1. Experiences Build Brain Architecture

Uploaded by HarvardCenter on 29.09.2011

A child's experiences during the earliest years of life have a lasting impact on the architecture of the developing brain.
Genes provide the basic blueprint, but experiences shape the process that determines whether a child's brain will provide a strong or weak foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health.
During this important period of brain development, billions of brain cells called neurons send electrical signals to communicate with each other.
These connections form circuits that become the basic foundation of brain architecture.
Circuits and connections proliferate at a rapid pace and are reinforced through repeated use.
Our experiences and environment dictate which circuits and connections get more use.
Connections that are used more grow stronger and more permanent. Meanwhile, connections that are used less fade away through a normal process called pruning.
Well-used circuits create lightning-fast pathways for neural signals to travel across regions of the brain.
Simple circuits form first, providing a foundation for more complex circuits to build on later.
Through this process, neurons form strong circuits and connections for emotions, motor skills, behavioral control, logic, language, and memory during the early critical period of development.
With repeated use, these circuits become more efficient and connect to other areas of the brain more rapidly.
While they originate in specific areas of the brain, the circuits are interconnected. You can't have one type of skill without the others to support it.
Like building a house, everything is connected and what comes first forms a foundation for all that comes later.