HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Baltimore, Maryland, USA or Virtually from your home or work.

10th Edition of International Conference on Neurology and Brain Disorders

October 21-23, 2024

October 21 -23, 2024 | Baltimore, Maryland, USA
INBC 2023

David Joseph Sperbeck

Speaker at Neuroscience Conference - David Joseph Sperbeck
Private practice, United States
Title : Neuroplasticity and experiential openness: Implications for brain trauma rehabilitation


Recovery from brain trauma is in part dependent upon the brain’s ability to adapt to new and challenging experiences.  The brain’s capacity to structurally and functionally reorganize nerve cells and spontaneously develop new neuronal networks defines neuroplasticity.  Neuroplasticity can be enhanced by enriching the therapeutic environment and by providing patients with diverse and multisensory stimulation.  Such enriched therapeutic activities have been found to enhance existing cognitive capabilities and to promote recovery from strokes and TBI’s across the lifespan.

Experiential Openess (EO) is a personality attribute characterized by the individual’s active imagination, intellectual curiosity, and preference for varied and novel stimulation.  Individuals who are considered to be high in EO tend to be creative, reflective, inquisitive, and drawn to interests in unconventional and multisensory cognitive challenges.  

Openess to experience has been empirically related to improved memory functioning in aging adults.  The preservation of autobiographical, immediate, and declarative memory skills in normal and mildly demented adults rated high in EO suggests that this attribute may serve a protective function in normal and degenerative aging.  The improved memory functioning consistently displayed by experientially open older adults may reflect more efficient and effective neuroadaptation to aging.

The relationship between EO and memory preservation across normal and degenerative aging populations has implications for the design of neurorehabilitation therapies.  Patients rated high in EO may demonstrate greater willingness to engage in novel therapeutic experiences, artistic endeavors, and unconventional therapies involving music, self-reflection, mindfulness, etc.  Therapeutic activities which model EO attributes may enhance and support neuroplasticity by incrementally introducing new and unconventional cognitive challenges into the therapeutic environment for both experientially open and closed individuals.  Empirical and systematic analysis of the relationships between EO and adaptation to normal and degenerative aging and trauma related cognitive impairments will be discussed.

Audience Take Away

  • Participants will increase their understanding of structural and functional neuroplasticity
  • Participants will understand the characteristics of open vs. closed to experience personalities
  • Participants will gain insight into the relationship between EO and preservation of memory in aging
  • Participants will understand how diverse and multisensory cognitive challenges enhance neuroplasticity
  • Participants will recognize the (dis-)advantages of EO in the brain trauma therapeutic setting
  • Participants will be introduced to therapy enhancements designed to promote neuroplasticity
  • Participants will be able to identify future areas for the systematic analysis of EO and cognitive rehabilitation


Dr. Sperbeck graduated from the University of Rochester in 1982.  He completed a clinical neuropsychology residency at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bath, NY prior to serving as the chief forensic and neuropsychologist at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute from 1982-2005.  Dr. Sperbeck was the chief of pediatric neuropsychology at the North Star Hospital in Anchorage Ak from 2005-2019.  He held the position of Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine from 1985-2019 and is currently in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska.  Dr. Sperbeck has authored more than 150 professional papers in the areas of neurodevelopmental disorders, degenerative aging, personality and cognition, and neuropsychological assessment across the lifespan.