Postnatal Development

Once programmed into the subconscious, verbal abuses (e.g., stupid child) become defined as “truths” that unconsciously shape both the behavior and potential of the child throughout life. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005, pp 160-164)

Early experiences with an emotionally unresponsive or abusive caregiver can inhibit the maturation of the orbitofrontal cortex. This can result in a lifelong limited ability, especially under stress, to regulate the intensity, frequency, and duration of primitive negative states such as rage, terror, and shame. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p 38)

Refer to Trauma and the Brain for additional information.

Parts of the brain of a severely abused and neglected child can be substantially smaller than that of a healthy child. (Brain Connection. Scientific Learning Corporation)

fMRI studies: Young people aged 9-17 processed instructions, procedures and emotions more consistently in the anygdala. Adults aged 20-40 processed the same activities in the frontal lobes. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. NY: Bard Press, 2000, pp 77)

Study: between age 2.5 and age 5, children already showed clear inclinations to be either verbalizers (left hemisphere) or visualizers (right hemisphere). (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 335-336)

Humans are more physically aggressive between the ages of 24 and 30 months than at any other time in their lives. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 194)

Changes in hormone levels (e.g., in response to threat) may become permanent in nervous system. The altered chemical profile may become encoded in the genes and passed on to the new generations, which may become successively more aggressive. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 167-168)

Newborns already have an approach-withdrawal system: they turn toward interesting noises and away from unpleasant events. Some have a strong attraction response to events outside of themselves; others seem self-contained. Both shy and outgoing children seem to stay the same way from birth until at least their eighth birthday. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD. The Roots of the Self. NY: HarperCollins, 1995, pp 5, 39-40)

In order for a child to grow up and express itself at its highest potential, it needs love and approval. (Hay, Louise L. You Can Heal Your Life. CA: Hay House, Inc., 1984, pp 66-67)

Avoid arguing. As a parent, tell your child: We want to hear your opinion but arguing means you have made your point more than two times. Give them options: You can do it now or take a time-out and then do it. It’s up to you. (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. NY:Times Books, 1998, pp 179-180)

The brain needs bonding and attachment to fully grow and learn. Uses the metaphor of a plant and asks: Does the sun grow the plant, or does the plant wait to grow fully until the sun is present? Neurology teaches that without the sun (bonding and attachment) the brain does not grow well. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 75)

When an infant is deprived of early sensitive nurturing (e.g., especially first 2 years of life) the results can be devastating to both emotional and cognitive development (little girls withdraw and boys become violent in an effort to reengage their mothers). Attachment classifications as measured at 12-18 months tend to be predictive of the children’s success in school. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 194-206)

Studies of reactions to laboratory testing in a procedure known as the Strange Situation: the infant is classified as having a secure, avoidant, or anxious / ambivalent working model of attachment. A fourth attachment style has recently been identified called “disorganized.” (Wilson, Timothy D. Strangers to Ourselves. England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002, pp 79-80)

Portions of brain maturation are directly influenced by attachment relationships. Early experiences with an emotionally unresponsive or abusive caregiver can inhibit maturation; and can lead to a lifelong limited ability, especially under stress, to regulate the intensity, frequency, and duration of primitive negative states such as rage, terror, and shame. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p 38)

The reticular formation (e.g., plays a role in maintaining attention), usually only becomes fully myelinated at or after puberty, which is why prepubescent children have a short attention span. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 20)

Differences in human behavior depend on the interaction between hormones and the brain. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 38, 68-70)

The spinal cord and brain stem are almost completely formed and functional. (Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD, and Sharon Begley. The Mind & the Brain. NY:Regan Books, 2002, pp 113-115)

Knowledge regarding brain development during the first two years of life has been quite limited. MRI study results released in late 2008 has shown that development during this period of time is extremely dynamic, driven mainly by gray matter growth. In contrast, white matter growth was much slower. Not surprisingly, life experiences during this period impact brain development and, according to the researchers, may also play a role in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and schizophrenia. (Source)

Babies clearly have diverse mental abilities from birth. (Ornstein, Robert. Multimind. NY: Doubleday, 1986, p 17)

The two cerebral hemispheres contain more than half of all the brain cells. Each hemisphere is covered by a wrinkled surface area called the cortex. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p Xv)

Today the exponential growth in knowledge in the neurosciences and biological sciences has shown how brain development in the early years can set trajectories that affect health (physical and mental), learning and behaviour for life. The new understanding about early child development and its effect on human development has profound and exponential implications. (Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Investing in the Early Years: Closing the gap between what we know and what we do. 2008. p. 10.)

