An excellent summary

Early Childhood and Neuroscience: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice Mine Conkbayir Bloomsbury Academic; Pb £17.99

Neuroscience in relation to childhood and early development is relevant to many professions, researchers and parents. However, books with a specific focus on childhood neuroscience are relatively rare. Early Childhood and Neuroscience by Mine Conkbayir is intended to provide a useful insight into various aspects of early childhood from a neuroscience perspective to suit a wide range of readers, and it certainly delivers on this. The book begins with a section explaining to the reader what they should expect, and should not expect from the book. This is a general theme found at the start of every chapter.

As a book that is intended to appeal to a wide audience, including those without a background in neuroscience, the section covering basic neuroanatomy and physiology before embarking on any further discussions was an excellent addition and ensures the accessibility of the book. There was one minor aspect of this chapter that could cause confusion in non-specialists, in that the author acknowledges that not all neurons look like the classic diagram used, but does not describe or show how else a neuron might look. It would have been nice to see different examples, which in turn could perhaps avoid any development of misconceptions in non-specialist readers. On a similar note, as a neuroscientist I felt that the topic of the synapse was quite brief and could have been explained a little further. With this in mind, I do appreciate that additional discussion of different neuron types might be more detailed than the average reader needs or wants.

Every chapter begins with a clear outline, allowing easy navigation and with very varied content in different chapters, enables the reader to find their chapter of interest with ease. Additionally, each chapter contains suggested further reading and ‘pause for thought’ sections. These extend the content for those who want to learn more, without making the actual book very lengthy or unappealing to those who don’t, again meeting the needs of a wide audience well. I felt that the ‘pause for thought’ sections specifically encourage and help to develop a deeper and more reflective understanding of the content, particularly useful to students.

I especially enjoyed the myth-busting sections found throughout the book. I thought this was an excellent addition for readers without a neuroscience background, allowing them not only to learn that various popular ideas are simply ‘neuromyths’ but also to learn about reliable scientific knowledge.

Overall, I think Early Childhood and Neuroscience offers an excellent summary of a variety of topics for a wide range of readers. Without complex terminology or hard-to-follow concepts, each chapter is a useful first step towards an increased understanding of neurological development from multiple perspectives.

- Reviewed by Dr Stacey A. Bedwell, Lecturer in Psychology, Birmingham City University 

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