In this day and age there are many factors that affect the development of America’s youth, many of which were not present as recent as fifty years ago. Perhaps the most prevalent of these factors in today’s society are music and television. Although music has been around for centuries and television for the past sixty or so years, the post modern era has seen a dramatic change in pop culture which has made many Americans, including children, dependant on these two entities. Although the original intent of both music and television was the spread of culture and information, today’s media and pop culture can be very detrimental to the development of children. Despite the fact that musicians such as Beethoven and Bach are seen as geniuses, the music of today can be said to be destroying the foundation which it was built upon. Television, once a source of information and …
How to Keep the Brain Healthy and Functioning Well
Compared to all the beings on the face of the earth, the human being is the only organism with no extraordinarily special qualities, but still, we rule the world because having a, you guessed it right, Brain. That comprehends how important this walnut-like organ in our head is.
The brain has amazing power, most of which is not even fully known by the modern sciences.
The brain is the control centre of all the functions of the body be it voluntary or involuntary. A sound brain, i.e., a healthy brain is what is necessary for a healthy body and a happy life.
If this part of you isn’t well balanced then all of your efforts to get a better lifestyle are going to be all in vain.
The mind is practically divided into three parts, these are conscious, unconscious and subconscious minds. Most of the activities of the brain are …
Bucharest Early Intervention Project
This study compares the development of children living in institutions to the development of formerly institutionalized children now living in Romanian foster homes established by the Network. (Both groups of children are also compared to a group of never-institutionalized Romanian children living with their biological families.) The domains of development studied include brain, behavior, social-emotional development, attachment, cognition, language development, and physical growth. The goals of the study are:
- to examine the effects, across a number of domains, of early social deprivation experienced by young children raised in Romanian institutions
- to determine to what extent an intervention (in this case, placing the child with a foster family) could remediate the negative effects of institutionalization
Three groups of young children are being studied: 66 children raised in institutions and remaining institutionalized, 70 removed from institution and placed in foster homes screened, and trained under the auspices of the Network, and 72 …
Working Group On Public Dissemination And Social Policy
The Network has established a collaboration with the National Research Council Institute of Medicines Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. Together, the two organizations will explore various ways in which they may be able to provide specific audiences (e.g., policy makers, practitioners, educators) with responsible, accurate scientific information needed to make effective decisions about the lives of children.
Working Group On Public Dissemination And Social Policy
The Network has, from its inception, had an interest in the dissemination of responsible scientific information to the public. All too often, science is oversimplified, misunderstood, or misapplied. In an effort to be a broker of reliable science, the Network has established a joint working group with several members of the National Research Council/Institute of Medicine Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. This committee recently published a report, From Neurons to Neighborhoods, which distills many years of research …
Impact on Public Policy: Educating Educators and the Media
The dissemination of our growing knowledge of the importance of the first years of life on brain-behavioral development has recently been extended beyond academia to include the general public. Here the application of this knowledge base to the tasks of child rearing has been facilitated by the proliferation of a diversity of educational materials, including parenting and womens magazines, television and radio talk shows, and a range of popular books authored by respected authorities such as Brazelton, Leach, and Spock.
The positive consequences of this knowledge explosion include greater public awareness of the importance of the early years, and increased interested in integrated, family-centered support services.
The negative consequences include among others the frequent portrayal of this knowledge base in the media as greater than what it in fact is (e.g., despite the fact that we do not know nearly enough about the role of experience in brain development, there …
Frontal EEG Asymmetry
Children (and some non-human primates) who are anxious or who are provoked by highly emotional stimuli show distinctive lateralization of EEG activity in the frontal cortex (that is, there appears to be greater activity on one side of the frontal cortex than the other). This study seeks to determine the brain structures that contribute to this distinctive EEG pattern.
EEG: An electroencephalogram is a record of the activity of large numbers of neurons within the brain region closest to electrodes placed on the surface of the scalp.
FRONTAL EEG ASYMMETRY
Previous EEG (electroencephalogram) studies of behaviorally inhibited children have revealed that these childrens brain activation differs from that of normal, non-inhibited children. Specifically, their right frontal lobes are significantly more active than their left frontal lobes. This study seeks to determine if the activity measured by these EEG studies originates in the frontal lobes, or in other structures involved in …
Influences of Early Life Experiences on Behavior in Japanese Macaques: Modulation of Outcome by Genetic and Social Factors
A pair of small, affiliated studies that emerged from the study on the timing of maternal separation were conducted at the Oregon Health and Science University These studies investigated the role played by early experience in determining later behaviors, by examining the modulation of genetic and social influences on behavior in Japanese macaques.
One relevant early life experience in Japanese macaques is a decrease in maternal attention due to mating season or the birth of a new sibling. Factors that could influence individual differences in behavioral reaction to this experience include temperament, biological disposition (behavioral inhibition, growth hormone responsiveness) and social or environmental factors (dominance rank, social support, infant abuse). In humans, socio-economic status (SES) determines access to resources and influences vulnerability to some illnesses. One study examined whether the same may hold true for dominance rank and Japanese macaques.
The study examined whether temperament predicts response to the birth …
NimStim Face Stimulus Set
The Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development has developed a battery of 646 facial expression stimuli for use in its own and other studies of face and emotion recognition.
Images include the following expressions, displayed by a variety of models of various genders and races: fearful, happy, sad, angry, surprised, calm, neutral, disgusted.
We are in the process of getting validity ratings on these face stimuli. However, preliminary data indicate high agreement amongst children and adult raters (Tottenham, N., Borscheid, A., Ellertsen, K., Marcus, D.J., Nelson, C.A. (April, 2002). Categorization of Facial Expressions in Children and Adults: Establishing a Larger Stimulus Set. Poster presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting, San Francisco). This site will be updated when more data are analyzed.
We are making these stimuli available to the public free of charge. We require registration and acceptance of our terms and conditions to use the …
Comparative Studies of Early Brain-Behavior Relations
A comparative approach to the study of early experience and development is ubiquitous throughout the research initiatives of this network. Of particular relevance to the goals of this initiative are selective rearing studies with animals (rats and monkeys) that parallel the conditions under which young children are raised.
An example of such an undertaking can be found in recent pilot work conducted with Rhesus monkeys by Dr. Judy Cameron (a core group member). Dr. Cameron has separated monkeys from their mothers at four different ages: one week, one month, three months, and six months (this last age is when separation would occur normally). The behavioral repertoire of animals separated at three and six months is normal.
However, animals separated from their mothers at one month show profound behavioral (particularly emotional) deficits. For example, these animals quickly seek out an adult to adopt them, and latch onto this adult. Once adopted, …
Electrophysiological Assessment of Pre-Explicit Memory
Research focusing on the developmental outcome of children who experienced pre- or perinatal brain insult has demonstrated that children who are asymptomatic during the newborn period nevertheless often show cognitive deficits later in life. Behavioral measures of memory and cognitive ability during the infancy period have failed to consistently identify this subpopulation of at-risk infants. We designed two experiments that each reflect operations of the medial temporal robe and reflect pre-explicit memory. In the current protocol, electrophysiological techniques were used to examine the neural processing underlying recognition memory during the first year of life. Infants of diabetic mothers and infants suffering from growth retardation were tested on visual recognition memory paradigms at 6 and 8 months of age. Results suggest that fetal neurologic insults do result in abnormal patterns of electrophysiologic response to familiar and novel stimuli during the first year. (Also see Poster #G09; Neurophysiologic Assessment of Auditory Recognition …