If a male fetus is not exposed to appropriate pre-birth hormones, his brain is likely to remain more typically female; if a female fetus is exposed to a male-pattern hormonal sequence, she is likely to be more typically masculine. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 21)

The sensory areas of the brain tend to mature during early childhood, the limbic system by puberty, and the frontal lobes somewhere between 16-18 years of age. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD. Emotional Intelligence. NY: Bantam Books, 1995, pp 226-228)

Adolescents and young adults have brains that are not “finished” yet (e.g., still myelinating) by adult standards. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 121-123)

The infant’s ability to learn to regulate physical and emotional feelings, particular during the first year of life, can be negatively impacted if parents are depressed, mentally ill, or unavailable. The baby of a depressed mother learns diminished expectations of attention and comfort from others. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p 117)

The brain is about 2% of total body weight. It consumes 25% of metabolic energy and 40% of blood glucose as food. During the first year of life, infants spend 50% of their metabolic energy to construct and refine brain mechanisms. Brain function can be seriously impaired if the slightest mistake occurs in these processes. (Fisher, Helen. Why We Love. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004, pp 140-141)

Brain function can be seriously impaired if mistakes occur in the construction and refining of brain mechanisms during first year of life. (Fisher, Helen. Why We Love. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004, pp 140-141)

The brain stem (regulates basic functions like heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure) grows before the mid-brain (controls sleep, appetite, and arousal). This is followed by the limbic area (center of emotional activity) and the cortex (rational and analytical processes). (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 159-160)

Study: Children between the ages of 2.5 and 5 years already showed clear inclinations to be either verbalizers or visualizers. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, p 335)

Brain scanning techniques are showing just how precisely it is possible to pin down even the most sophisticated and complex functions and activities of the human brain. These include PET, MRI, fMRI, NIRS, EEG, SPECT, and MEG. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, pp 25-27)

Humans possess five different brain or neural structures: four in the head (reptilian, mammalian, neocortex, pre-frontal cortex) and one in the heart (functions outside conscious awareness). (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. VT: Park Street Press, 2002, pp 2-4)

The infant brain is not born as a blank slate. During gestation the infants have made up their minds in the womb in a variety of different ways. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, p 20)

Experience transmitted to the brain in early life by the sensing pathways is key for the development of the architecture and function of the brain. Experience in the early years:

  • affects gene expression and the function of sensing neurons and the development of neural pathways
  • shapes emotion and regulates temperament and social development
  • shapes language and literacy capability, and perceptual and cognitive ability
  • shapes how we cope with our daily experiences
  • shapes physical and mental health in adult life, and physical activity and performance (e.g. skiing, swimming).

(Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Investing in the Early Years: Closing the gap between what we know and what we do. 2008. p. 12.)

Early experiences (nurture) in early life affects gene expression, neural pathways, and brain function. This shapes:

  • Temperament and social development
  • Language and literacy capability
  • Perceptual and cognitive ability
  • How we cope with our daily experiences
  • Physical and mental health and behaviour and addiction in adult life
  • Physical activity and performance (e. g., skiing, skating, swimming)

(Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Early Childhood Development: How does experience in early life affect brain development? 2008. p. 15.)

Breastfed babies have an IQ edge over their formula-fed peers. There are also a host of immune-system boosts that a baby receives when breastfed. Breast milk has been found to contain stem cells. (Hartley, Jo. Stem Cells Discovered in Human Breast Milk)

Breast milk contains omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., brain-building DHA), depending on the mother’s diet. Breast-fed babies. Studies: breast-fed infants have more DHA in the brain cortex than formula-fed infants, have higher developmental scores, and higher IQ scores on standard tests later in life. Breast feeding may make a difference in your baby’s brain. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, pp 99-100, 286)

