Goo Goo Gaa Gaa
A look inside the baby brain. By: Kendall M.
A baby brain has about
one hundred billion neurons (a neuron is a type of cell that is the functional
unit of the nervous system). That’s a
full set. It also has about one trillion
glial cells (cells that protect and nourish the neurons) at birth. Even with all of these cells, no brain is fully
operational, even at birth. Did you know
that you can stimulate your baby’s brain with a variety of activities? If you want to learn more about your brain as
a baby and how it developed, read the rest of this article.
Critical windows/periods are periods of time that are vital
for learning things such as speech, hearing, and even sight. If you don’t learn these skills in the period
of time when you are able to, you are likely never to learn them. Learning one skill can also effect learning
other skills. For example, if you don’t
develop a sense of hearing, it will be hard to develop a sense of speech. All the billions of neurons baby brains have
are laid out as circuits to develop vision, language, and movement. It’s up to the neural activity and
connections to develop these areas. What
wires a child’s brain is experience, repetition, and experience.
One thing that would make it hard to
develop hearing is getting a disease in your ear before you’re born. It lowers the probability that your auditory
cortex (the part of your brain that helps you to hear) will receive
stimuli. If this happens, a device
called a cochlear implant can transmit electrical signals to the auditory
cortex, enabling you to hear.
language is an amazing feat, yet extra wiring enables every human to learn it easily
by age three when we start to talk spontaneously about things such as
perceptions and emotions. Once we can
talk, we also talk about our minds and other’s minds. Some of our first words are want, no, see,
all gone, happy, and sad. Also, babies
often use a word to describe success and failure.
At birth babies know a
lot about language. Babies begin to respond to language even before they are
born. Now, I bet you’re wondering when
we start to make all those cute baby sounds like “goo goo” and “gaa gaa”,
right? Well, that’s around two
months. Babies up until age 5 months
sound alike all over the world. It is
not until babies are 13 months old that a baby’s range of sounds is limited to
only his native language. Within eighteen months of life we have a vocabulary
of fifty words that we can pronounce and about one hundred more that we can
understand. At age three, our vocabulary
has rocketed to about one thousand words.
We also start to construct elaborate sentences. By age six, we know around six thousand
words, an average about of three new words every day since birth. Saint Augustine (one of the Latin fathers in
the early Christian Church; author; bishop of Hippo of North Africa) also had a
theory that babies saw things, and saw their parents call it something, and
then called it what their parents called it.
human brain is programmed to learn speech by age seven. If a child does not
learn speech by this age, it is unlikely he or she will. Language development starts at birth and continues
rapidly through age seven.
Brain Development (physiology)
brains start to take shape around the third week of gestation. Once we’re born, our neurons aren’t well
connected. By age five, our neurons make
more connections and our brains are almost completely formed and get no more
new neurons. Every neuron connects to
15,000 others. Those 15,000 neurons each
branching out 15,000 other ways creating well over one quadrillion cellular
links total. Another interesting fact is
that up to eight years of age, humans can recover from severe brain surgery (an
example would be disconnecting half of your brain). The cause of this is plasticity. Plasticity is how well our brain can recover.
you do is controlled by your brain, even your emotions. At about six weeks, babies start to smile
because they’re happy, not just because they are trying everything out. Two month old babies can experience joy,
sadness, envy, and empathy. Parents can
help develop these emotions by providing lots of love and security. Neglecting a baby can hinder emotional
In conclusion, I think
that it’s amazing how quickly and easily the baby brain can learn. It almost seems that babies can learn better
than us! I mean, do you think you could
start from scratch and fluently learn a completely new and different language (being
able to speak it like you had known it your whole life) in three years,
tops? I don’t think I could. Just face it; babies are amazing and wired to
learn at rapid rates.
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The Amazing Brain.
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