Diana Rauner

The New Science of Babies and Brains
November 14, 2011

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series further exploring “The Two Year Window,” my feature story on babies, the brain, and poverty that appears in the new issue of TNR. Click here to access all of the supplemental material. Kids who grow up amid adversity, particularly the kind associated with poverty, are more likely to have trouble in school, to fare more poorly in the workforce, and to engage in a variety of behaviors that will be destructive to themselves or to others.

The Two Year Window
November 09, 2011

A decade ago, a neuroscientist named Charles Nelson traveled to Bucharest to visit Romania’s infamous orphanages. There, he saw a child whose brain had swelled to the size of a basketball because of an untreated infection and a malnourished one-year-old no bigger than a newborn. But what has stayed with him ever since was the eerie quiet of the infant wards. “It would be dead silent, all of [the babies] sitting on their backs and staring at the ceiling,” says Nelson, who is now at Harvard.