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Early Experiences Shape Social Development

by Bettye Caldwell
May/June 1998
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/early-experiences-shape-social-development/5012153/

The current professional and public excitement about the role of early experience in the development of the brain may be the best thing that has happened to the field of early childhood in a long time. New research methods and findings are providing a level of validity to the field that might never have occurred otherwise. Anyone who works with young children does so out of the conviction that experiences of this period exert a lasting and pervasive influence on development, even though memory for specific events may be lost with time. It is gratifying to have sophisticated scientists using new methods to look at what is going on inside the brain and relate these internal events to the behavioral changes we can observe.

Methodological Advances

What are some of the newer methods being used to study brain development? They include such procedures as Positron Emission Tomography (PET), as used by Chugani and his colleagues (Chugani, 1994). This somewhat invasive method requires injection of radioactive isotopes and is thus not widely used with children unless they have some kind of clinical condition needing possible remediation. Also it requires children who are awake but can remain still for a considerable period of time, thus ...

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