The recent application of neuroimaging techniques in the field of human cognitive development is providing the practical basis for researchers to face speculative queries that had been impossible to address before enabling them to respectively describe "how the brain is" and "how the brain works" at birth or even before. These techniques encompass both classic and well-known tools (such as EEG and ERPs) as well as more recently developed methods (i.e., MEG, f-NIRS, MRI and f-MRI) which only in the last decade have been applied in infants to shed light on the early interaction between the "nature" and the "nurture," or in other words, between genetics and environment. The purpose of the present work is to review some of the literature regarding neurocognitive development in the light of the achievements reached thanks to recent technical and methodological advancements. In particular, it focuses on the early period of life, using preterm birth as a case that allows the study of the subtle interaction between genetically pre-programmed cortical development and early sensorial experience influence.
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