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Neuron. 2015 Oct 7;88(1):93-109. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.026.

The Infancy of the Human Brain.

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Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, CEA DSV/I2BM, INSERM, CNRS, Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, NeuroSpin Center, 91191 Gif/Yvette, France. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The human infant brain is the only known machine able to master a natural language and develop explicit, symbolic, and communicable systems of knowledge that deliver rich representations of the external world. With the emergence of noninvasive brain imaging, we now have access to the unique neural machinery underlying these early accomplishments. After describing early cognitive capacities in the domains of language and number, we review recent findings that underline the strong continuity between human infants' and adults' neural architecture, with notably early hemispheric asymmetries and involvement of frontal areas. Studies of the strengths and limitations of early learning, and of brain dynamics in relation to regional maturational stages, promise to yield a better understanding of the sources of human cognitive achievements.

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