Nonverbal Communication in Infancy

Non-verbal communication is one way that we humans interact with one another and express feelings or concerns. Infants, even before they know how to verbally express a thought or feeling, begin to communicate nonverbally.

When Does Bilingualism Help or Hurt?

While many of us share the intuition that learning two languages is better, or believe we’ve been told that from the media or scientific studies, the actual evidence is mixed.

Selling Bridges to Babes

We tell children a host of lies—from the existence of Santa and the Easter Bunny to tales of children who misbehave and receive their just deserts. Do children just believe it all? Are they that gullible?

When Praise Backfires

You know that moment when you pick your kid up from a play date and your child shows you his artwork? If you’re like most other adults, you see this child’s picture and promptly retort “That is the most terrific elephant I’ve seen!” Sometimes it feels the worse the artwork, or the more insecure the child is about its quality, the more over the top our praise.

Children’s Understanding of Death and the Afterlife

A friend’s 4-year-old daughter recently learned that her neighbor’s beloved cat passed away. This was Amy’s first experience with death and she took it hard. Most surprisingly, though less so to cognitive scientists, she seems to believe that despite the cat's brain "being dead" the cat will continue to have thoughts. And her parents are atheists--what gives?

The Mysterious Allure of the Frilly Pink Dress

If your preschool-aged children are anything like the preschool-aged children I know, you likely see many a girl running around in a pink, frilly, princess dress and many a boy in a superhero costume. Parents report they sometimes even insist on sleeping in these outfits. What is with this gender obsessed clothing?

The Earth is Round…Except for the Edges

If you ask your child what shape the world is, she’s likely to say that the world is round. This answer typically makes parents and teachers proud, but is it true?

Knowing What We Know

In a particularly great episode of the Cosby Show, Olivia tells Bill how babies are born. Her logic is impeccable—if completely wrong—yet she lacks the ability to recognize how wrong she is. Clever studies suggest Olivia is not alone in her inability to recognize what she does and does not know. We all seem to get this wrong, time and time again.

"Eeeww, gross!"

Seeing young children eat their own snot disgusts us and makes us wonder why it doesn't disgust them. As adults we don’t just find objects or smells disgusting, we feel disgust thinking about people’s moral actions. When do young children start to experience disgust?

“Hey, That’s My Idea!”

This blog explains why understanding that ideas are more valuable that labor, may be necessary to understanding that copying is bad.

Why Children Suck at Lying

A few months ago a video of 3-year-old John, whose face was covered in sprinkles went viral. John became an internet sensation and guest on the Ellen Degeneres show not because he liked sprinkles, rather because of his insistence, time and time again, that he had NOT eaten the sprinkles. What are children so bad at lying?

Monday, Bloody Monday

If you take a look at the images from Monday’s bombing in Boston, two things pop out immediately. The first beckons most of your attention—the blood, the missing limbs, the physical and psychological pain. The second, is the striking case of the people who, when faced with a bomb, refused to run away.

Are Kids Racist?

Do you remember a time your child made a racist comment and you shrunk away in horror? Or do you believe your child is unaware of race, a true product of Dr. King’s dream? Most White parents tend to fall into these two camps and most of these parents deal with race, by not dealing—they avoid talking about it. Recent research has much to say about this current trend.

Toddler Knows Best

New research indicates that 3-year-old children help "paternalistically"—indicating that they know better than others what's best for them. Much like Bloomberg and his soda ban or state laws requiring seat belts, children understand that sometimes you have to ignore what people say they want now in order to help them accomplish their larger goals instead.