The early years matter because, in the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. Neural connections are formed through the interaction of genes and baby’s environment and experiences, especially “” interaction with adults, or what developmental researchers call contingent reciprocity. These are the connections that build – the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend.
Because of this belief, scientists also thought that if a particular area of the adult brain was damaged, the nerve cells could not form new connections or regenerate, and the functions controlled by that area of the brain would be permanently lost. However, new research on animals and humans has overturned this mistaken old view: today we recognize that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new throughout life. This phenomenon, called , allows the neurons in the brain to compensate for injur
Early brain development is the foundation of human adaptability and resilience, but these qualities come at a Because experiences have such a great potential to affect brain development, children are especially vulnerable to persistent negative influences during this period. On the other hand, these early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers, and communities: positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness.
Thanks to the advent of fMRI machines (functional magnetic resonance imaging), we can now watch our brains in real time and see which areas of the brain light up when we’re angry, pleased, or distracted. Over the past 20 years, scientists discovered that neural pathways of the brain change over time - the brain is dynamic, not fixed, as everyone previously believed. They named this idea that our brain architecture can change “neuroplasticity.”