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

Lise Eliot
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 3 2000
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.

Frequently Bought Together

What's Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life + Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less + NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
Price For All Three: CDN$ 41.60

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Product Description

From Amazon

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 the Hardcover edition.

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 the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Parenting Book May 20 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is for the parent who wants to know all the "Whys." I have identical twins, so it is very interesting to me to see why their personalities might be different. Identical twins are used in many experiments, so I found this book especially interesting. My mother-in-law is also a pschologist and did many "experiements" with my husband (wish they had video cameras back then -- would have been neat to see). :) My husband and I have always been fascinated with child development since our children were born. This answered all our questions!
It is a very technical, detailed book, but it is not too far over an average parent's head to get something out of it. I did find myself skipping over some of the parts that got bogged down in details (I just want to get to the point sometimes), but I would get the main idea. My husband and I found this book while searching for a more scientific book on brain development. We were watching a series on TLC that showed different experiements done with children and when children acquire specific skills and why. We tried finding it again without success, so we searched for a book instead. You can find tons of books that tell you when your child should do what, but they don't tell why and what is really going on in their heads. This book will explain all that!! You will even learn things like why toddlers should drink whole milk until the age of 2! It is broken up into the different senses as well as being chronological, which I found really easy to follow.
This will definitely make you a better parent. As an educator myself, I find it fascinating just to have the knowledge, and I feel it is important for all parents to have this knowledge.
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4.0 out of 5 stars happy cistomer March 23 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
item delivered on time. Item is excellent. The product was just as we expected it to be based on the product description. This book was very interesting - it gave me a different view on baby development stages, and a snippet view on what a miracle babies are!
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5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!!! Feb. 17 2014
By Kajela
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I do not write reviews, but I had to for this book ... it is just too good and the world need to know this! I simply cannot put this book down ... it is so unbelievably fascinating, with so many useful practical tips that you can put into practice immediately to help your baby's mind develop to its greatest potential!!!

If you only read one baby book read this one!! I promise you will not regret it!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing resource May 5 2013
Format:Paperback
Scientific yet accessible, full of detailed information about developmental but a much lighter, more engaging read than lots of the dense developmental text out there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for new moms yet Aug. 10 2012
By scarlet
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I picked up this book simply because it had 46 amazing reviews. I feel that I owe it to everyone to come back here and also add that I give the book 5 stars as well! I'm so thankful I found this book!

I'm extremely interested in what the research says about babies brains and as a mother to be (3 months pregnant) I really want to give my baby the best possible start in life. I feel like "What's Going on in There" has given me the background I need to feel confident that I am going to be capable of meeting all of my babies' needs.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
logical survey of what happens in the baby's brain for the 1st five years. Instead the book is organized by the five senses and ends with chapters on memory, intelligence. It also has a lot of info on the trauma that can occur in a baby's brain from vaginal births as well as some other material, that while interesting, doesn't seem to fit the title of the book. I expected to find enough info to decide when I would teach my child math, foreign languages, etc. In addition, I found two elements of the book disturbing enough to be distracting: the author brought her baby into her biology lab while she was actively conducting experiments (this can't be safe for a newborn or even legal in this country) and she cites several horrifically cruel neural studies where kittens had their eyes sutured shut. There's even a picture of a baby with a cranial hematoma and one of a baby wearing an electrode cap. I guess scientists have a much thicker skin for this sort of thing than you or me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book before your child is born Jan. 9 2002
By Nik
Format:Paperback
It is a very comprehensive book. No doubt about it.
But now imagine that you have one-week-old baby that requires your attention
and these 544 pages of medical information about how neurons grow, and axons connect
and how "this" works that you can't even repeat without looking at it again.
This book has a lot of information. And this is a good book in this sense.
But I got bogged down in it. I simply didn't have time to make use of it.
I wanted a book, which would tell me "what" should be done
and a short and clear explanation "why".
So I believe this book has probably 30-40% more information than you actually need.
Or my advice is - read the book BEFORE you had a child.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the only parenting book I've used Jan. 29 2004
Format:Paperback
I've browsed through other parenting books written by "parenting experts", but a quick glance always let me know that their claims were dubious and didn't pertain to all the different kinds of children out there. This book does not try to tell you how to act as a parent, instead it tells you what is physiologically going on inside their bodies and brains so that you can figure it out for yourself.
For example, when my son was around 1 1/2 I recognized that he was going through a verbal growth phenomenon (that every child experiences) refered to as "fast mapping" in the book. Children at this age have the most extraordinary ability to understand new words through context at a mind boggling rate. The author described it as something that no supercomputer array in the world is able to do as fast as a toddler. Since his brain might never again be that willing to absorb new data I decided to try to teach him as much as I could easily. He became potty trained at 18 mo. By 21 mo. he was able to recognize the uppercase and lowercase alphabet. By 27 mo he knew all the states, capitals, planets, and many dinosaurs and presidents. His learning frenzy slowed down by the time he was 2 1/2, but now at almost 3 1/2 he does have the ability to read at a 1st grade level.
But it's not just in academic areas that this book is beneficial. It also imparts the research done in behavioral areas. I learned how beneficial constant interaction and affection has on children's behavior, and so adopted that approach. It also gave examples about the benefit of positive reinforcement, consistant discipline, and logical consequences. We have found these preemptive actions on our part has led to a relatively easy introduction into parenting.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This is a great resource for parents (and parents-to-be) wanting to understand the development of a baby's brain and how it affects behaviour, physical development, first... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2010 by Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Still reading it but so far I love this book. Lots of valuable information for moms-to-be and what happens in utero in terms of neurological development. Read more
Published on June 21 2010 by Mom Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Excellent, A MUST Read
If you are pregnant or thinking about starting a family I definitely recommend that you buy What's Going on in There? by Lise Eliot. Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by Erka16
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for a parent interested in baby's mind & brain
I really enjoyed this book. It's well written, informative, and downright interesting. Much of the information is presented in the form of results of studies; not just rules of... Read more
Published on April 7 2004 by elwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific and Easy to Read
Even with a 9 month old this book was a breeze to read, but not because it lacks in substance. Lise Eliot does a fantastic job of explaining the cognitive development of children... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book
This book is wonderful. It is full of great information. I suggest reading it while pregnant since the development of the baby is covered from conception. Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book from which every parent could benefit
This book contains so much detailed information on how our brains develop - at the cellular level - it is amazing that it is so readable (although I am slightly geeky about these... Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2003 by Katherine Maddox
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