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center studies: IQs of breast-fed babies are higher than that of formula-fed babies. The nutritional benefits of breast-feeding are associated with at least a 3.2 IQ point difference in cognitive development – after adjustment for key factors, such as the mother's age and intelligence, birth order, race, birth weight, gestational age, and socioeconomic status. This is in addition to a 2.1 point increase associated with maternal bonding. (Franklin Institute. The Human Brain. 2004)

Epigenetic plasticity can lead to an array of chronic diseases in older age if adverse nutritional and environmental circumstances are present during fetal and neonatal periods of development. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005, pp 158-159)

The child’s desire to communicate and attitude toward life can be influenced by extended separations from the mother early in life (e.g., adoption, illness). (Tomatis, Alfred A, M.D., by Editor Timothy M. Gilmore, PhD, et al. About the Tomatis Method. Canada: Listening Centre Press, 1989, pp 20-24)

Refer to Brain-Body Connection for additional information.

The brain structure carries on developing after birth...up until the age of three new connections are being formed, new cell networks emerging...the brain requires the right type of stimulation to promote these growing strands of brain skills such as speech and language. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 53-55)

A baby’s brain is nearly as smooth as its bottom because it has not experienced much learning. By the time humans are 6 years old, their brains have reached 90% of their total size. Since brain mass increases but skull size is static, folds develop in the brain’s surface and entire surface of the brain becomes more enfolded (wrinkled). (Wonder, Jacquelyn, and Priscilla Donovan. Whole Brain Thinking. NY: Ballantine Books, 1984, p 5)

Select any of the difficulties associate with adolescence (impulsiveness, erratic mood swings, rebellion against authority, poor judgment, et cetera) and you’ll find that those difficulties are the result of immaturity in the prefrontal cortex. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p Xv)

Dr. Michael Phelps, who co-invented the brain-imaging technique called the PET scan, was quote by Diane Sawyer as saying, “The development years are not just a chance to educate, they’re actually your obligation to form a brain and if you miss these opportunities then, you’ve missed them—forever.” (Conversations with brain researchers.)

Both parents teach boy babies to perform rather than cry by picking up the male less frequently than the female infant when he cries. The result? By the age of 13 months, boys who are picked up less are already more likely to “tough it out” and refrain from crying. (Farrell, Warren, PhD. Why Men Are the Way They Are. NY: Berkley Book, 1988, pp 113-350)

Male infants are cuddled less than female, although both boys and girls need the cuddling. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, pp 50-51)

Portions of the brain related to independent capabilities tend not to develop when children are not permitted to make decisions, or are punished when they attempt to do so. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: A Dutton Book 1998, pp 128-129)

Parents who are depressed, mentally ill, retarded, or otherwise unavailable can have a profound effect on the infant’s ability to learn to regulate physical and emotional feelings, particular during the first year of life. The baby of a depressed mother learns…diminished expectations of attention and comfort from others. Babies generalize the behavior mirrored from the depressed mother to strangers. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p 117)

“No mind should have to beg to differ.” (Levine, Mel, MD. A Mind at a Time. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002, p 336)

Chronic overactivation of neurochemical responses in the brain to threat in the brain (particularly in the earliest years of life) can result in lifelong states of either dissociation or hyperarousal (refer to hyperarousal). (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 167-168)

Study: of children in Dominican Republic who appear to be female at birth, are raised as females, and then develop male genitalia at puberty and start functioning as males. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, pp 95-103)

Refer to Downshifting and the Brain for additional information.

The EDI assesses five development domains. These assessments are macro indicators for population based assessments of brain development, not diagnostic indicators for the development of individual children.

