The central theme of the program is that virtually every aspect of the development of
the human brain, and the sensory, cognitive, social and emotional skills that it supports, is dependent on and shaped by experience (i.e., input from the environment).
There are two features that distinguish this program from others with a similar goal: First, every statement that is made is supported by evidence from solid scientific studies. Second, each of the segments includes evidence about the brain functions and structures that underlie different aspects of human behavior and cognition.
The program begins with an Introduction that describes the adult human brain, the central role it plays in every aspect of human function, its great fragility, and the methods used to study its structure and function.
Following the Introduction, nine segments describe the brain systems important in: vision, hearing, motor skills, attention, language, reading, math, music, and emotions and learning. Each of these segments describes studies that have revealed the nature of the effects of experience on the development of each of these functions. Separate sections on the DVD list references to the studies cited and websites with further information on each topic.
Helen J. Neville, Ph.D. is one of the world's leading experts in brain development and neuroplasticity—how the brain changes with experience. Dr. Neville is passionate about science and also the potential of science to positively affect society. Her laboratory maintains an active educational outreach program and Dr. Neville gives invited lectures around the world. In addition to numerous articles published in prestigious books and journals, she has received many awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Board of Governors of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the Academic Panel of Birth to Three. Dr. Neville is currently the Robert and Beverly Lewis Endowed Chair, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Director of the Brain Development Lab, and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oregon.