Eating breakfast raises child IQ

18 February 2013
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A new research study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing indicates that children whom regularly eat breakfast had “significantly higher full scale, verbal, and performance IQ test scores.” The researchers suggested that this may be the combined effect of the brain’s fuel intake and the associated social interaction during this meal. The study was conducted on over 1250 Chinese children. Read more here

It pays to praise your toddler’s efforts.

14 February 2013
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New research paper “Parent Praise to 1-3 Year Olds Predicts Children’s Motivational Frameworks 5 years Later” from the University of Chicago highlights the importance of praising young children for their efforts, rather than just praising the child for their attributes. Those children who received ‘process praise” such as “good idea” and “good effort” went on, five years later, to have more positive attitudes about their abilities to overcome problems and develop strategies. Read more here

ADHD diagnosis on the rise

22 January 2013
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A recent study of 840,000 children in California has indicated a significant rise, of 24%, in the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Darios Getahun, researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Group, confirmed that the instances of ADHD in boys within the study was three times as high as in girls and that it was more prevalent in higher income families: although that this might be accounted for by greater parental interest in their school performance. Dr Benjamin Lahey of the University of Chicago suggests that the study is more...

The psychology of natural disasters

31 October 2012
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The recent storms to hit the US are a reminder to think about the psychological consequences of natural disasters and how they effect children and families.  Survivors tend to look for leadership and stability in the wake of this sort of shocking change to their environment. Children need to understand the event and be returned to a reassuring routine. Read more about disasters in the school context here Read more from the American Psychology Association

What’s it like to have ADHD?

30 October 2012
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A recent study, by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh, asking children how they feel about ADHD and possible treatment has identified that the children feel that their medication helps them control their reactions and gives them time in which to think before acting. The children also said that they wanted additional treatment options, however: long waiting lists for children’s behavioral treatments means that there is currently little alternative by rely on prescribing drug treatments. “One of the messages that children have is that they want more treatment options outside of medication,...

Puppies maybe cute but are too young to empathise

28 October 2012
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A recent Swedish study into yawning responses in dogs found that whilst older dogs tended to yawn and become tired, contagiously, when handlers yawned, puppies under seven months had no such response. This indicates that  empathy in dogs does not develop until late in their 1st year. Children do not demonstrate the same response until around four years of age. Read more here

Parents overestimate their children’s happiness

26 October 2012
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  It has long been recognised that parents tend to exaggerate their children’s intellectual, social and sporting abilities but a recent study indicated that parents are also inclined to see their children as less anxious and more optimistic  than they really are. Kristin Lagattuta’s research indicates that adult’s interpretations of children’s happiness can not be trusted but hopes that it will lead parents to be better attuned to their children’s emotional difficulties. Read more here

The secret behind computer game addiction?

24 October 2012
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The success of the simple puzzle game Tetris may be down to the brain’s desire for tidiness. The Zeigarnik Effect, whereby unresolved problems stick in the mind, even if they are forgotten immediately afterwards, may hold the key to why so many millions of hours have been spent, across the globe on games like Tetris. The same phenomena can also be identified in the prolific expansion of online games such as the Sims: taking advantage of our natural desire to tidy up lose ends. Read more on the BBC here

Can young blood refresh the brain cells other elixirs cannot reach?

19 October 2012
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We have all heard the legends of vampers, living for centuries on the blood of young women. Now, researchers form Stamford University have shown that not only can brain cell growth in old adults be promoted by the infusion of blood from adolescents, but that these changes are directly linked to improved memory and further tests have demonstrated improvement of recall in subjects. At the moment the tests have been restricted to mice but the medical and social impact of these results should be interesting. Read more here 

Three genes determine your child’s academic achievement

11 October 2012
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Kevin Beaver of Florida State University has identified that three genes DAT1, DRD2 and DRD4 predict levels of academic achievement. So does this mean that we are soon to be condemned to a world in which our lives are determined at birth, populated by genetic elites and a DNA underclass? The vision of our future depicted in the 1997 film Gattaca (pictured) highlights the age old struggle between nature and nurture, predetermined potential and the benefits and disadvantages afforded to us by our environment. The 1994 book “The Bell Curve” argues for accepting the determinist view and...

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