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Research Making News RIGHT NOW
March 2, 2014: Are you a mono-lingual person envious of the brain benefits that bi-lingual persons enjoy? Well, apparently it's not too late to reap the benefits. New reserach shows that late bilinguals share the the same cognitive effects as early bilinguals. That means a stronger executive funciton (but also the lexical access deficits - a small price to pay.) Pelham, S. & Abrams, L. (2014, Mar). "Cognitive advantages and disadvantages in early and late bilinguals." Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol 40(2), 313-325.
February 27, 2014: Bored students do not do well in school. While that seems an obvious statement to many of us, unfortunately boredom is an often overlooked emotion in education and the research. A new study out shows the robust relationship between boredom and academic achievement. They are strongly negatively correlated and feed each other. Boredom leads to low academic achievement which then leads to greater boredom. Pekrum, R. et al (2014). "Boredom and Academic Achievement: Testing a Model of Reciprocal Causation." Journal of Educational Psychology, Feb 24 preview, no page specified.
25, 2014: Most of you are aware of the cautions given parents about
TV, video and other "screen time" for young children. Need
more research to show how baby media products don't work, let alone
do damage? A new study out this month shows a trial using over 100 infants,
from 9 months to 18 months and media purporting to teach babies to read.
Half were sent through the DVD, flashcard program and half were in the
control group who had no formal attempt to teach reading. After 7 months,
the children were measured for precursor skills such as letter naming
and print awareness and vocabulary and comprehension along with eye-tracking
tasks. Results? Babies do not learn to read using baby media, despite
the claims made by the program manufacturers.
27, 2014: Adolescents are more apt to engage in risky behavior in
the presence of peers, even when the risks of the behavior are explicitly
given. An interesting new research study had adolescents engage in a
gambling activity where the risks of loss were clearly given in each
task. Half the teens were working the activity alone and half were told
that an unknown peer was observing them from another room. Those that
thought a peer was watching were far more likely to take a gamble, especially
when the risk of loss was great.
January 24, 2014: More reserach showing the effects of television on preschool brain development. This time research shows the definite relationship between television exposure in young children and Executive Function. One more reason to limit or ban television before the age of two. Nathanson, A. et al (2014). "The Relation Between Television Exposure and Executive Function Among Preschoolers." Developmental Psychology, Jan 20 preview, nps.
January 15, 2014: Many have long suspected that there is a relationship between physical fitness and cognitive fitness. We know are seeing the research to support this. Researchers have used neuroelectric and behavioral measures to examine various brain region efficiency in a variety of preadolescent children. What they found is that higher fit children have greater task performance on cognitive tests and better attention. So there does appear to be a relationship between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in children. More support for PE, recess, and extracurricular sports. Wu, C & Hillman, C. (2013). "Aerobic fitness and the attentional blink in preadolescent children." Neuropsychology, Vol 27(6), 642-653.
13, 2013: Spanking children slows down their mental development
and lowers the probability of a child doing well in school. So says
a compilation of research done on spanking over the past 4 decades.
Children who are spanked, have slower cognitive development and are
at an increased risk for antisocial and criminal behavior. An
new book by Murray Straus, leading researcher from the University of
New Hampshire, titled The
Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence,
and Crime, summarizes the research in the field and promotes the
United Nations recommendation to ban spanking across the globe.
November 19, 2013: Adolescents who have parents with substance abuse disorders are more at risk for also developing substance abuse disorders. A new study shows that 2 brain regions can predict adolescents as risk. When exposed to situations where they could anticipate money or enticing food, those at-risk adolescents showed greater brain activation in the brain areas responsible for reward. The study further supports adolescents at risk of substance abuse tend to have highly sensitive reward regions in the brain. Stice, E. & Yokum, S. (2013). "Brain Reward Region Responsivity of Adolescents With and Without Parental Substance Use Disorders." Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Oct 14 preview, nps.
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