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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 (51 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$ 42.72

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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
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 of 4 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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Excellent, A MUST Read May 5 2004
By Erka16
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. This book is very informative and should be eccential to your prenatal (and even post-natal) reading. Eliot ia a neurobiologist and a mother of three, so not only does she provide more than enough scientific information but she supplies plenty of personal anecdotes involing her children.
Unlike most books of this sort that divide the book into ages (0-3 months), Eliot divides her book into developmental stages from start(in uetero) to finish (postnatal) and head to toe. Therefore she will discuss a certain developmental task a chapter but in that chapter covers that development from emergence to completion, which in some cases spans several years. At first you might think that a book that is well over 500-pages on child development a bit hefty but in alll actuality it is quite an easy read. That being said I studied molecular/cell bio in college so because of my background education this book was a lot easier to read. Does one have to be and expert in biology in order to understand this book, I don't think so. Eliot presents her views and scientific evidence in a strait forward manner that anyone that has had high school biology should be able to understand.
The Chapters are as Follows:
(1) Nature vs Nurture?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book Aug. 24 2010
By Lindsay
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 movements, nature vs nurture, personality, etc. Lots of facts and information. I found it particularly helpful when my first child was about a month old as it helped me better understand what she might be thinking or why she was behaving a certain way due to the physical changes she was going through. The book is written in a much more objective way than other books I have read and I liked that it would present the information, sometimes from various points of view, and allow the reader to make their own conclusions. I wished I had gotten this book while I still pregnant! As a new mother, I found the number of books on child development overwhelming and with the number of different "methods" being touted, I eventually decided that I was just going to read this book to try to get a better understanding on what is going on in my baby's brain as a guide and then do the best that I can with that knowledge. Great book!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars never read it
My daughter is now 5 and smart as a whip despite her lazy father not reading this book. Great success.
Published 4 months ago by Raoul Duke
4.0 out of 5 stars happy cistomer
item delivered on time. Item is excellent. The product was just as we expected it to be based on the product description. Read more
Published 7 months ago by pen name
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!!!
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 ... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kajela
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing resource
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.
Published 17 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for new moms yet
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! Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2012 by scarlet
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 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 the only parenting book I've used
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... Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2004 by Sajil Unni
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
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