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Am Psychol. 2001 Jan;56(1):5-15.

Developmental science and the media. Early brain development.

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Department of Psychology, 238 Burnett Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308, USA. or


Media coverage of early brain development not only has focused public attention on early childhood but also has contributed to misunderstanding of developmental neuroscience research. This article critically summarizes current research in developmental neuroscience that is pertinent to the central claims of media accounts of early brain development, including (a) scientific understanding of formative early experiences, (b) whether critical periods are typical for brain development, (c) brain development as a lifelong process, (d) biological hazards to early brain growth, and (e) strengths and limits of current technology in developmental brain research. Recommendations are offered for strengthening the constructive contributions of research scientists and their professional organizations to the accurate and timely coverage of scientific issues in the media.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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