Positive in that the infant’s brain is open to learning new things and acquiring new skills as well as enriching influences. However, the young brain is prone to developmental problems especially when the environment is un-nurturing or impoverished. Research shows that the environment of an infant’s early years can have effects affecting the infant throughout life.
Muehlenbein, (2010) further says that due to advanced technology, effects relating to early brain development and the environment are now easier to study and understand. Patterns in brain activity that seem to be related to some types of negative early experiences can now be identified by neuroscientists. However, some scholars argue that even before the brain scanning tools allowing this study, some behaviors stemming from early stress, poverty, maltreatment and neglect could be seen even before technology.
The evidence provided by neuroscientists is of essence and should be paid attention to since it is crucial in helping people understand how exactly the environment affects brain development. Such knowledge will help children who are at risk and to reverse where possible the consequences of early adversity. Neuroscientists may also aid in our efforts to learn when experiences affect children. Understanding the patterns of specific periods of vulnerability is a better way of improving efforts towards intervention.
Brain development begins in the first three weeks after a child is conceived. At conception, it is the egg and the sperm that meet forming a single cell that determine the potential of the genes. Over 55% of the genes carry out the work of brain development. Cells in a thin layer develop on the embryo (Brestan & Lee, 2009). The cells merge to form a tube filled with liquid which is the foundation of the brain and the spinal cord. At this stage, the embryo produces neurons also called nerve cells and in the first month, the cells multiply to produce