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What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life Paperback – October 3, 2000


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What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life + The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (October 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553378252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553378252
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

I found this book easy to read and comprehend.
Lori Shaw Jones
In this book, Lise Eliot goes in depth discussing current scientific knowledge about infant and early childhood brain development.
A Customer
I read this book while I was pregnant with my daughter.
Valerie Gokturk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

238 of 243 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 11, 2001
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 By Wixby Bonnet on March 13, 2005
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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174 of 183 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 2001
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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