You Might Have Been Five Inches Shorter

If you had grown up in a 19th century factory, you would have probably been 5 inches shorter and trapped in a life of ignorance and poor health. Social reformers helped abolish inhumane working conditions in Victorian England. But many kids -- in "first world" countries as well as developing nations -- still face terrible hardships. Can today's reformers improve their lot?

Why Do Humans Have to Cut Their Hair?

Humans have a hair problem. It never stops growing. Why did our ancestors evolve such high-maintenance heads?

The Curse of the Herd

Are your preferences really your own? Studies suggest that some people don't make independent judgments about beauty, music, morality, or even basic perceptual facts. They conform, and they do so from a very early age. When this human tendency is combined with intense social pressures, what happens to a child's mind? To his right to question and think for himself?

Can We Raise a New Generation of Critical Thinkers?

It's important to realize that our perceptions are subjective and prone to error. But does that mean we give up on trying to discover the truth?

Can We Outsmart Our Painful Performance Anxieties?

New research suggests that math anxiety can trigger a neural pain response. That sounds bad, but there is hopeful news. Maybe we can outsmart our anxieties with a fresh, creative approach to education.

'Babies Can't Remember' Is Bunk

Pigeons remember. Wasps remember. Can anyone really believe that human babies don't remember? The evidence is overwhelming. Yet some intelligent people ignore it—and our babies may pay a price.

Parents Have Always Been Subsidized

Our ancestors didn't raise those needy, big-brained babies by themselves. The oldest economy in the world—hunting and gathering—depends on hand-outs and a communal sharing of resources.

Is Parenting Guilt Inevitable?

Many good, conscientious parents are plagued by feelings of guilt. Are these feelings an unavoidable side-effect of raising children? Or is our culture to blame?

Is High-Tech Multitasking Making Us Dangerously Stupid?

Research suggests that only a tiny minority can perform two tasks at once without paying a cost. But the rest of us seem hell-bent on multitasking anyway. What happens when you raise a whole generation on the premise that fractured attention is business as usual?

Childbirth After 35 Doesn't "Program" Kids For Adult Health Problems

People born to older mothers suffer higher rates of cancer, heart disease, and other life-threatening problems in middle age. Conventional wisdom blames aging eggs and difficult pregnancies. Is conventional wisdom wrong?

Making Fatter Humans

Surprising new research suggests that our ancestors ate less food than we thought. Have we created a modern environment that virtually guarantees people will overeat?

A Chronic Lack of Awe

Sitting at a desk is considerably less awesome than scoping out elephants at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro. Are we suffering from a deficit of awe? Are our children?