15, 2015: Hippocampal
Neurogenesis involves the development of new neurons in the region
of the brain responsible for memory. This process of neurogenesis
may help clear out old memories as well as stabilize new memories
for long term retention. Researchers are now looking at the effects
of chronic stress and depression on this process. Both appear to interfere
with normal hippocampus function and in particular cloud long term
retrieval. Dery, N. et al. (2015, June) "A Role for Adult Hippocampal
Neurogenesis at Multiple Time Scales: A Study of Recent and Remote
Memory in Humans". Behavioral Neuroscience, preview, nps.
19, 2015: School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
is currently implemented in over 20,000 schools in the US. The program
is designed to improve school climate and prevent disruptive behavior.
New research shows that at-risk and high-risk students tend to benefit
the most from the program. Bradshaw, C., et al (2015, May) "Examining
variation in the impact of school-wide positive behavioral interventions
and supports: Findings from a randomized controlled effectiveness
trial." Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 107(2), 546-557.
2, 2015: Education research has long provided evidence to support
homework to improve students' academic performance. However, researchers
are now digging deeper on the details surrounding when, how much and
what types of homework are beneficial. What they found is that student
autonomy in homework is the largest predictor of academic benefit.
When students are allowed to choose if, when and how much, homework
is more beneficial than other factors such as effort and duration.
The optimum time spent on homework was one hour. Fernández-Alonso,
R. et al. (2015). Adolescents' Homework Performance in Mathematics
and Science: Personal Factors and Teaching Practices., Journal of
Educational Psychology, Mar 16 preview, nps.
20, 2015: Helping students with metacognitive skills improves
motivation, learning and future learning - So says new research out
this month. The study involved a 6 hour training session with middle
school students, teaching them the process skills of planning, monitoring
and evaluation. When compared later to a control group, the students
taught metacognitive strategies performed better on tests and had
higher levels of motivation. Zepeda, C. et al. (2015). "Direct Instruction
of Metacognition Benefits Adolescent Science Learning, Transfer, and
Motivation: An In Vivo Study.", Journal of Educational Psychology,
Mar 16 preview, nps.
16, 2015: Teachers, use your big words! New research out compars
reading comprehension progress with middle-schoolers. They compared
beginning of year scores to end of year, from a variety of classrooms.
They then recorded and analyzed teacher's speech in those same classrooms.
Students whose teachers used the more sophisticated vocabulary in
class, significantly improved their reading comprehension as the year
progressed. Gamez, P. & Lesaux, N. (2015) "Early-Adolescents' Reading
Comprehension and the Stability of the Middle School Classroom-Language
Environment." Developmental Psychology, Feb 16 preview, nps
4, 2015: Children who experience close teacher-child relationships
during their early elementary years have stronger receptive language
development. Spilt, J. et al (2014, Dec). " Language Development in
the Early School Years: The Importance of Close Relationships With
Teachers." Developmental Psychology, preview, nps
9, 2015: Perceived control (your belief that your actions can
actually make a difference) changed throughout young adulthood. For
most, it increased between the age of 18 and 25, then decreases slowly
through your thirties into your early 40's. However, having at least
one parent with a college degree changes your perceived control and
it continues throughout most of your mid-adult life, peaking around
age 43. Whether or not you earned a degree seems to have no or little
effect on perceived control, but simply having higher perceived control
by age 18 does make it more likely that you will go on to a university
program. Vargas, L. et al (2015, Jan) "Growth in perceived control
across 25 years from the late teens to midlife: The role of personal
and parents' education. Developmental Psychology, Vol 51(1), 124-135.
30, 2014:Children with dyslexia can write at the same speed as
children without dyslexia. However, on writing tasks, they write less
overall and pause more frequently while writing. In particular they
pause within words due to poor spelling ability. The majority of writing
deficits in children with dyslexia result from non-automated spelling
and within word pausing. Sumner, E.; Connelly, V.; Barnett, A. (2014,
Sept). "The influence of spelling ability on handwriting production:
Children with and without dyslexia." Journal of Experimental Psychology:
Learning, Memory and Cognition, Vol 40(5), 1441-1447.
2, 2014: Does having a grandparent in the house during your preschool
years make a difference in school readiness? That may depend on your
culture and ethnicity. A longitudinal study looked at children raised
in 3-generation households (grandparent, parent, child) versus parent
only households. Researchers found that 3-generation households were
associated with lower levels of expressive language for White, Asian,
and Black children but more expressive language for Hispanic children.
Pilkauskas, N. (2014, Dec) "Living with a grandparent and parent in
early childhood: Associations with school readiness and differences
by demographic characteristics." Developmental Psychology, Vol 50(12),
22, 2014: What makes a good, supportive parent? Apparently it
all starts way back to the early years of that person's life. New
longitudinal research out now shows that people who have a sensitive,
caregiving mother during the first 3 years of their life, do better
with friendships and peer relationships in school, partner relationships
in young adulthood, and parenting their own children. Raby, K. et
al. (2014). "The Interpersonal Antecedents of Supportive Parenting:
A Prospective, Longitudinal Study From Infancy to Adulthood."
Developmental Psychology, Nov 24 preview, no page specified.
10, 2014: Gender gaps continue for math and science literacy in
the US. The latest data analysis from the National Assessment of Educational
Progress shows that in terms of math / science achievement, boys are
still favored over girls right through 12th grade. And when we compare
high achievers in math and science, the statistics are quite a wide
margin. High achieving males outnumber females two to one. Reilly,
D.; Neumann, D.; Andrews, G. (2014). " Sex Differences in Mathematics
and Science Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of National Assessment of
Educational Progress Assessments. Journal of Educational Psychology,
Nov 10 preview, nps.
20, 2014: We generally think of someone with high levels of Emotional
Intelligence (EI) in a positive way. EI is associated with empathy,
understanding and positive responses. But some new research shows
that female adolescents and young adults who score high for EI also
can have greater sensation seeking needs and thus delinquency. In
fact, high EI scores directly correlated to higher self-reports of
truancy from school, taking drugs and violence. Bacon, A et al (2014).
Sex Differences in the Relationship Between Sensation Seeking, Trait
Emotional Intelligence and Deliquent Behavior". Journal of Forensic
Psychiatry & Psychology, 25 (6), 673-683.
25, 2014: Presenting math practice problems in a variety of formats
can help students' computational fluency. A new study compared teaching
basic addition problems using 2 different workbooks. The traditional
workbook had problems presented in the traditional (2 +3 = __ ) format
using a random assortment of problems. The modified workbook had some
traditional presentations, some with the operation on the right side
(as in ___ = 2+3) and grouped similar solution problems together.
Children using the modified format had a better understanding of the
math and the postivie results continued even 6 months after the learning.
McNeil, N. et al (2014) Arithmetic Practice Can Be Modified to Promote
Understanding of Mathematical Equivalence. Journal of Educational
Psychology. Aug issue preview, nps.
24, 2014: The large increase in daily caloric intake seen in the
US over the past half-century is due mostly to an increase in saturated
fates and refined carbohydrates. New research shows a diet high in
these two items (so called High Energy Diets) has a negative effect
on hippocampal function which includes a decrease in synaptic platicity,
and neurogenesis. High Energy Diets also negate any postivie effect
of emotional arousal on learning. Ross, A.; Darling, J; & Parent,
M. (2013). "High Energy Diets Prevent the Enhancing Effects of
Emotional Arousal on Memory." Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol 127(5),
11, 2014: Thousands
of new neurons are made every day in your brain, mostly in the hippocampus.
But the vast majority of them die within a few weeks time. Stress,
opiates and alcohol all can reduce the rate of production. Exercise,
sexual activity and drugs such as prozac increase the rate of cell
production. If learning occurs while the cells are newly formed, many
will not die, but carry on to perform function. However the learning
must be something that requires effort, yet do-able. So effortful,
but possible learning increases motivation and keep new neurons alive.
Shors, T. (2014) "Mental and Physical Training Keeps New Neurons
Alive" presented August 7, 2014 at the American Psychological
Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC.
11, 2014: Learning a foreign language or taking music lessons
anytime during your childhood or teenage years helps protect you from
Cognitive Impairment later in life. New research out this week shows
that in a longitudinal study of nearly 1000 older persons, those who
had music instruction and /or learned a foreign language before the
age of 18, not only scored higher on initial tests of cognitive function,
but were much less likely to suffer Mild Cognitive Impairment in old
age. While a 2nd language and music lessons won't slow down your decline
as you age, it does appear to give you a cognitive boost and protects
against impairment. Wilson, R. et al (2014). " Early Life Instruction
in Foreign Language and Music and Incidence of Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Neuropsychology (Aug 11 preview).
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