Train your baby to grow up a genius? That is the idea behind a load of commercial stimulus materials such as the Disney Baby Einstein videos, books, flashcards, toys, and so on (seemingly anything marketable ). We have described these products on page 219 of the A2 Complete Companion, along with a study that showed that watching the DVDs can lead to a poorer developmental outcome. Now Disney is refunding the cost of the videos to anyone who purchased them!! The refunds are because a range of studies have shown that watching TV is potentially harmful for the under-2s, and linked early TV watching to attentional problems at around age 7. It would be interesting to know if the brain’s developing connections are affected by environmental input, something which has very tricky ethical issues but which might be abe to be done as a natural experiment. The emphasis on stimulating cognitive development is still on positive adult-child interactions.
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