more than fifty years, has shown to increase learning in behaviors and to alter some brain structures (Renner and Rosenzweig). Some brain changes that occur when environmental enrichment is implemented include the following: increases in cortical thickness, especially the occipital cortex, increases in size of neuronal cell bodies, number of dendrites and dendritic spines, increases in astrocyte branching, increases in the number of brain blood capillaries, and increases in mitochondria (an indication of higher metabolic activity) (Stairs and Bard). It has been shown in research studies that rats in the environmental enrichment group are less sensitive to nicotine effects, both repeated and acute, than rats in isolated situations (Green et al). This is so because enrichment changes the intensity of the acute administration of drugs of abuse. Rats are stimulated by the environment, rather than a particular stimulant.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

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