Members in the Media
From: The Guardian

The Big Idea: Is It Time to Stop Talking About ‘Nature Versus Nurture’?

When you hear people conversing in an unfamiliar language, why is it that you can’t even tell where one word ends and the next begins? If you are a native English speaker, why is it so challenging to get your mouth around a French or Hebrew “r”, which originates lower in the throat, or the “r” in Spanish or Italian, which is trilled on the tip of the tongue? Your ability to hear and make sounds, and to understand their meaning as language, is wired into your brain. How you acquire that wiring illuminates an age-old debate about human nature.

In the first few months of your life, your infant brain is bathed in all kinds of information from the world around you, through your senses. This sense data causes changes in your brain as your neurons fire in various patterns. Some collections of neurons fire together frequently, strengthening or tuning their connections and aiding learning. Others are used less and are pruned away, making room for more useful ones to form. This process of tuning and pruning is called plasticity, and it happens throughout your life, but enormously in the first few years.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): The Guardian

More of our Members in the Media >

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.