  • Physical health and wellbeing - a measure of brain development in connection with how it affects physical health, physical activity, coordination and wellbeing. Above the 90th percentile, a child is physically ready to tackle a new day at school, is generally independent, and has excellent motor skills. Below the 10th percentile, a child has inadequate fine and gross motor skills, is sometimes tired or hungry, usually clumsy, and may have flagging energy levels.
  • Social competence - Above the 90th percentile, a child never has a problem getting along, working, or playing with other children; is respectful to adults, self confident, has no difficulty following class routines, and is capable of pro-social behaviour. Below the 10th percentile, a child has poor overall social skills and exhibits regular serious problems in more than one area: getting along with other children; accepting responsibility for their own actions; following rules and class routines; and showing respect for adults, children, and others’ property. He or she lacks self confidence and self control, finds it difficult to adjust to change, and is usually unable to work independently.
  • Emotional maturity - Above the 90th percentile, a child almost never shows aggressive, anxious or impulsive behaviour, has good ability to concentrate, and is often helpful to other children. Below the 10th percentile, a child has regular problems managing aggressive behaviour, is prone to disobedience, and/or is easily distractible, inattentive, impulsive, usually unable to show helping behaviour towards other children, and is sometimes upset when left by the caregiver.
  • Language and cognitive development - Above the 90th percentile, a child is interested in books, reading and writing, rudimentary mathematics, is capable of reading and writing simple sentences and complex words, and is able to count and recognise numbers and geometric shapes. Below the 10th percentile, a child has problems in both reading/writing and numeracy, is unable to read and write simple words; is not interested in trying, is often unable to attach sounds to letters, has difficulty remembering things, counting to 20, recognising and comparing numbers, and is usually not interested in numbers.
  • Communication skills and general knowledge - Above the 90th percentile, a child has excellent communication skills, can tell a story and communicate with both children and adults, and has no problems with articulation. Below the 10th percentile, a child has poor communication skills and articulation, limited command of language, has difficulty talking to others, problems understanding and being understood, and has poor general knowledge.

(Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Early Childhood Development: How does experience in early life affect brain development? 2008. p. 20-21.)

Because brain development in the period before formal education sets a child’s capability to take part in formal education, the university faculties of education should ensure a sharing of this understanding by introducing new knowledge about experience-based brain development for all students for primary and secondary education programs. (Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Investing in the Early Years: Closing the gap between what we know and what we do, 2008.)

Parents who are depressed, mentally ill, retarded, or otherwise unavailable can have a profound effect on the infant’s ability to learn to regulate physical and emotional feelings, particular during the first year of life. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p 117)

Brain parts that process emotion grow relatively early, and a very sensitive to parental handling and feedback. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: A Dutton Book 1998, pp 124-126)

The development of a child’s emotional circuitry is impacted by the emotional environment he/she is exposed to, especially in the early years of life. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. CA: Harper SF, 1999, pp 228-230)

Refer to Emotions for additional information.

During the first year of life, infants spend 50% of their metabolic energy to construct and refine brain mechanisms. (Fisher, Helen. Why We Love. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004, pp 140-141)

Refer to Energy and the Brain for additional information.

Environmental influences comes in two forms: shared and nonshared (e.g., shared = mother played the piano for all children, nonshared = mother no longer played tennis after children were born). Nonshared influence is second in influence after genetics, with shared influence accounting for very little. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000, p 32)

Refer to Cellular Memory for additional information.

The study of the molecular mechanisms by which environment controls gene activity. Meaning “control above genetics,” epigenetic research has established that a variety of environmental influences (e.g., nutrition, stress, emotions) can modify genes without changing their basic blueprint and this can be passed on to future generations. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005, pp 67-68)

Brains evolve gradually over a lifetime—good news for parents. During the first years the infant brain develops very quickly: language, cognition, perception, and the major behavioral systems are put into place, but it is the fine-tuning of these systems throughout life that ultimately accounts for who a person is. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p Ix)

See Plasticity (below).

Experience provides the basis for the formation of the connections and the transformation of those connections into circuits. Change the experience and you change the brain. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p Xiii)

For enrichment (environmental) effects to work, the animal must actively explore the environment, not simply passively watch it. These brain alterations are no matter of tinkering. Many billions of synapses can be made or lost this way, a capacity that lasts to some extent across the life span. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 236)

Within minutes of birth the newborn is able to imitate facial expressions. By just six weeks after birth, the newborn returns the caregivers smile—the first sign of a positive social emotion, called positive affect by psychologists. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 173)

Humans possess an innate predisposition to look at faces. Primitive brain regions are involved initially, while regions in the temporal cortex become more specialized throughout the first year of life. (Shreeve, James. Beyond the Brain. National Geographic, Vol. 207, No. 3, March, 2005, pp 22-23)

By six months of age infants can distinguish new faces from previously encountered faces as well as adults. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, pp 12-13)

Interactions among brain systems can be interfered with when there is incomplete development of the reptilian and emotional brain layers—which results, then, in a failure to develop neocortical functions appropriately. (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. VT: Park Street Press, 2002, pp 30-32)

Refer to Nutrition and the Brain for additional information.

