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What's Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life [Kindle Edition]

Lise Eliot
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $20.00
Kindle Price: $13.47
You Save: $6.53 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

As a research neuroscientist, Lise Eliot has made the study of the human brain her life's work. But it wasn't until she was pregnant with her first child that she became intrigued with the study of brain development.

She wanted to know precisely how the baby's brain is formed, and when and how each sense, skill, and cognitive ability is developed. And just as important, she was interested in finding out how her role as a nurturer can affect this complex process. How much of her baby's development is genetically ordained--and how much is determined by environment? Is there anything parents can do to make their babies' brains work better--to help them become smarter, happier people?

Drawing upon the exploding research in this field as well as the stories of real children, What's Going On in There? is a lively and thought-provoking book that charts the brain's development from conception through the critical first five years.

In examining the many factors that play crucial roles in that process, What's Going On in There? explores the evolution of the senses, motor skills, social and emotional behaviors, and mental functions such as attention, language, memory, reasoning, and intelligence. This remarkable book also discusses:

how a baby's brain is "assembled" from scratch
the critical prenatal factors that shapebrain development
how the birthing process itself affects the brain
which forms of stimulation are most effective at promoting cognitive development
how boys' and girls' brains develop differently
how nutrition, stress, and other physical and social factors can permanently affect a child's brain

Brilliantly blending cutting-edge science with a mother's wisdom and insight, What's Going On in There? is an invaluable contribution to the nature versus nurture debate. Children's development is determined both by the genes they are born with and the richness of their early environment. This timely and important book shows parents the innumerable ways in which they can actually help their children grow better brains.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Though not for the impatient, What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life will undoubtedly make you a better parent. It is thick, detailed, and scientific. But it is also accessible to parents who have the time and patience to immerse themselves in the latest research on brain development. And for those who do, the rewards can be great.

You'll understand the inner workings of the brain like never before. You'll learn the latest thinking on the nature vs. nurture question. You'll gain invaluable insights into the evolution of the senses, motor skills, social and emotional growth, memory, language, and intelligence. But most importantly, you'll understand--maybe for the first time--exactly how great your contribution as a parent can be to the development of your young child's brain. Written by Lise Eliot, Ph.D., a neurobiologist and mother of three, What's Going on in There? is an immensely intelligent labor of love. It is based on the author's own "odyssey of discovery" as she sought answers to questions about her own role in carrying, delivering, and parenting her children. --Kelley Smith

From Publishers Weekly

With impressive depth and clarity, Eliot, a neuroscientist and mother of three, offers a comprehensive overview of current scientific knowledge about infant and early childhood brain development. Beginning with a richly detailed yet accessible tour of the growing embryo, she guides the reader through the sensory, motor, emotional and cognitive systems as they develop. She builds up a versatile toolbox of scientific concepts and vocabulary as she goes, outlining entire neuroscientific subfields with remarkable efficiency. Along the way, Eliot presents research results on almost every conceivable topic of interest to the curious parent, from the potential dangers of VHF exposure in utero to sex differences in olfaction after birth (females have a better sense of smell than males), to the fascinating possibility that birth is triggered by a hormonal cascade in the baby's brain. While Eliot does not scruple to offer parenting advice where she finds it appropriate (e.g., she advocates breast-feeding), she meticulously avoids comment on thornier social and ethical issues. Her neutral tone can be disturbing at times, as when she admits positive correlations between socio-economic status and IQ or details Nobel prize-winning research into binocularity that involved sewing kittens' eyes shut at birth, without reference to animal rights objections. Eliot's confidence in the open-minded interest of her readers makes this a good bet for scientifically oriented parents who want to grasp how a child's mind develops. All in all, this is popular science at its best. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
240 of 245 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Subtitled 'How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life' and written by a neuroscientist mother of three, this book benefits as much from its organization as the material it presents. Research, supplemented with anecdotes, is divided into chapters based on sense or function and then detailed chronologically within each section. Chapters include: The Basic Biology of Brain Development; How Birth Affects the Brain; The Importance of Touch; The Early World of Smell; Taste, Milk, and the Origins of Food Preference; Wiring Up the Visual Brain; How Hearing Evolves; Motor Milestones; Social-Emotional Growth; The Experience of Memory; Language and the Developing Brain; How Intelligence Grows in the Brain; Nature, Nurture, and Sex Differences in Intellectual Development; How to Raise a Smarter Child.
This is one of those books you should write in -- underline, highlight, take notes -- because if you are indeed interested in using this information to understand your child's progressive developmental changes, you will be referring to it often. The author presents a lot of research material in accessible language and style, but the book is dense and is not a day-to-day how-to guide. You will not read about colic or how to tell a cold from the flu, but you will learn why your four-month old prefers a little salt in her mashed potatoes or why most of us can't recall anything that happened before we were three-and-a-half years old. Because there is a lot of information, this is not one of the easiest books you will ever read, but it is eminently worthwhile.
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158 of 164 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll briefly mention that like many other reviewers, my book totally fell apart before I even read half of it. But that's not the author's fault.

