The importance of early experiences for neuro-affective development

Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2014;16:109-29. doi: 10.1007/7854_2013_254.


This chapter considers the functional utility of the prolonged period of immaturity in human brain development. Development of the amygdala and its connections with the prefrontal cortex is used as an example system for discussing the special role of sensitive periods in shaping neural functional architecture. The argument is made that neural immaturity during childhood may be important and confer a longer period of neuroplasticity, which can increase learning from the environment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / growth & development
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Environment*
  • Human Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / growth & development
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / growth & development
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*