Refer to Brain Function for additional information.

The frontal area of the brain appears to be fully mature around age thirty. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. NY: Bard Press, 2000, p. 77)

The frontal lobes first kick in at about six months, bringing the first glimmerings of cognition. By the age of one they are gaining control over the drives of the limbic system—if you offer two toys to a child of this age, they will make a choice rather than try to grab both. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 22)

In boys the frontal lobes of the brain mature more slowly than in girls. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, pp 50-51)

Individuals are born into a garden that is capable of growing many different kinds of plants. Based on soil composition (genetics), the garden may grow some plants more successfully than others. The “life experience” of the garden (e.g., weather, care received) begins to select which plants take root, which are cultivated, and which are ignored. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD. The Roots of the Self. NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 1995, p 9)

A gestational hormonal wash creates many of the differences seen (e.g., boys are superior at spatial tasks, girls are superior at speech). If a male fetus does not get the appropriate pre-birth wash, his brain is likely to remain more typically female; if a female fetus gets exposed to a male-pattern hormonal wash, she is likely to be more typically masculine. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 21)

Refer to Children and the Brain for additional information.

Genes affect individual behavior by making proteins that shape the basic wiring plan and synaptic arrangement of the brain. Thus, people (and animals) can have very similar brains and yet be so different, right from the start of their lives. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p 4)

Sometimes both male and female genitals are present in the body of a genetic male at birth. Sometimes the male appears female at birth and male genitals appear at puberty. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 171-172)

New challenges throughout life can spur new brain cell growth as the brain responds to the demands laced on it. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 41)

A full 50% of baby’s brain growth has occurred by six months of age; 70% by 12 months. Any stimulation provided during the first 12 months has more impact on the brain’s growth than at any other time in the baby’s future life. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. NY: Bantam Books, 1985, p 4)

The first signs of handedness can be seen at 15 weeks’ gestation when most babies start to show a distinct preference for sucking their right thumbs. Handedness is well established by the time a baby is born. More than 90% of people in the world are right-handed. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, pp 46-47)

In order for the powers of the heart to develop it must, like the brain, be nurtured and be given role-modeling, otherwise the powers of the heart may be dormant for life. (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. VT: Park Street Press, 2002, pp 52-54)

They develop at different rates: right hemisphere develops more rapidly in the first few years of life, and then the left hemisphere becomes more dominant in terms of development. (Siegel, Daniel J., MD. The Developing Mind. NY: The Guilford Press, 1999, pp 193-194)

The right hemisphere has relatively more white (myelinated) matter, while the left has more gray. The axons in the right brain are longer than in the left and connect neurons that are, on average, further away from one another. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 38)

Hemispheric specialization is most likely present from birth, although actual development is shaped by demands and input to the brain. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 136-138)

This term relates to a person’s preferred way of processing information when there is a choice of strategy to be used. Although both hemispheres are working, one may set the tone. People vary in their ability to activate the appropriate hemisphere for differing demands. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, pp 136-137)

The basic portions of the brain develop in sequence beginning with the brain stem that controls basic and essential functions required to sustain life (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature). Next to develop is the midbrain that controls appetite and sleep. Then the limbic brain, seat of emotion and impulse. And finally, the cortex where logic, planning, and cognition—executive functions—occur. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 32-33)

Most homosexual orientation develops during gestation. Patterns tend to be firmly in place by age 5. Discusses lack of success of change therapies (e.g., push bisexuals to confine behaviors to opposite sex only, or enforce celibacy, or push the individuals to attempt suicide). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 171-186. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

The trauma of growing up gay in a world that is run primarily by straight men is deeply wounding in a unique and profound way. Straight men have other issues and struggles that are no less wounding, but they are quite different from those of a gay man. (Downs, Alan, PhD. The Velvet Rage. Overcoming the Pain of Growing up Gay in a Straight Man’s World. p 5-6. NY: Da Capo Press, 2005. 2006.)

Refer to Sexual Orientation and the Brain for additional information.

