Do you know - Brain Edition - brains are built NOT born.
Did you know that the brain has sensitive periods where it is supercharged for certain skill sets?
Sensory pathways peak in the first few months of life, whereas higher cognitive function doesn't develop until much later. Higher cognitive function includes attention, planning, problem-solving, and decision-making.
In the proliferation and pruning process, simpler neural connections form first, followed by more complex circuits. The timing is genetic, but early experiences determine whether the circuits are strong or weak. Source: C.A. Nelson (2000). Credit: Center on the Developing Child
Council for Early Childhood Development (2010)
Did you know, in the first five years of life, more than one million new neural connections are formed every second? This shows the importance of those early years in developing the future brain. Neuroplasticity is a term coined by scientists to describe the brains’ ability to change, modify and adapt. In young children, the brain is the most adaptable, which is why young children can learn new languages and skills with ease. However, as the brain heads towards adulthood, it becomes less "plastic", making it harder to learn new skills. This explains why it’s much harder to learn a language as we get older – the brain is already formed and although possible, it’s harder to achieve.
Did you know that experiences shape the brain? The first five years are crucial because childhood experiences directly impact brain development. An anatomical study of the brains of children who experienced deprivation vs children who were not deprived showed that their brains were physically different. Isn't it crazy that something non-physical (stable environment vs toxic stress environment) creates something physically different.
Brains subjected to toxic stress have underdeveloped neural connections in areas of the brain most important for successful learning and behavior in school and the workplace. Source: Radley et al (2004); Bock et al (2005). Credit: Center on the Developing Child.
For more information, check out the Center of the Developing Child