cognitive development

12 Stories

Why Parents Should Put a Toy Chicken on Their Heads

Kids can learn the difference between joking and pretending by 16 months

(Newser) - Parents who joke and pretend with their toddlers are doing more than just play, they're teaching them important life skills, researchers from the University of Sheffield report in a new study in Cognitive Science . In fact kids as young as 16 months use cues from their parents to pick... More »

Toddlers' Sense of Justice Surprises Researchers

They're more interested in making things right than punishing wrongdoers

(Newser) - Preschool justice may be more developed than previously thought. So finds new research published in the journal Current Biology , where 3- and 5-year-olds observed two of four different scenes involving puppets, toys, and cookies. It turns out that not only did the kids sort out pretty quickly whether the "... More »

No, Music Doesn't Make You Smarter

Samuel Mehr crashes the 'Mozart effect' myth in two new studies

(Newser) - Sorry to burst your bubble, parents, but all those piano lessons aren't helping to make your child the smartest kid on the block. Learning to play a musical instrument comes with a lot of good: It can bolster creativity, focus, discipline, and even self-esteem. But there's just no... More »

Good Day Care Linked to Good Grades Later

4½-year-olds in 'high-quality' care perform better as teens

(Newser) - Kids who spend a lot of time in high-quality child care perform better academically than those who don't, even as much as 10 years later. Researchers looked at 1,364 youngsters, analyzing their academic records in the context of the kind and amount of child care they received. Previous studies... More »

Video Games May Stave Off Mental Decline

(Newser) - Shelling goblins and building medieval empires may be perfect ways to stave off cognitive decline, Anita Hamilton writes in Time. Research already shows that challenging tasks can keep brains sharp in old age, but now multi-million-dollar studies are getting the elderly to play video games—not puzzle or math games,... More »

Poor Kids' Stress Harms the Brain, Chance of Success

Elevated stress hormones early can lead to lack of working memory later

(Newser) - Chronic stress caused by growing up poor appears to impair a developing child’s working memory, the Washington Post reports, pointing to another link between childhood poverty and lessened long-term success. While environmental and experiential factors—such as having fewer toys and more exposure to lead—likely affect the achievement... More »

Your Toddler's Listening, Really

It just might not seem that way

(Newser) - If your toddler seems to be ignoring everything you tell them to do, take heart: They’re just squirreling that advice away for later, researchers tell LiveScience. “The good news is what we’re saying to our kids doesn’t go in one ear and out the other, like... More »

Researchers Push 'Brain Steroids' for All

Future drugs could boost job, classroom performance

(Newser) - Healthy adults should be able to take brain-boosting drugs for a competitive advantage at work or on an exam, researchers say in a provocative paper. Seven authors say ethical questions about cognitive-enhancement pills are both warranted and imminent, and that such medicinal aid is no less moral than caffeine consumption,... More »

Birds Think Like Us

New book chronicles the life and mind of Alex, the world's smartest parrot

(Newser) - In her new book Alex and Me researcher Irene Pepperberg explains how her work with the African gray parrot shed light on human intelligence, Scientific American reports. The author says Alex’s smarts demonstrate why scientists should examine how an animal’s brain works, not just how it looks, because... More »

TV Not All Bad for Kids, Study Discovers

Some couch potatoes apparently got wise watching boob tube

(Newser) - TV has long been blamed for social ills from childhood obesity to plunging SAT scores, but a pair of researchers say the "idiot box" could actually be doing kids some good, the Wall Street Journal reports. Examined test data from 1965 showed that children with more access to TV... More »

Focus, Not IQ, Might be Best School Skill

Kids trained to flex 'executive function' muscles learn better

(Newser) - EF is the new IQ, and if educators accept that new acronym mantra, more preschoolers will be playing games, Newsweek reports. Executive function—the ability to repress distracting thoughts and focus on a task—could be a better indicator of scholarly success than intelligence alone; psychologist Adele Diamond implemented an... More »

World's Smartest Parrot Is No More

Alex was no bird brain: He amused millions, aided science

(Newser) - Brandeis researchers feel as though they’ve lost a colleague: Alex, the African gray parrot they studied for 30 years, died Friday. He helped them reach surprising new conclusions about the avian brain and “was extraordinary in breaking the perceptions of birds as not being intelligent,” according to... More »

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