I had expected this book to be a year-by-year description from birth through age 5 of how a child's mind develops and how parents can nurture that development. I was quite wrong. This book covers a lot of in utero development from conception through about the seventh month of pregnancy and it touches on how long after birth these processes take to refine. The book also devotes a lot of attention to toxins and how they can affect the embryo or fetus. There is a break down of the five senses and how functional they are during pregnancy and infancy. The book reads much like biology and physiology textbooks I had in school. It also sites many studies using rats, monkeys, cats and children. If you are not interested in biology or the related research, you may have a difficult time staying with this book. I do find biology interesting and I had to force myself to read certain sections.

As I mentioned, I expected something far different than what I read in this book. I found about thirty pages of the first sixteen chapters and most of the seventeenth chapter had information that I could apply to the nuturing and development of my child. The book demonstrated that half of a child's IQ is inherited and half can be nutured by getting directly involved with your child and his/her activities. This advice is not just for infants and toddlers. The author suggests staying involved through the teen years too. It also expressed that breastfed babies score about six points higher on IQ tests than babies who are not breastfed. One other interesting point - first born children are smarter than their siblings.
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176 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book and very informative to read November 27, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In this book, Lise Eliot goes in depth discussing current scientific knowledge about infant and early childhood brain development. I found this book very interesting to read. I would recommend this book who is interested or is researching/studying child development or how a child's brain and mind develops in the 1st five years. The book is very well written and quite easy to read. There were some medical terminology I didn't understand so I look it up in a medical book. Some of the many things discussed in this book are:
How the brain is developed
Prenatal risk factors
The special benefits of breast milk for brain development
What newborns can hear
Infant walkers don't help infants walk
How to encourage a baby's motor development
Stress, attachment, and brain development
How the brain store memories?
Language in the 1st eighteen months
The role of genes
The role of environment
The chapters in the book are:
Chapter 1 Nature or Nuture? It's All in the Brain
Chapter 2 The Basic Biology of Brain Development
Chapter 3 Prenatal Influences on the Developing Brain
Chapter 4 How Birth Affects the Brain
Chapter 5 The Importance of Touch
Chapter 6 Why Babies Love to be Bounced: The Precocious Sense of Balance and Motion
Chapter 7 The Early World of Smell
Chapter 8 Taste, Milk, and the Orgins of Food Preference
Chapter 9 Wiring Up the Visual Brain
Chapter 10 How Hearing Evolves
Chapter 11 Motor Milestones
Chapter 12 Social Emotional Growth
Chapter 13 The Emergence of Memory
Chapter 14 Language and the Developing Brain
Chapter 15 How Intelligence Grows in the Brain
Chapter 16 Nature, Nurture, and Sex Differences in Intellectual Development
Chapter 17 How to Raise a Smarter Child
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a good way to make you worry about every
I bought this book to learn about child development. I didn't realize there where chapters on preconception and pregnancy. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Jessica D
4.0 out of 5 stars Learned quite a few things
Learned quite a few things from this that I hope to put into practice one day. I’m glad my sister lent it to me.
Published 11 days ago by Beverly B.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm aware of no other book like it in the English language
This book is unique and extremely valuable for expectant parents, parents, and grandparents of very young children. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Benjamin Zablocki
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really great book. I highly recommend it.
Published 19 days ago by E. F. Winerock
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Quick ship. 3 chapters missing.
Published 1 month ago by Lauren
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
Farly well written in layman's terms, this is a good book to fall asleep to. I actually liked it, but there was a bit too much medical gargon to keep my strict attention. Read more
Published 2 months ago by DJT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
best baby book on market.
Published 2 months ago by S. MATT
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical advice, reassurance, and the best kind of guidance for a...
I bought What's Going On In There as a reference for evolutionary biology. I wanted to know specifically about the evolution of speech. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Graham H. Seibert
5.0 out of 5 stars Best baby book out there
This is such a wonderful book about baby/toddler behavior and development. I feel like a lot of baby books state the obvious or make statements that seem to have no basis in fact... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sobe Gal
5.0 out of 5 stars Title says it all
If you are interested in scientific research into the developing minds of children without reading actual research papers this is the perfect book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by C_Arendt
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More About the Author

Lise Eliot, a graduate of Harvard, received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. The mother of two sons and a daughter, she is also the author of What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life.


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