According to a two decade study research, “the more mental stimulation a child gets around the age of four, the more developed the parts of their brains dedicated to language and cognition will be in the next decades. That is why an early childhood surrounded by books and educational toys will leave positive fingerprints on a person’s brain well into their late teens”. (Avants, B. et. al., 2012)

The 64 persons who participate in the study were carried out over the course of 20 years. During that time, the scientists took data from surveys of home life and brain scans. They found that cognitive stimulation from parents at the age of four was a determinant factor in predicting the development of several parts of the cortex 15 years later. All the other factors including parental nurturance at all ages and cognitive stimulation at age eight had no effect.

The lateral left temporal cortex was the most affected region, whose functions are semantic memory, processing word meanings and general knowledge about the world. Avants, B. et. al. (2012). Early childhood home environment predicts frontal and temporal cortical thickness in the young adult brain. Neuroscience Meeting Planner. [Online] 7th October. New Orleans, LA: Society for Neuroscience.

The present investigation is an example of nature & nurture, where the environment has and evident influence in the brain development, but also the genetic. Therefore the parents have a very important role they must help to stimulate their child’s brain in order to develop, as the scientists suggest, their cognitive, social and emotional skills.

Available from:

[Accesed: 12th April 2016]

Ruth Talavera Flores


Research Associate & IRIANS’s Representative for

the Iberian Peninsula and Mexico

IRIANS – The Neuroscience Institute


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