Posts tagged ‘nature versus nurture’

Praising a Child as “Smart” Can Be Detrimental

Smart Girl With BooksWe’ve been told for years that praising our children is a good thing; that it builds self-esteem and confidence.  It’s almost instinctual to applaud a child as smart when they do something clever.  My four year-old just recited the fifty states in alphabetical order (thanks to his nanny’s fondness for the Fifty Nifty United States song) and then proceeded to identify more states than I can on his map puzzle.  So I had to bite my tongue not to say “you’re so smart!” or “your memory is amazing!”  I’m fighting my ingrained habits of praise because a growing body of research is showing that complementing innate talents such as intellect or athletic ability can have a number of negative consequences. (more…)

June 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

Your Baby’s Brain Development

Curious Mind of a BabySignificant advances have been made in the field of neuroscience since today’s new parents grew up.  It’s helpful to understand the basics of early brain development and how new scientific research is shedding light on the caregiver’s role in raising healthy, intelligent kids.

A child’s brain undergoes the greatest transformations from conception through the first two years, however brain development continues into the teen years and beyond.  There are various areas in the brain that develop at different times, with the more fundamental, lower-level brain functions largely developed by the time an infant is born (hence why proper prenatal care is so critical).   Thereafter, the brain develops (more…)

May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am 1 comment

Morality: A Matter of Nature and Nurture

Nature and NurtureIn a New York Times magazine feature in May 2010, Yale professor Paul Bloom describes the research on the moral instincts of babies being conducted by his research team at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University.  The researchers found that the significant majority of babies as young as 5 months old prefer good (helpful) characters over bad (hindering) ones, moreover babies at 8 months show preference for characters that act justly by either rewarding a good guy, or punishing a bad actor.

However, that is not to say that babies have “moral” preferences in all cases.   (more…)

May 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment


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