6671 Understanding Early Experience: The Bucharest Early Intervention Project

Friday, February 17, 2012: 1:30 PM
Room 211 (VCC West Building)
Charles A. Nelson III , Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
Early experience can have a profound impact on the course of human development.  In this talk I will describe a project designed to examine the effects of early psychosocial adversity on brain and behavioral development.  In the Bucharest Early Intervention Project the effects of early institutionalization is being examined in two groups of children: those abandoned at birth, placed and now reared in an institution, and children also abandoned at birth and placed in an institution but then randomly assigned to an intervention (foster care).  A comparison sample of never institutionalized children living with their biological parents in the greater Bucharest community is also being studied.  A variety of measures, including physical growth, cognitive development, language development, attachment, brain development, and social behavior is being obtained, along with an assessment of psychopathology.  The results from this project will serve as the main focus of this presentation.

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