In recent years, powerful new imaging technologies
and other approaches have allowed scientists to
track the development of the brain during childhood.
These studies offer a way to understand how the
intellectual abilities and behavioral maturity of
children at various ages are rooted in the developing
brain. Studies of the developing brain also offer
the best possibility for understanding the origins of
mental illnesses. Research suggests that vulnerability
to mental illness—and resilience—is rooted in
development. Both risk and resilience are shaped by
genes and environment interacting together, through
childhood and adolescence. Research can show how.