Email this review


An intriguing study of the brains of infants and of their processes of maturation. Restak is the author of Premeditated Man; The Brain: The Last Frontier, and The Brain, a tie-in book to the PBS series. Turning his attention to a specialty within the field, he examines here the new wave of thought concerning the infant mind and concludes that the brain at this stage of life is full of endless potential and capabilities. Skipping deftly between the technical and the popular, Restak is as comfortable discussing neurons, synapses, and neurotransmitters as he is revealing more easily grasped concepts, e.g., that a three-day-old infant is able to distinguish its mother's face from a group of women or that music heard by the fetus conditions the baby after birth. There are some important insights here, too, that edge over into controversy for today's crop of hospital-to-day-care-center babies. Restak quotes research at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston which reveals disturbances in the physiology of both baby and mother at times of separation. In the fast few months of day care, he notes, the baby typically experiences sleep, feeding, and immunological problems that are mirrored by the mother. This may provide food for thought for those mothers anxious to get back to their jobs. A good volume to place next to Piaget.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday