Supporting Healthy Brain and Behavioral Development During Infancy

Lisa S. Scott, Natalie H. Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Much of infant development occurs in the home and in the context of caregiving support. Babies learn through their everyday interactions with parents—from watching, listening, communicating, cuddling, and playing with them. Foundations for cognitive skills such as attention, perception, learning, and language are all built in the brain during the first year of life. Socioemotional development, including the ability to self-regulate behaviors and emotions, also begins during infancy. Recent advances have allowed researchers to answer questions about the developing brain and how it is impacted by experience and environmental systems, including parental sensitivity and consistency, the home environment, socio-cultural factors, community support systems, and public policies. Giving parents the opportunity to support healthy infant development through paid parental leave programs that are accessible, flexible, and equitable, will positively impact early trajectories of brain and behavioral development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • brain development
  • infant development
  • paid parental leave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Administration


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