Re-thinking the Brain

Source: Families and Work Institute. (1997). Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Development. p.18.

  • How a brain develops depends on the genes you are born with
  • How a brain develops hinges on a complex interplay between the genes you're born with and the experiences you have.
  • The experiences you have before age three have a limited impact on later development.
  • Early experiences have a decisive impact on the architecture of the brain, and on the nature and extent of adult capacities.
  • A secure relationship with a primary caregiver creates a favorable context for early development and learning.
  • Early interactions don't just create a context; they directly affect the way the brain is "wired."
  • Brain development is linear: the brain's capacity to learn and change grows steadily as an infant progresses toward adulthood.
  • Brain development is non-linear: there are prime times for acquiring different kinds of knowledge and skills.
  • A toddler's brain is much less active than the brain of a college student.
  • By the time children reach age three, their brains are twice as active as those of adults. Activity levels drop during adolescence.


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