Parenting and Human Brain Development

  • Michael I. PosnerEmail author
  • Mary K. Rothbart


This chapter traces important changes in brain systems between infancy and adulthood. Resting state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have traced changes in brain networks that support human behavior throughout the life span, and task-related MRI studies have traced changes in networks related to acquired skills. We concentrate on the brain networks involved in language and self-regulation because both are critical skills developing between infancy and later childhood.

While all children develop similar brain networks underlying language and self-regulation, the efficiency of these networks varies among people. We examine evidence from temperament and gene × environment interactions to support the role of parenting in the child’s development of self-control and literacy. It is important for parents, educators, and those involved in shaping public policy to understand what is known, and to appreciate what remains to be learned about brain development. While brain development does not in itself dictate the best policies for parenting it may help to inform parents and policy makers on how best to support child development.


Attention EEG Gene × environment Language fMRI Self-regulation State Temperament 



The research for this chapter was supported in part by grants N00014-15-1-2022, and N00014-15-2148 from the Office of Naval Research to the University of Oregon. The authors appreciate the help of Pascale Voelker in this research.

Disclosure The authors declare that they have no disclosure.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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