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Decoding the mysteries of a child’s developing brain

The Washington Post – Jenna Gallegos

It’s back-to-school season. Parents mark their youngsters’ height on the wall and marvel at how much they’ve grown, but what’s going on just below the pencil line in that child’s brain? We know brain development continues from infancy to adulthood, but many parents underestimate how much a child’s brain changes from year to year and how those changes can influence behavior.”(more)

Fascinating: Schools are using brain science to guide edtech decisions

E-School News – Leo Doran

“What happens when a school district uses the latest in brain science to inform its edtech purchasing decisions? Students become more engaged and test scores go up, according to school district officials who shared their experiences at a brain science conference. “Brain Futures” was a two-day event that attracted high-profile neurologists, psychiatrists, and researchers from all over the country. General sessions included presentations on the latest findings in brain health and the military’s ongoing battle with Traumatic Brain Injury. A series of breakout sessions on the conference’s second day, however, focused mainly on what brain science research has to offer for the education system.”(more)

Bilingual Kids Learn New Languages Better

The U.S. News and World Report – Robert Preidt

“Bilingual children have an easier time learning additional languages later in life than those who speak only one language, researchers report. For a new, small study, researchers included 13 college students who learned English and Mandarin at a young age, and 16 college students who spoke only English.”(more)

Why Teenage Brains Are So Hard to Understand

Time – Alexandra Sifferlin

When Frances Jensen’s eldest son, Andrew, reached high school, he underwent a transformation. Frances’s calm, predictable child changed his hair color from brown to black and started wearing bolder clothing. It felt as if he turned into an angst-filled teenager overnight. Jensen, now the chair of the neurology department at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, wondered what happened and whether Andrew’s younger brother would undergo the same metamorphosis. So she decided to use her skills as a neuroscientist to explore what was happening under the hood. “I realized I had an experiment going on in my own home,” says Jensen, author of The Teenage Brain..”(more)

Really? Really. How Our Brains Figure Out What Words Mean Based On How They’re Said

KQED News Mind/Shift – Jon Hamilton

“It’s not just what you say that matters. It’s how you say it. Take the phrase, “Here’s Johnny.” When Ed McMahon used it to introduce Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, the words were an enthusiastic greeting. But in The Shining, Jack Nicholson used the same two words to convey murderous intent. Now scientists are reporting in the journal Science that they have identified specialized brain cells that help us understand what a speaker really means. These cells do this by keeping track of changes in the pitch of the voice.”(more)

At what age do kids recognise fairness?

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Children as young as seven have the same capacity as adults to make judgements on the anti-social behaviour of others. A study led by University of Queensland School of Psychology researcher Matti Wilks found that older kids (aged 7–8), but not younger ones (aged 4–5), see antisocial behaviour as an important influence on their social groups. “Once children reach the age of seven they are able to take multiple, and often competing factors into consideration when making judgements about groups of people,” Ms Wilks said. Researchers studied the older children and the younger children separately, and in each study the children were allocated to either the red group or the yellow group.”(more)