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Blinded by ScienceThe Social Implications of Epigenetics and Neuroscience$
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David Wastell and Susan White

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447322337

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447322337.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

The precarious infant brain

The precarious infant brain

Chapter:
(p.89) Four The precarious infant brain
Source:
Blinded by Science
Author(s):

David Wastell

Sue White

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447322337.003.0004

This chapter examines how biological thinking is merging with the project of human improvement. It reviews social policies, tracing the ways in which neuroscience has been invoked to relocate a moral project within a scientific rationality. We deconstruct one such report in particular, the Allen report, which has been influential in the UK. The Chapter explores the emergence of a preventive mind-set in social policy which promotes intervention early in infancy to address inter-generational social disadvantage. The idea that the brain is critically susceptible to early experience, predetermining the rest of the life-trajectory, has led to the “the myth of the first three years”. We systematically debunk this myth: what the science actually shows is plasticity and resilience.

Keywords:   parenting, Allen Report, infant determinism, early intervention, decade of the brain, myth of the first three years, brain plasticity

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