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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, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

The precarious infant brain

The precarious infant brain

(p.89) Four The precarious infant brain
Blinded by Science

David Wastell

Sue White

Policy Press

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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