Kathie Nunley connects current psychological and neurological
Hot Topics || Layered Curriculum || BOOKSHOP || Kathie's BLOG || Articles for parents & teachers || I Workshops & Keynotes || Contact Info
Research Making News RIGHT NOW
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.
November 5 , 2013: People who are bilingual tend to have better memory function and better executive function than monolinguals. However bilingualism does not appear to protect you against dementia due to aging. A new longitudinal study tracked both Spanish / English speaking persons and English only speaking for 23 years. At the onset, those who were bilingual scored higher on memory tests and tests for executive function, but it did not have any effect on whether or not they developed dementia. Zahodne, L. et al (2013). "Bilingualism Does Not Alter Cognitive Decline or Dementia Risk Among Spanish-Speaking Immigrants.". Neuropsychology, Nov 4 preview, no page specified.
October 1, 2013: : By 6th grade, there is already a significant difference among students in how well they understand and can use fraction in mathematics. But by grade 8, that achievement gap has grown significantly. Low achieving math students in grade 6, continue to score consistently low in grade 8, whereas the higher achieving students scores raise significantly, causing a much wider gap in fraction knowledge and use. Siegler, R. & Pyke, A. (2013, Oct). "Developmental and individual differences in understanding of fractions." Developmental Psychology, Vol 49(10), 1994-2004.
September 26, 2013: New Research out of The Ohio State University may cause us to rethink some curriculum and behavioral issues for children in early elementary. We used to think that episodic memory (memory for personal history/events) was developed by age 4, but we can now see that some of it doesn't develop until after age 7. Young children between 4 and 7 can usually recall and remember events, but frequently confuse the sequence or the "when". So chronological history may be confusing, as will recalling interpersonal events happening in the social setting of school. Sloutsky, V. et al. (2013, Sept). "The Development of Episodic Memory Items, Contexts, and Relations" Psychological Science, online preview, nps.
September 20, 2013: People with autism, schizophrenia and various intellectual disabilities all share a common brain abnormality - problems with the structure of dendritic spines. Without correct spine morphology, the neurons have problems communicating with each other. New research now pinpoints the problem to a gene called CYFIP1. This gene is responsible for protein translation and actin polymerization in neurons - and is to blame for the dysfunctional spine formations. De Rubels, S. et al (2013, Sept 18). "CYFIP1 Coordinates mRNA Translation and Cytoskeleton Remodeling to Ensure Proper Dendritic Spine Formation." Neuron, Vol 79(6), 1169-1182.
19, 2013: Adaptive technology benefits math students. However, boys
and girls do not benefit equally from the same technology / software.
There is a definite gender difference - so say a compilation study.
Girls most often sought out the help provided by the system, used hints
and do best when affective"learning companions" were part
of the on-screen experience. They are most productive and get the most
out of the programs when the helping companions were female characters.
Boys on the other hand learned best when there are no learning companions
in the program, especially female characters - those caused the worst
performance. Arroyo, I. et al. (2013, Sept 16). "Gender Differences
in the Use and Benefit of Advanced Learning Technologies for Mathematics."
Journal of Educational Psychology, preview.
17, 2013: Persons with ADHD often have difficulty estimating elapsed
time, which can lead to problems in day-to-day functioning. The brain
area thought to be responsible for accurate time perception is the anterior
cingulated and prefrontal cortex. Researchers used MEG scans to compare
the gamma activity in these regions of persons with ADHD, both medicated
and unmedicated. The unmedicated persons were much less accurate with
time estimation and had weaker gamma activity in both the anterior cingulated
and left prefrontal cortex. After medication the participants had a
significant increase in gamma and improved time estimation accuracy.
Wilson, T. et al. (2013, Sept 16). "Estimating the Passage of Minutes:
Deviant Oscillatory Frontal Activity in Medicated and Unmedicated ADHD"
Neuropsychology, preview nps.
16, 2013: Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have trouble
recalling past personal experiences (episodic thinking). It has been
unclear as to whether or not they also have difficulty projecting future
personal eperience possibilities (episodic future thinking). An interesting
new study set out to discover whether these two events, which share
"scene construction" may indicate a brain region of impairment
in persons with ASD. They had young adults with high functioning ASD
and peer controls describe past and future events, both of persoanl
involvement and not. They found persons with ASD had trouble constructing
scenes for both personal and non-personal recall and projection events.
This seems to indicate that the poor episodic thinking associated with
ASD is the result of deficits in scene constrution. Lind, S. et al (2013).
"Episodic Memory and Episodic Future Thinking Impairments in High-Functioning
Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Underlying Difficulty With Scene Construction
or Self-Projection?" Neuropsychology, Sept 9. preview.
July 30, 2013: More research, again by Blair: Chronic exposure to poverty during a child's early years affects a person's executive funtion. The researchers tracked 1200 children from birth. They found that the stress of financial hardship uniquely predicted a child's score on tests of executive function. Raver, C.; Blair, C. & Willoughby, M. (2013, Feb). "Poverty as a predictor of 4-year-olds' executive function: new perspectives on models of differential susceptibility." Developmental Psychology, Vol 49(2), 292-304.
Blair's research (above and below) is used quite extensively in the book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Articles for Teachers, Parents & Policy Makers
Lessons, Tips & Hot Topics in Research
ALL our videos at:
Need a simple way to differentiate instruction?
You may want to try your hand at Dr Kathie Nunley's LAYERED CURRICULUM®. Thousands of teachers have discovered it is one of the simplest and most effective ways to run a student-centered, differentiated classroom, particularly at the Jr / Sr High School level. You will find hundreds of sample lesson plans posted here from your colleagues around the globe to help you get started.
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
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 advertisers help support our Uganda Project
- current year
Layered Curriculum® is a trademark developed and registered to
Dr Kathie F Nunley.
Inquire for usage.
office is located at: 54
Ponemah Rd., Amherst, NH 03031