The importance of art education

Post-Crescent Media – Anne Baruth

“Making art is more than an enjoyable pastime. It involves ongoing step-by-step, moment-by-moment creative problem-solving exercises of the brain — producing thinking patterns and abilities that transfer to other areas of life. Researchers who study creative development in young people tell us that thinking skills used in making visual art — such as experimentation, exploration, invention and imagination — become the foundation for higher-level thinking skills such as synthesis, inquiry and research. Others who assess our swiftly changing, uncertain times are sounding the call: critical thinking skills must be combined with creative thinking skills.”(more)

Autism: New Study Reveals Subtle Differences In Brain Activity Of Men With Autism

HNGN – Tyler MacDonald

“Adult males with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have subtle differences in their brain activity, which may explain why certain symptoms continue into adulthood for some with the disorder, according to a team of researchers from King’s College London. Some of these symptoms include impaired social interactions and reciprocal understanding, repetitive behavior and a narrow range of interests. The study used a novel brain imaging method called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), which is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in order to identify altered brain connections in people with ASD. The team compared the white matter networks, which ensure the connection of various brain regions and enable communication between them, of 61 adults with ASD and 61 controls.”(more)

How Music Helps Language Acquisition

Education Week – Jennifer Paterson

“Musicologists and ethnomusicologists know that music is not only an important driving force of a society’s culture, but also a vital piece in the learning process. This is especially true when it comes to language acquisition. Music is a universal factor when it comes to human development and cognition, making it important for learning languages. If you think about it, the spoken word has a sort of musicality to it. The way we enunciate, our voice inflection, our word choices, and even the volume and speed at which we speak all have a musical effect…our brains process language musically, so there is much to be said of studying music alongside language, and at a very young age…According to professor of theory and music composition Anthony Brandt, children as young as newborns have a basic understanding of music…Brandt said that the sounds of language, not the meaning of it, are what infants first learn…newborns can dissect parts of sound like pitch, timbre, and rhythm. Therefore, exposure to music trains babies’ brains for language comprehension and the art of speaking…The connection between music and language acquisition is powerful, so use it.”(more)

Brains And Babies: 6 Things We’ve Recently Learned About Brain Development In Infants

Medical Daily – Ali Venosa

“Infants, also known as tiny humans, have bodies and medical issues that can differ greatly from their fully-grown counterparts. Perhaps most glaringly, infant brains tend to be far more difficult to understand than adult brains, mostly because infants can’t communicate as well as adults. We can’t ask babies what they think or feel, so we rely on behavioral clues and scans that show the neurological workings of their brains. Despite these difficulties, we’ve discovered some pretty important things about the brains of our tiniest members of society in the last few years.”(more)

Texting In The Dark Hits Student Grades

Forbes – Nick Morrison

“Students who text in the dark get less sleep and perform worse at school than those who put down their phones when they switch off their lights. New research suggests that the sleep-delaying impact of ‘blue light’ emitted from phones is intensified in the dark, and results in students feeling sleepier during the day and performing worse in tests. In contrast, texting before lights out was found to have no impact on academic performance. The study adds to a small but growing body of evidence on the importance of sleep for teenage brains, suggesting it should be given the same weight as nutrition and exercise in promoting healthy bodies and minds.”(more)

Cell-Phone Distracted Parenting Can Have Long-Term Consequences: Study

Time- Alice Park

“Few things require more hands-on attention than a young child. And there’s little that’s more distracting than the constant bleeping of our cells phones. When these two things compete for our attention, the results can be sobering. In a new animal-based study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, scientists show that distracted parental attention may sometimes have detrimental effects on babies’ development, especially their ability to process pleasure. The study involved rats, but the implications, says one of the senior authors, could be very relevant for many parent-baby interactions in our technology-obsessed world.”(more)