Dr Kathie Nunley
___connecting current psychological and neurological research to education

Hot Topics || Layered Curriculum || BOOKSHOP || Kathie's Newsletter || Articles for parents & teachers || I Workshops & Keynotes || Contact Info

Articles to Read Now
(for Teachers, Parents & Policy Makers)

NEW: Asperger's and PDD Gone! Now What? The new Autism Spectrum Disorder

If the Thought of Flipping Your Classroom Makes You Dizzy, Tip It Sideways Instead

America's Absolutely Wonderful Education System

Multiple Intelligences - 25 Years In

Adolescent depression and self-esteem.

Why Punishment-Based Systems Don't Work

Money as a Reward

Brain Biology: it's basic gardening

Drug Effects on the Brain

Stress and Memory

The Caffeine Craze of Youth

Your Brain on Drugs

How the adolescent brain challenges the adult brain

You're Feeling Very Sleepy

Keeping Pace with Today's Quick Brains

The Advantages of Bilingualism


Video Lessons, Tips & Hot Topics in Research
Attention Deficit Disorder

The importance of PE and Recess

Asperger's vs High Functioning Autism

View ALL our videos at:

Research Making News RIGHT NOW

September 11, 2014: Thousands of new neurons are made every day in your brain, mostly in the hippocampus. But the vast majority of them die within a few weeks time. Stress, opiates and alcohol all can reduce the rate of production. Exercise, sexual activity and drugs such as prozac increase the rate of cell production. If learning occurs while the cells are newly formed, many will not die, but carry on to perform function. However the learning must be something that requires effort, yet do-able. So effortful, but possible learning increases motivation and keep new neurons alive. Shors, T. (2014) "Mental and Physical Training Keeps New Neurons Alive" presented August 7, 2014 at the American Psychological Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

August 11, 2014: Learning a foreign language or taking music lessons anytime during your childhood or teenage years helps protect you from Cognitive Impairment later in life. New research out this week shows that in a longitudinal study of nearly 1000 older persons, those who had music instruction and /or learned a foreign language before the age of 18, not only scored higher on initial tests of cognitive function, but were much less likely to suffer Mild Cognitive Impairment in old age. While a 2nd language and music lessons won't slow down your decline as you age, it does appear to give you a cognitive boost and protects against impairment. Wilson, R. et al (2014). " Early Life Instruction in Foreign Language and Music and Incidence of Mild Cognitive Impairment. Neuropsychology (Aug 11 preview).

August 6, 2014: Boredom is an important, yet often overlooked, academic emotion. So says new research which measured the relationship between boredom and academic achievement in courses. They found that boredom had consistently negative effects on academic performance, and then the poor performance had consistently negative effects on subsequent boredom. Pekrun, R. et al. (2014). "Boredom and academic achievement: Testing a model of reciprocal causation."Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 106(3), 696-710.

July 21, 2014: Despite rumors to the contrary, the new school meal standards are NOT leading to more food waste among students. This according to new research released this summer. Data was collected on food selection, consumption and plate waste at several urban, low-income school districts. Turns out that fruit selection increased by 23%. Entree and vegetable consumption rates increased and plate waste decreased. Cohen, J. et al. (2014). "Impact of the New US Department of Agriculture School Meal Standards on Food Selection, Consumption and Waast. Am Journal of Preventive Medicine. Vol 46, 4. 388-394.

May 20, 2014: Nutrition plays a major role in academic success. Students who eat a balanced and nutritious diet not only maintain their weight, they are more alert, have better cognition, memory and problem solving skills and higher overall achievement. However, 7% of college students claim to eat NO fruits or vegetables daily. University of Massachusetts, Boston online at: http://umb.edu/healthservices/

April 27, 2014: Taking a walk, especially outside, boosts creativity. Researchers have discovered that walking leads to more creative and divergent thinking - both while walking and right after walking. They had 4 groups of participants either sit indoors, walk an indoor treadmill, walk outside or be wheeled around outside, then tested them all using a test for creative thinking and problem solving. Those that walked scored higher and those that walked outside had the biggest creative boost. Oppezzo, M. & Schwartz, D. (2014). "Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking." Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Apr 21 preview, nps

April 21, 2014: A new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that there appears to be a relationship between low levels of Vitamin D and cognitive decline as we age. The researchers measured Vitamin D levels in 3000 participants between the age of 70 and 79. They also measured cognitive function. Four years later they retested the participants and found those with the lowest Vitamin D levels had the greatest cognitive decline. Wilson, V. et al (2014). " Relationship Between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol 62 (4): 636

April 17, 2014: Student football players are subject to repeated head impacts throughout the season. New research shows that even without a concussion, these head impacts cause changes in brain white matter and that these changes can be seen even 6 months after the end of the sports season. Bazarian, J et al. (2014) Persistent, Long-term Cerebral White Matter Changes after Sports-Related Repetitive Head Impacts. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94734.

April 6, 2014: Children with moderate to severe protein deficiencies during the first year of life, can catch up in growth, if their malnutrition is corrected during the first 12 years. However, the early life malnutrition affects neurocognitive function throughout their life. Even in adulthood, those who had early malnutrition score lower on measures of cognitive flexibility and concept formation, as well as initiation, verbal fluency, working memory, processing speed, and visuospatial integration. Waber, D., et al. (2014). "Neuropsychological Outcomes at Midlife Following Moderate to Severe Malnutrition in Infancy." Neuropsychology, Mar 17 preview, nps

March 25, 2014: Text comprehension is especially important in secondary education. The faster students can read a text, the higher their comprehension. Researchers used eye tracking data and comprehension tests to see how text layout and the use of connective words such as "therefore" and "futhermore" affect reading speed. Texts with a continueous layout (as opposed to starting sentences on new lines) allow students to read faster. Connective word speed up student processing of the material. So texts which use continuous layout and utilize connective words seem to produce the best reading comprehension test scores. VanSilfout, G et al (2014). "Connectives and Layout as Processing Signals: How Textual Features Affect Studentsí Processing and Text Representation." Journal of Educational Psychology, Mar 17 preview, nps.

©1999 - current year
Layered Curriculum® is a trademark developed and registered to
Dr Kathie F Nunley.
Inquire for usage.

Workshops & Conference Presentations:
Looking for an information-packed, entertaining and practical teacher workshop for your district? Dr Nunley is available for keynotees, breakout sessions and full day workshops on brain-based learning and her differentiated model, Layered Curriculum.
On-Site Workshop Information


Dr. Kathie F Nunley


Our advertisers help support our Uganda Project

Humanatarian Efforts & Community Work

Helping Springs Alive Village School in Kakiri, Uganda
Watch our documentary and find out how you can help


Dr Nunley on the set of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition


Our business office is located at: 54 Ponemah Rd., Amherst, NH 03031