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Developmental Neuroscience

Developmental cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary scientific field devoted to understanding psychological processes and their neurological bases in the developing organism. It examines how the mind changes as children grow up, interrelations between that and how the brain is changing, and environmental and biological influences on the developing mind and brain. Developmental cognitive neuroscience is at the boundaries of neuroscience (behavioral, systems, & cognitive neuroscience), psychology (developmental, cognitive, & biobehavioral/ physiological psychology), developmental science (which includes sociology, anthropology, & biology in addition to psychology & neuroscience), cognitive science (which includes computer science, philosophy, dynamical systems, & linguistics in addition to psychology), and even includes socio-emotional development and developmental aspects of social neuroscience and affective neuroscience.

The scientific interface between cognitive neuroscience and human development has evoked considerable interest in recent years, as technological advances make it possible to map in detail the changes in brain structure that take place during development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience overlaps somewhat with fields such as developmental psychology, developmental neuropsychology, developmental psychopathology, and developmental neuroscience, but is distinct from each of them as well. Developmental cognitive neuroscience is concerned with the brain bases of the phenomena that developmental psychologists study. Developmental neuropsychology and developmental psychopathology are both devoted primarily to studying patients, whereas developmental cognitive neuroscience is concerned with studying both typical and atypical development.

Developmental neuroscience is devoted entirely to the study of developmental processes in the brain, and primarily during the prenatal period. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, on the other hand, is concerned with interrelations between psychological and biological development. Developmental cognitive neuroscientists study brain development and cognitive, social, and emotional development from the prenatal period through adulthood