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Lecture, Dr. Charles Nelson, "Early Profound Deprivation and Brain Development"

Event Details

April 26, 2019
3:30 pm-5:00 pm

Commonwealth Honors College

Room: 160 Event Hall East

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Kirby Deater-Deckard

Developmental Science Initiative Special Lecture

"Sensitive Periods in Human Development: The Effects of Early Profound Deprivation on Brain-Behavioral Development"

Charles Nelson, PhD; Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience, & Psychology Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Richard David Scott Chair, Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research, Boston Children’s Hospital

Experience is the engine that drives much of postnatal brain development. When children are deprived of key (i.e., experience-expected) experiences, particularly during critical periods of development, brain and behavioral development can be derailed. There is perhaps no more egregious form of deprivation than being raised in large, state-run institutions.

In my talk, I will introduce a project launched nearly 20 years ago, based in Bucharest, Romania. In the Bucharest Early Intervention Project three groups of Romanian children are being studied: infants abandoned to institutions and who remain in institutional care; infants abandoned to institutions but then placed in high quality foster care; and infants who have never been institutionalized. These three groups have been studied through age 16, with a 20 year follow up being planned. 

I will introduce the overall project, including its conceptual framework, its experimental design, the ethics involved in conducting this work and the nature of the intervention we deployed.  I will then briefly summarize findings from several key domains, including cognitive development, social-emotional development, psychopathology, brain development and stress physiology.

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