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Past event

Does crucial development only occur in the first two years of life?

4 November 2014 from 16:30 to 18:00

Local Government House

Smith Square, SW1P 3HZ


Our second #ScienceSeries event addresses long-debated questions on the relative importance of the early years. Much is written about critical brain development in the first few years of life, but what about childhood and adolescence?

Viding & McCrory: A neuroscience perspective


Hobcraft: 'No magic bullet'


EIF flyer



Professors Essi Viding and Eamon McCrory delivered a neuroscientific perspective on the issue and Professor John Hobcraft gave his viewpoint from longitudinal studies in childhood and parenting. Chaired by Professor Stephen Scott, the event came to a close with a few key points:

  • We need to be modest about what we know.
  • The brain is particularly responsive to environments and experiences during early development.
  • Brain development is not on a fixed trajectory after the first two years of life.
  • There is evidence of continued malleability of the brain during adolescence.
  • Positive and negative parenting matter a great deal for subsequent child outcomes.
  • Interventions need to be holistic and cross-generational including parent and child.

Watch a short interview with John Hobcraft as he addresses the significance of development in the first two years, and the need for future knowledge.