This Radiolab podcast talks about how animals kept in captivity and away form stimulation can flourish when the environment changes. Listen to at least 18:50 on. The researcher studying birds at the end of the report points to the brains ability to reestablish stunted or lost connections, called dendritic arbor for neurons to build on and rise to meet new challenges.
www.radiolab.org/2007/jun/04/inside-out-cage/