If a male fetus does not get the appropriate pre-birth hormone treatment, his brain is likely to remain more typically female; if a female fetus gets exposed to a male-pattern hormonal sequence, she is likely to be more typically masculine. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 21)

Hormones are mind chemicals that act on the brain and tell the brain to change the body. They have a dual effect: during gestation the hormones control the way the neural networks are laid out; at puberty they will revisit the brain to switch on the network they earlier created. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 38, 68-70)

The mechanism by which simple, physical hunger is generated and satisfied centers on the hypothalamus. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 64)

In hyperarousal, overdevelopment of the stress response systems in the brainstem and mid-brain alters the development of higher cortical functions, creating a predisposition to act aggressively, impulsively, and reactively. The oversecretion of cortisol is believed to actually destroy synapses in some parts of the brain, particularly in the orbitofrontal system, an area involved in reading emotional responses in other people. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 167-168)

During first few days of life an infant can imitate actions or facial gestures of adults (e.g., stick out tongue in copying of adult). By 18 months can imitate and completed observed human actions (e.g., pulling apart a toy dumbbell) but will ignore the same actions if carried out by a mechanical device. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, pp 34-35)

Myelination of the frontal lobes is incomplete until full adulthood. This may be one reason that younger adults are more emotional and impulsive than those who are older. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 20)

Mental flexibility is the hallmark of intelligence. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 137)

Studies: Breast feeding may make a difference in the baby’s brain. Breast-fed infants showed higher developmental and intelligence scores on standard tests later in life. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, pp 99-100, 286)

Breastfed babies have an IQ edge over their formula-fed peers. There are also a host of immune-system boosts that a baby receives when breastfed. Breast milk has been found to contain stem cells. (Hartley, Jo. Stem Cells Discovered in Human Breast Milk)

Norwegian researchers tested 345 children at the ages of 13 months and five years. The children who had been breastfed for less than three months were more likely to score below average on mental skills at 13 months, compared to the children breastfed for six months or longer. And at age five, this longer breastfed group averaged eight points higher in IQ. (Franklin Institute. The Human Brain.)

Infants exposed to two languages (e.g., Japanese and English) in the first seven to eight months of life will easily develop the neuron functions that can differentiate the sounds of the two languages. This sets a base for fluent mastery of both languages without an accent later in development. Individuals who develop capability for two languages early in life have a larger left temporal hemisphere of the brain than do individuals with monolingual backgrounds. This may be, in part, an explanation of why those individuals can also more easily master other languages later in life. (Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Early Childhood Development: How does experience in early life affect brain development? 2008. p. 12.)

Unimpaired human beings are born with the brain capacity for learning any language in the world. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, pp 10-11)

At birth the brain is capable of distinguishing the sound units, or phonemes, of all human languages. During the first six months of life of exposure to language, the tunes itself to recognize the phonemes that are present in its native language, discarding those that aren’t. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 42)

The language areas become active about eighteen months after birth. The one that confers understanding (Wernicke’s area) matures before the one that produces speech (Broca’s area), so there is a short time when toddlers understand more than they can say—a frustrating condition that probably does much to fuel the tantrums that typify the “terrible twos.” (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 20)

During first few weeks of life a babbling baby utters almost every sound of every known language. Later, as child master a single language, the ability to make some sounds vanish. This is an example of pruning. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998, p 21)

Babies who learn two languages at the same time have a single brain region for both languages. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, p 249)

By 12 months infants have discovered the sounds (phonemes) used to convey meaning in their native language. After this time they lose the ability to distinguish non-native speech contrasts. Language understanding becomes lateralized to the left hemisphere by the age of two. (Greenfield, Susan, Con. Ed. Brain Power. Great Britain: Element books Limited, 1999, pp 53, 163)

The male brain is wired differently from female brain. Language is a more difficult skill for boys to acquire and use effectively in learning than it is for girls. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 110)

About the same time as the language areas become active, myelinization begins in the prefrontal lobes. The reticular formation (e.g., maintaining attention), usually only becomes fully myelinated at or after puberty, which is why prepubescent children have a short attention span. The frontal lobes do not become fully myelinated until full adulthood (e.g., younger adults are more emotional and impulsive than older individuals). (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 20)

Laughter appears to be modeled by the mother during the first year and stabilizes in the infant by the second year. (Martin, Rod A. White Papers. Do Children Laugh Much More Often than Adults Do?)

