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SCSB Colloquium Series – Charles Nelson, Ph.D.

February 12, 2020 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm, followed by reception
Speaker: Charles Nelson, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital; Director of Research, Developmental Medicine Center

Talk title: “Sensitive periods in human development: A case study of early psychosocial deprivation”

Abstract: Experience is the engine that drives much of postnatal brain development.  When children are deprived of key (i.e., experience-expected) experiences, particularly during critical periods of development, brain and behavioral development can be derailed.  There is perhaps no more egregious form of deprivation than being raised in large, state-run institutions.

In my talk, I will introduce a project launched nearly 20 years ago, based in Bucharest, Romania.  In the Bucharest Early Intervention Project three groups of Romanian children are being studied: infants abandoned to institutions and who remain in institutional care; infants abandoned to institutions but then placed in high quality foster care; and infants who have never been institutionalized.  These three groups have been studied through age 16, with a 20 year follow up being planned.  In my talk I will introduce the overall project, including its conceptual framework, its experimental design, the ethics involved in conducting this work and the nature of the intervention we deployed.  I will then briefly summarize findings from several key domains, including brain development, cognitive development, social-emotional development, psychopathology, and stress physiology.

[Video of the talk]



February 12, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Singleton Auditorium, Bldg. 46, Room 3002
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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Simons Center for the Social Brain