Babies arrive already connected to other people.
They arrive in the world as persons, already interested in other people’s facial expressions, rhythms and movements. They are able to communicate.
They have brains that automatically read meaning in the actions of other people.
Babies arrive already connected to other people. They arrive in the world as persons, already interested in other people’s facial expressions, rhythms and movements. They are able to communicate.
They have brains that automatically read meaning in the actions of other people. These are some of the insights that we are gaining from sciences like developmental psychology and neuroscience.
We are learning that babies are born as engaged, relational beings.
They don’t develop social skills later on, such as when they begin to talk or become preschoolers. Their social skills are present from birth.
The way that those skills develop will depend on how other people engage with them, and those experiences will shape the neural pathways in their brain.
This is not the vision that we have always held of babies. It wasn’t very long ago that science thought babies’ mental and emotional worlds were a bit of a blur or that babies were rather socially isolated and inward-focused.
Now we know different. connected baby was established to help all of us to think more deeply about the implications of this scientific discovery.
For more insights into rhythm and connection, see our connected baby guides or our longer article on the science of connection.
Go back to The science page.
One of the most important insights that has been learned from neuroscience over the past two decades is that neural development is shaped by relationships.
Human brains are not complete at birth. They are designed to develop after birth.
This is the result of our evolutionary history. Brains do not unfold according to a genetic pattern. They are literally shaped by what happens to a person.
Experiences during the earliest years of life — conception to three years old — are especially important, because this is when brains are developing most rapidly.
This is when brains are laying down neural pathways that will help a person to handle emotions throughout life.
If you cannot handle strong emotions, the official term for which is ‘self-regulate’, then you are likely to engage in impulsive behaviour that can lead to problems in relationships or holding a job, along with all the other elements of having a happy life.
Understanding more about brain development also helps in the treatment of trauma, in creating policies for professions such as social work, midwifery and criminal justice, and certainly relates to the funding decisions that politicians make.
In short, our growing neuroscientific insights hold major implications for a whole range of societal concerns.
For more insights into brain development, see our electronic courses.
Go back to The science page.