Laughter in infants occurs about a month after smiling. May be observed as early as 5-9 weeks of age. By 4 months it is firmly in place. (Rose, Kenneth Jon. The Body in Time. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1988, pp 150-152)

Studies: babies under age 1 were 15 times more like to laugh if tickled by their mothers than by strangers. Babies must feel safe in order to laugh. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001, pp 133-149)

Laughter emerges early in human development, being reliably elicited through tickling by about 4 months of age (Sroufe & Waters, 1976). Children born both deaf and blind also laugh at roughly the same age (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1989), indicating that this signal is deeply rooted in human biology (Deacon, 1989). (Bachorowsk, Jo-Anne I, PhD, and Michael J. Owren, PhD. Laughing Matters. Psychological Science Agenda, Volume 18: No. 9, September 2004.)

By about age 12 months a child begins to laugh at unusual or inappropriate adult behavior (e.g., funny faces, walking on all fours). By age two they begin to create their own juxtapositions and laugh at incongruities. (Branson, Roy, PhD. The Sacredness of Laughter. WA: Spectrum, Vol. 26, No. 4, January 1998, pp 45-46)

Louis Franzini, PhD, author of Kids Who Laugh: How to Develop Your Child's Sense of Humor: laughter is critical to a child’s development. It plays an important role in stress diffusion, developing self-esteem, learning to problem solve, and honing social skills. (Abedon, Emily Pearlman. Why Laughter Is a Sign of Learning.)

Refer to Laughter – Humor and the Brain for additional information.

The brain is most teachable during periods of high myelin and dendritic growth such as: 3-10 months, 2-4 years, 6-8 years, 10-12 Years (more girls), 14-16 years (more boys). (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 86-88)

Refer to Learning and the Brain for Additional information.

Studies: About 10% of people are left-handed, 20% of twins. Left-handers tend to die about 9 years sooner than right-handers. Left-handedness has been linked to a variety of physical abnormalities, most of which can be traced to development or immune system dysfunction (e.g., asthma, bowel and thyroid complaints, myopia, dyslexia, migraine, stuttering, and allergies). (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, pp 46-47)

Studies: Male brain tends to use left side for verbal abilities, the right side for visual (more specialized). The female brain tends to use both sides (more generalized). The more female the brain, the more diffused the brain functions. Males who were exposed to below average amounts of male hormone in the womb were found to have a female pattern in the distribution of their skill functions in the brain. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991, pp 42-44)

The underlying processes (that would support the suggested behavioral modifications) depend on the maturation of the brain. And this changes across the developmental spectrum from infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood to old age. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. DC: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, pp xi-xii)

Specific areas of the brain can require many years to mature. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 23)

The development of the brain takes far longer than originally believed. Studies: every region of the cortex continues to grow larger throughout childhood. Even differences in the richness of one’s environment can mean the addition or loss of billions of synapses. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, pp 47-48)

The frontal cortex does not fully develop until sometime in the early twenties. Parents and teachers need to be more patient with teenagers. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. NY: Scribner, 1997, p 288)

Motor and sensory centers are almost fully developed in early childhood. Prefrontal lobes aren’t fully mature until the 20’s or later. In short, Immaturity of adolescent behavior matches immaturity of the adolescent’s brain. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p 76)

Girls’ brains mature earlier than boys’. Myelination continues in all brains into the early twenties, but in young women it is complete earlier than in young men. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 19-27)

The brain can be used only to the extent that it has become organized. This occurs gradually over approximately a 20-year period. (Hart, Leslie A. Human Brain and Human Learning. NY: Longman Inc, 1983, p 118)

The human brain reaches its full size by the age of five (although it is not fully wired by the end of childhood). Areas important in emotions (the limbic areas) mature earlier than those involved in judgment, organization and reasoning. Indeed, this discrepancy between expressing feeling and thoughtful evaluation accounts for many of the teen behaviors that so dismay parents and teachers. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p 71)

Brain scan studies have shown that adolescents have diminished brain capacity (compared to adults) due to the fact that their brains are not fully developed, particular in the frontal lobes that are crucial to reasoning skills. (Lynch, Zack, PhD., with Byron Laursen. The Neuro Revolution, p. 44-45. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.)

