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Thursday 11 December 2008
9:00pm - 10:00pm
2/2 - Brainpower
Laverne Antrobus delves into the extraordinary world of foetal and infant neuropsychology as she tries to explain the curiosities of baby cognition. Babies just hours old can make complex inferences about people and objects, music and language, and even the principles of geometry and geography.
Antrobus asks how babies perceive the world around them, what they know and how they learn to process knowledge. She debates whether babies learn everything from experience or whether knowledge can be hardwired into their brilliant brains, an idea first postulated by psychologist Elisabeth Spelke when she unveiled theories about core knowledge.
Antrobus traces infant psychology back to some of the earliest theories and she meets researchers at Birkbeck College's Babylab who use hi-tech brain scanning equipment to delve deep inside the minds of babies. The theories here are slightly different. Denis Mareschal believes biased learning - babies' remarkable abilities to home in on key sources of information - is the key to intelligence.
The invention of the revolutionary 3D ultrasound has led to an unprecedented glut of revelations about foetal behaviour. Soon after the nervous system forms, the foetus begins ferociously practising for life after birth. Stimuli like sound and taste permeate the sanctity of the womb, shaping the character and personality of the growing foetus.
Dr Heidi Als's studies with premature babies reveal how vital the third trimester of pregnancy is for neurological development. While the brain is still learning to filter out unnecessary sensory stimulation, it relies on the womb to prevent it becoming overloaded. Premature babies don't have this luxury and their brains can often shut down when confronted by too many sensory stimuli.
Some of the other rather spiffing shows available now and always if you signup free @ www.TheBox.bz:
Comedy: The Office, Peep Show, Coupling, Chef, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, The IT Crowd, Brass Eye, Nathan Barley, Young Ones, Monty Python, Blackadder, Alan Partridge, Father Ted, Coupling, Little Britain, Mr Bean, Extras, Green Wing, Mighty Boosh
Drama: Casualty, Holby City, The Bill, Hustle, Skins, Shameless, Ashes To Ashes
Game/Quiz Shows: Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Have I Got News For You, Deal Or No Deal (UK), Q.I.
Education/Documentary: Planet Earth, Horizon, Panorama, Mark Thomas (Comedy) Product
Food: Hell's Kitchen, Jamie Oliver, The F Word, Kitchen Nightmares, Masterchef, Great British Menu, Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong
Home/Property/Garden: Property Ladder, How Clean Is Your House?, Changing Rooms, Grand Designs, Homes Under The Hammer, To Buy Or Not To Buy
Motoring: Top Gear, Fifth Gear
Music: Top Of The Pops, Jools Holland, Glastonbury
Reality: Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!, Any Dream Will Do, Grease, Pop Idol, Wife Swap, X Factor, Badger Or Bust, Apprentice UK, Dragons' Den, Britain's Got Talent
Sci-Fi: Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Torchwood, Primeval
Sport: Football (Soccer), Cricket, Rugby, Snooker, Darts, Formula One (F1GP)