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Art to Heart

The Brain on Art

“There’s just this narrow period of life when visual experience is critical for wiring up our ability to see. The brain depends on—it craves—visual stimulation in order to just put its basic circuit together,” says Lise Eliot, associate professor of neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University.

As Eliot explains in Program 7 of Art to Heart, visual stimulation in early life is essential. It’s one reason babies love to look at bold patterns and bright colors. Looking at faces is a way they learn bonding and communication.

The musicality of the human voice aids in learning language. And movement stimulation actually helps calm infants.

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to give infants and toddlers what their developing brains need. Talk and read to your baby, Eliot recommends. Sing and play music. Bounce to a beat and dance with your baby. These activities are enjoyable for everyone involved, she notes. “The fun thing about having children is that you can be a kid again yourself.”

Find Out More

Lise Eliot’s book What’s Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life is an in-depth explanation of how the brain “wires up” during the early years and what parents can do to foster development.

More advice from Eliot can be found on page 40 of the downloadable Art to Heart viewing guide.

Back to Program 7 »