Your Baby's Developing Brain
the neural connections that ultimately sculpt the way
the brain is organized; this is true across
many different cognitive functions.”
DEBRA MILLS, DEVELOPMENTAL COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENTIST
Scientists used to believe that a baby’s genes almost single-handedly determined how smart she was going to be. While genes do play a critical role in development, recent advances in the science of the brain have led to a remarkable conclusion: the development of the brain is guided in large part by the richness of the experiences a baby has in the first three years of life. This is an enormously important discovery because early brain development lays a foundation for how well a person will be able to learn, think and react emotionally throughout her life.
The process of brain development starts with the parents’ genes and continues with the person’s experience. Genes give your baby a blueprint for how her brain will be wired; early experiences determine how much of that inherited potential will be realized. The richer the earlier experiences, the more efficient the brain becomes. Each experience the baby has strengthens connections in the brain, making it more likely that those connections will become part of the permanent wiring. Connections that don’t get strengthened wither and die.
What your baby is exposed to during the first three years of life, in other words, physically sculpts her brain; the more meaningful, consistent and interesting her experiences are, the better her brain will be organized.
there is now increasing understanding that
the environment can effect where you are
within that range…You can’t make a 70 IQ person
into a 120 IQ person, but you can change
their IQ measure in different ways, perhaps as much as
20 points up or down, based on their environment.”
DR. FREDERICK GOODWIN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH