Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kim-Jong Eun's brain

It's hard to know how Kim-Jong Un will react to his new role. Indeed, his brain might not be quite ready for having access to the nuclear button, as I told the Washington Post.

Considering his father's absolute power, it's quite possible that the younger Kim has had little or no significant stress in his early childhood. This is a bad thing, as we wrote in Welcome To Your Child's Brain. Small, manageable stresses in a child's life build his capacity to deal with large stresses in adulthood...such as staying calm in a faceoff with the West.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Autism is on the rise...or is it?

There's a popular belief that autism is on the rise. But what if in years past, cases were not recognized or classified differently? Read this excellent article in the Los Angeles Times. It's an excellent piece of journalism that illustrates an idea that is commonplace among researchers - but not immediately obvious. Further commentary here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

For Chinese readers - Wang Sheng-Hung

For Chinese readers, check out this piece in the World Journal on Wang Sheng-Hung, otherwise known as Sam Wang. If you're using Google Translate...ignore the statement that the book is a "brain resuscitation manual"!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dyslexia, ADHD, and adolescence - on WNYC today

Last time on WNYC's Leonard Lopate show, Sandra and I got so many calls that Lopate couldn't ask his own questions. Today we're back for more. Tune in today, 1:20 to 2 pm Eastern time, for our return engagement!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Madeleine Brand Show - Parenting On The Edge

Sandra and I will be on her show shortly - KPCC Los Angeles, 89.3 FM. Madeleine is funny and insightful. Tune in!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Redshirting: Some Children Left Behind

In the NYTimes we pointed out that one in 11 kindergarteners have been held back a year compared with when they should have begun school. However, this practice brings very little lasting benefit for a child.

For schools, redshirting has the benefit of reducing work (older kids are easier to control) and increasing test scores. Think of it as "Some Children Left Behind."

If you are interested in the science behind our article, see here (Word document) and here (PDF). Update: in addition, all the literature references are available as PDFs in this ZIP file.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Leonard Lopate show - call in today

Today at 1:20pm Eastern on WNYC, Sandra and I will be live on the Leonard Lopate Show's "Please Explain" segment. The call-in number is 646-829-3985. Give us a buzz!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sandra on CNN re early education

This morning on CNN's Your Bottom Line (10am ET), Sandra, Nick Kristof, and an NYU education professor talk about redshirting and early-life education. Tune in!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kindle edition of Welcome to Your Child's Brain

Some of you have been asking about the Kindle version of our new book. It was bit slow getting here, but it's now available. So if you want the book right this minute, we're pleased to announce that you can get it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Appearance at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park

Northern California folks, please join me at Kepler's tomorrow (Tuesday the 27th) for a discussion of children's brains. I'll talk about what you can do to improve your child's self-control and other building blocks of success in adulthood. Also, how people are like crabgrass - and why that's a good thing!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saturday morning on Fox and Friends

Tomorrow (Saturday) around 7:45am, Sam will be on Fox and Friends to talk about how children's brains are active learners, and that for their healthy development, parents should relax...

P.S. Here's a link to the video.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Children's brains are active learners

Baby Einstein doesn't work. Drama class teaches kids empathy. You can teach a kid willpower. What's the common theme? Children's brains are active learners. I discuss all this in two minutes flat with Shelley Goldberg on NY1.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Five myths about your child's brain

In today's New York Post, Sandra and I reveal five myths about children's brains - and replace them with useful facts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is failure the key to success?

Here's an interesting article in this weekend's New York Times Magazine about the efforts of two school administrators to promote the development of nonacademic skills, including self-control, social intelligence, and persistence. As Sam and I discuss in the book, these sorts of abilities are stronger predictors of success in life than IQ - and parents can do a lot to encourage their development. It's great to see schools starting to work toward the same goal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Listen to us on Fresh Air - Wednesday Sept. 14

Tomorrow, Sandra and I will go on air with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air about Welcome To Your Child's Brain. It was a fun interview - listen!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Instilling self-discipline...without Tiger Parenting


Over at BigThink, Jason Gots writes about a theme in an interview I did with them: "tiger parenting." The publication of Amy Chua’s 2010 book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother unleashed a parental firestorm in the form of a conflict between different ideas about parenting -- one promoting children’s self-esteem, the other prioritizing self-discipline.

As Sandra and I have pointed out in Welcome To Your Child's Brain, self-esteem for its own sake is overrated. But is Chua's approach the only way to build a key capacity in your child? The answer is no. Read on...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Your child's brain: relax!

That's the opening message of Welcome To Your Child's Brain. Our big theme is that from the start, children's brains are wired to set themselves up under a wide range of conditions. This idea is supported by decades of evidence, stemming from decades of neuroscience and psychology research. Basically, they're hard to break!

We realize this flies in the face of much parenting advice. Of course it's not the whole story: there are cases in which extra attention can be critical. We review those cases too, as well as the neuroscience of what's going on.

If you're curious now, here's an excerpt for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More on old genes in the modern world

For anyone who wants to learn more about how modern life may be changing our minds, check out the talk I gave at TEDx Hendrix College in April. In addition to nearsightedness and outdoor play, I also discuss TV and baby videos, video games, multitasking, and the global increase in IQ over recent decades (aka the Flynn effect).

Nearsightedness: Ancient genes meet the modern world

In today's New York Times, Sandra and I have a piece on the modern increase in nearsightedness. We relied on research findings indicating that a likely cause is decreased exposure to bright, outdoor light. For a sampling, see the following papers on associations with outdoor activity, whether sports plays a role, lifestyle/schooling, and visual activity.. Also an article on the rising prevalence of myopia in the US.

There's a more general idea worth thinking about: our developmental program evolved to help us function well under ancient conditions, but those genes play differently in the modern world. This principle can help us think about problems such as dyslexia and ADHD - and also about the fact that IQ scores around the world are rising. It's a two-sided coin.

Also, a postscript - another possible explanation is the relative abundance of "near work" indoors, since this work involves less distance focus. However, this is hard to square with the epidemiology because there's no effect on myopia of playing indoor sports, which you'd expect to encourage distant focus without bright light exposure.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coming soon - Welcome To Your Child's Brain


This September, we've got a new book coming out -- Welcome To Your Brain: How The Mind Grows From Conception To College. Based on reading close to a thousand technical papers and analyzing the state of developmental neuroscience and psychology, we ended up finding out a lot that will interest -- and reassure -- parents. If you have a kid, or remember being one yourself, we hope this book will be for you.

Here's what some others have to say about the book:

"Dr. Wang and Dr. Aamodt playfully and engagingly introduce us to the hidden talents of our children's brains." — Mehmet Oz, M.D., Host of "The Dr. Oz Show"

"Fact-filled and fascinating, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain will answer many of parents’ most urgent questions. Neuroscientists Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang present the real data that will help parents understand and nurture their children of all ages." — Lise Eliot, Ph.D., author of What’s Going On in There? and Pink Brain, Blue Brain

"Few humans are as neurotic as parents, frantic about the disastrous lifelong consequences of every errant hiccup. In this smart, funny, accessible and supremely sane book, Aamodt and Wang teach us that our supposed knowledge in this realm is riddled with urban myths and that a child's brain is tough and resilient in the face of adversity. This is a terrific, fun, educational book."- Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D., author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers