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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017, Article ID 7125057, 12 pages
Review Article

Understanding the Mechanisms of Recovery and/or Compensation following Injury

1Neurotrauma and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA
2Department of Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Michael J. Hylin; ude.uis@nilyhm

Received 19 December 2016; Revised 24 February 2017; Accepted 26 March 2017; Published 20 April 2017

Academic Editor: Andrea Turolla

Copyright © 2017 Michael J. Hylin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Injury due to stroke and traumatic brain injury result in significant long-term effects upon behavioral functioning. One central question to rehabilitation research is whether the nature of behavioral improvement observed is due to recovery or the development of compensatory mechanisms. The nature of functional improvement can be viewed from the perspective of behavioral changes or changes in neuroanatomical plasticity that follows. Research suggests that these changes correspond to each other in a bidirectional manner. Mechanisms surrounding phenomena like neural plasticity may offer an opportunity to explain how variables such as experience can impact improvement and influence the definition of recovery. What is more, the intensity of the rehabilitative experiences may influence the ability to recover function and support functional improvement of behavior. All of this impacts how researchers, clinicians, and medical professionals utilize rehabilitation.