Edelman became a full professor at Rockefeller University in 1966.
His subsequent research focused on morphogenesis--i.e., the formation
and differentiation of tissues and organs. As director of the Neurosciences
Institute at Rockefeller University from 1981, Edelman tried to construct
a general theory of neural development and brain function, which he
discussed in his book Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group
Selection (1987). In place of the traditional view of the human nervous
system as a fixed and immutable structure, Edelman argued that neural
systems change and evolve. Those connections used frequently tend to
be maintained, while those that are not decay or are used for other
purposes. Neuronal connections are selected for use on the basis of
both developmental (i.e., inherited) factors and on experiential ones.
Edelman's theory of a human brain that modifies itself continually in
response to incoming signals acquired increasing influence among neuroscientists
by the end of the 20th century.
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