Posted by admin on November 30, 2011 at 9:15 am
Pop quiz: When does learning begin? Answer: Before we are born.
Science writer Annie Murphy Paul talks through new research that shows how much we learn in the womb — from the lilt of our native language to our soon-to-be-favorite foods.
To what extent the conditions we encounter before birth influence our individual characteristics? It‘s the question at the center of fetal origins, a relatively new field of research that measures how the effects of influences outside the womb during pregnancy can shape the physical, mental and even emotional well-being of the developing baby for the rest of its life.
Science writer Annie Murphy Paul calls it a gray zone between nature and nurture in her bookOrigins, a history and study of this emerging field structured around a personal narrative — Paul was pregnant with her second child at the time. What she finds suggests a far more dynamic nature between mother and fetus than typically acknowledged, and opens up the possibility that the time before birth is as crucial to human development as early childhood.
“[Annie Murphy Paul] combines impeccable science, extraordinary tenderness, and lyrical prose to produce a truly revolutionary chronicle of pregnancy.” Sylvia Nasar
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