Typically, children are about three and a half years old when they acquire autobiographical memories. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 141)

Infants have the ability to remember things implicitly (nonconsciously) at birth or even before (in utero), whereas the ability to remember things explicitly (consciously) does not begin to develop until the end of the first year of life. Further, the parts of the brain that appear to be involved in explicit memory develop later in childhood than the parts of the brain that are involve in implicit memory. (Wilson, Timothy D. Strangers to Ourselves. England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002, pp 56-57)

Refer to Memory and the Brain for additional information.

The first part of the body to become sensitive to touch is the mouth. (Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD, and Sharon Begley. The Mind & the Brain. NY: Regan Books, 2002, p 114)

Refer to Neurons and Glial Cells for additional information.

Synapses are part of the operations of both nature and nurture. They are two different ways of shaping the brain, both using synapse development. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p 5)

We have only one “self,” but it is one that, like a chameleon, takes on the emotional colors of the history and environment in which it has existed. (McGraw, Phillip C., PhD. Self Matters. NY: Simon & Schuster Source, 2001, p 24)

The debate is no longer about whether nature or nurture is the fount of knowledge, but the extent to which each contributes to the human condition and how they work together to create a unique individual. (Greenfield, Susan, Con. Ed. Brain Power. Great Britain: Element books Limited, 1999, p 22)

In genetics there is a growing realization that the connection between most genes and behavior is enormously complex. The connection between genes and the brain underlies our every thought, feeling, and action. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 16)

Studies of male fetus: a hormonal wash physically alters the male fetus’s brain and masculinizes it to produce male sexual behavior. It also creates many of the typical differences seen between the sexes, like girls’ superiority at speech and boys’ at spatial tasks. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 21)

Studies by Randy Jirtle, PhD. We can no longer argue whether genes or environment has a greater impact on our health and development, because both are inextricably linked. ('Epigenetics' Means What We Eat, How We Live And Love, Alters How Our Genes Behave.)

Who you become depends not just on your genes and your environment in the womb, but equally on your experiences during childhood. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 195)

Nature-nurture is likely a 50-50 ratio: half the variation in behavior is due to genetics and half to environmental influence. Environment can create dispositions only when a genetic basis exists (see environmental influences). (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000, pp 32-35)

Refer to Trauma and the Brain for additional information

Refer to Neurons and Glial Cells for additional information.

Unaware parents may try to force a child into behaving in a way that is opposite to his/her innate nature—if they don’t understand that there can be innate temperament differences, or if they value one temperament over another. This can result in neurosis. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. NY: HarperPaperbacks, 1993, pp 125-130)

Studies suggest that the use of nicotine during teenage years, while the brain is still developing, may change the brain in ways that facilitate the addiction process. Early exposure to nicotine may also heighten response to other addictive drugs. (National Institute on Drug Abuse. Early Nicotine Initiation Increases Severity of Addiction. NIDA NOTES, July, 2004, Vol. 19, No. 2, p 9.) (Refer to website)

Encountering novelty initiates a sweeping cascade of brain events, causing a flurry of activity that could result in new connections between concurrently active neurons. Even the most stimulating environment can eventually require little more than a reflex response in the absence of new challenges (e.g., learning to play a new game). Novelty keeps the brain challenged. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p 245)

The nutritional requirements of the developing brain are complex and only the basics are understood. (Mattson, Mark p., PhD. Diet-Brain Connections: Impact on Memory, Mood, Aging and Disease. NY: Springer, 2002, Summary)

The orbitofrontal cortex acts a central control center over both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which generate the bodily components of emotional behavior. Early experiences with an emotionally unresponsive or abusive caregiver can inhibit the maturation of this system. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p 38)

Children from orphanages more behavioral and psychological problems and test out lower on intelligence tests than children not raised in orphanages. There can be a great deal of sun in the orphanage, but on average not as much as in a biological home. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p 75)

Produced in the hypothalamus, ovaries, and testes, this hormone is released during the birthing process and stimulates bonding between a mother and her infant. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. NY: Random House, 1999, pp 86-90)

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