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Pink Brain, Blue Brain

by Lise Eliot

A precise scientific exploration of the differences between boys and girls that breaks down damaging gender stereotypes and offers practical guidance for parents and educators. In the past decade, we've come to accept certain ideas about the differences between males and females--that boys can't focus in a classroom, for instance, and that girls are obsessed with relationships. In Pink Brain, Blue Brain, neuroscientist Lise Eliot turns that thinking on its head. Calling on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that small differences at birth become amplified over time, as parents and teachers--and the culture at large--unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes. Children themselves intensify the differences by playing to their modest strengths. They constantly exercise those "ball-throwing" or "doll-cuddling" circuits, rarely straying from their comfort zones. But this, says Eliot, is just what they need to do, and she offers parents and teachers concrete ways to help. Boys are not, in fact, "better at math" but at certain kinds of spatial reasoning. Girls are not naturally more empathetic; they're allowed to express their feelings. By appreciating how sex differences emerge--rather than assuming them to be fixed biological facts--we can help all children reach their fullest potential, close the troubling gaps between boys and girls, and ultimately end the gender wars that currently divide us.

What's Going On In There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life

by Lise Eliot

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.

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