Keywords: developmental cognitive neuroscience, preterm newborns, typical and atypical development, genetic and environmental interaction.
The aim of the present review is to illustrate the recent contribution of the Developmental
Cognitive Neuroscience (Johnson, 2005) on the gain of new knowledge on the relationship
between neural mechanisms and cognitive processes underlying both typical and atypical
cognitive development. Specifically, the review focuses on the preterm birth as a case that allows
the study of the subtle interaction between genetically pre-programmed cortical development and
early sensorial experience influence underpinning the cognitive impairment described in such a
clinical population. Finally, the contribution of the Devlopmental Cognitive Neuroscience in recent
clinical and rehabilitative practices through the investigation of the neural mechanisms triggered
by the early extrauterine environmental interaction of the preterm newborn is breafly introduced.