Meet the researchers
The following articles are about Meet the researchers:
December 20, 2011
Have you ever noticed that your toddler spends more time playing with the gift-wrapping than the present that was wrapped inside? Or that your older children lose interest in a new toy if that toy has just one way to play with it, and instead gravitate back to materials, like blocks, crayons, miniature animals or iPads where the possibilities are endless?
It is holiday season and so for blogs I have been writing on the researchers and neuroscientists who have genuinely inspired me in my 11-year journey to create Mind in the Making, I am sharing the story of Laura Schulz of MIT. Her studies help explain what curiosity is and thus how to promote children's curiosity in the gifts we give them.
I am not sure about other parents, but I didn't think too much about curiosity except to assume that my children were naturally curious. They wondered about everything that was new and were bursting with endless questions: "What's that?" And, "Why, why, why." Interestingly, however, the research on children's curiosity reveals that is it far more complex than this.
Laura Schulz has been being curious about curiosity throughout her career and finds not surprisingly, that children -- in fact all of us -- are curious about what's new. But there are other drivers of curiosity. Schulz explains:
We often seem to be curious about things that aren't particularly novel -- they just puzzle us.
Her quest to understand curiosity has led to new insights:read more
December 03, 2011
This blog is continues my series to share the research of child development researchers and neuroscientists who have genuinely inspired me in my 11-year journey to create "Mind in the Making." Their work is truly "research to live by."
read moreOn Saturday mornings, Berry [Brazelton] and Jerry Bruner [the psychologist, now at New York University] and I would go to the newborn nurseries and examine babies together. We did this for seven, eight months in a row. Berry would show us things about babies that we had no idea babies could possibly do, and then we would talk about it afterward. It was just the most exciting sort of thing! The social development in infants had never really been studied. Pretty much at that point in time I said, “This is what I’m going to do.”
October 26, 2011
This blog continues my series to share the research of child development researchers and neuroscientists who have genuinely inspired me in my 11-year journey to create Mind in the Making. Their work is truly "research to live by."
I am sharing the story of Anne Fernald of Stanford University because her studies provide important insights into helping children learn to communicate. This is an increasingly salient issue in our times where there is widespread concern that communicating has been reduced to spitting out sound bites rather than illuminating the complexities of situations, texting rather than connecting, and reducing thoughts to 140 characters.
Anne Fernald has been a pioneering researcher in studying the origins of human communication, but she didn't start out to do this kind of work. Her original interests were in literature. All of that changed when she went to live in Germany, far from home, surrounded by a language, German, that she initially didn't understand. The stark contrast in the culture and the language caused her to look back not only on her own culture and language in new ways, but also to begin to probe the very nature of communication. This was accelerated by the birth of her two children. Fernald says, "Our children were born there. Becoming a parent in another language is a wonderful experience because it gave me distance."
September 21, 2011
This blog continues my series on the child development researchers and neuroscientists who have genuinely inspired me in my 11-year journey to create Mind in the Making. Their work is truly "research to live by."
I am sharing the story of J. Lawrence (Larry) Aber of New York University because his studies provide important insights into reducing conflict and aggression in children, an issue of great importance in our conflict-laden world. But I am also sharing his story because it illustrates the principle that in research -- as in life -- there can be many missteps before the right path is found.
In fact, this is one of the things that I most love about conducting research myself: it is an adventure. Like scaling a mountain peak or kayaking in rough waters, the researcher sets out on a journey, armed with experience and knowledge, but never fully knowing what he or she might find. Sometimes the path is clear, but usually it's fraught with uncertainty, unexpected challenges and wrong turns.
The experiences of Larry Aber of New York University illustrate this point. In studying of aggression in children, Larry Aber had findings from his and others' research, but they weren't very strong findings. So he too kept looking.
September 06, 2011
This blog is the second in a series to share the research of child development researchers and neuroscientists who have genuinely inspired me in my 11-year journey to create "Mind in the Making". Their work is truly "research to live by."
I am sharing the story of Carol Dweck of Stanford University because her studies provide important insights into unlocking the secrets of the children who don't wilt in the face of setbacks. Like many researchers, she can trace her passion for her work to a childhood experience -- in this case a fear of losing her seat in the front of her grade school class. As she tells it:
If I had to trace this back, I'd trace it back to my sixth-grade class. Our teacher, Mrs. Wilson, seated us around the room in IQ order. She thought that your IQ score summarized you -- not just your intelligence, but your character as well. She would not let a lower-IQ student carry a note to the principal, erase the blackboard, or carry the flag in the assembly.
I was so aware of how I had loved to learn before, but in that class, it was "look smart at all costs." I was fascinated with people who could take on something difficult, roll with the punches, get up again, start again. I was fascinated by resilience, so I just wanted to figure it out.