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The Developing Child

44 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 11 January 2014

How early on can a small child distinguish between right and wrong? What does the latest research tell us about how a baby’s brain develops? And could watching TV be as good for the baby as reading books? Joining Bridget Kendall are child brain researcher Annette Karmiloff–Smith, psychologist Paul Bloom, and children’s writer Lesley Beake.

  • Annette Karmiloff-Smith

    Annette Karmiloff-Smith [Photo credit: M. Huizinga, Amsterdam]

    Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, at Birkbeck College, University of London, and author of a large body of academic articles and books for the general public, Annette Karmiloff-Smith investigates face processing, speech processing, language, social cognition, number, and attention in babies and children, using behavioural and electro-physiological measures. Before her current post at Birkbeck, she was Head of the Neurocognitive Development Unit at the Institute of Child Health in London, and previously studied and worked with Jean Piaget in Geneva.

  • Paul Bloom

    Paul Bloom. [Photo credit: Greg Martin]

    The research of Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University, explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching, is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field, as well as the author or editor of six books, including Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.

  • Lesley Beake

    Lesley Beake

    Based in South Africa for most of her life, Lesley Beake has been involved with writing and editing children’s stories for some thirty years and has published over 80 books. All her stories are set in Africa and are rich in African imagery and landscape. One of her first books, The Strollers, won the 1987 Young Africa Award for children’s literature, followed by many other prizes and translations into a number of European and African languages as well as Japanese. Much of her work involves writing for readers who are reading in English as their second, third, or even fourth language.

  • 60 Second Idea

    Two boys eating an apple

    Annette Karmiloff–Smith suggests that eating a hamburger slowly and chewing each mouthful fully might be better for children than guzzling down an apple! She has observed that people who are overweight tend to eat very quickly so she would like to take pregnant mums and nursery school aged infants and train them to put down their cutlery after each mouthful and chew 20 times before swallowing. They will learn a lot more about tastes, eat in a more controlled way and find meals a pleasure.

  • Next week

    What does scarcity do to our brains?  Whether it’s money, time or sleep we’re short of: does it cloud our thinking? Or make us more innovative? With psychologist Eldar Shafir, innovation researcher Simone Ahuja and chemist Andrea Sella.



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