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Posts Tagged "executive function"

Streams of Consciousness

Cultivate Your Character [Video]

The term “character” has numerous and widely varied meanings. It defines each of these letters and symbols I am typing. It can be used to refer to features of wines, and it captures fictional folks in movies in books. I often call funny or stand-out individuals “characters,” too. In psychology, however, “character” most often adheres [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Who Needs Stimulants for ADHD?

Ritalin. Courtesy of en:User:Sponge via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1970, 150,000 U.S. children were taking stimulant medications. By 2007, that number had risen to 2.7 million, according to pediatrician Sanford Newmark of the University of California, San Francisco. In the video embedded in this post, titled “Do 2.5 Million Kids Really Need Ritalin?” Newmark analyzes the reasons behind the rise in prescriptions, which [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

When Is Stress Good for You? [Video]

Courtesy of Ashley Campbell Photography via Flickr.

We hear a lot about the downsides of stress. Too much of it can impair thinking, harm our health and, more prosaically, put us in a bad mood. But anyone who pontificates about the risks of chronic stress would be remiss in not pointing out that some measure of psychological tension is an important (not [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Hear Me Talk about Social and Emotional Learning!

On Monday, May 13, at 7pm, I’ll be moderating a panel at The New York Academy of Sciences. If you are in the area, please attend! Here a description of the event: Social and Emotional Learning: Preparing Our Children to Excel Monday, May 13, 2013 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM The New York Academy [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

How to Make Kids Smarter—and Ease Existential Terror

A few months ago, I logged on to Lumosity.com to play my daily dose of brain games. The company had given me a free, temporary account so that I could try out their system as part of my research for an article I was writing on brain training. My then 11-year-old son wanted to play, [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Do Music Lessons Make You Smarter?

Practice makes progress, if not perfection, for most things in life. Generally, practicing a skill—be it basketball, chess or the tuba—mostly makes you better at whatever it was you practiced. Even related areas do not benefit much. Doing intensive basketball drills does not usually make a person particularly good at football. Chess experts are not [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Learn to Live in the Now [Video]

Being mindful means being acutely aware of what is happening now—rather than drifting into the past or musing about the future—without emotionally reacting to these ongoing events. Maintaining a focus on the present is associated with a variety of improvements to physical and mental health. Practicing mindfulness can also enhance key aspects of intellect—in particular, [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

The Education of Character: Jumping Jacks for the Mind [Video]

One of the hardest aspects of school for young children is in some ways the simplest: sitting still. Recess is the time worn antidote to such restlessness. But regular physical exercise is also generally important to academic performance—and not just for young students. It can help boost various types of cognition in kids into the [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

The Education of Character: Your Brain in a Coke Bottle [Video]

Emotion is a powerful driver of behavior, sometimes too powerful. Virtually everyone has had the experience of reacting in the heat of the moment only to later regret his or her words or deed. An almond-shaped structure in the center of the brain called the amygdala is a hub for emotional responses. When it’s in [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

The Education of Character—Stoking Memory with Stones [Video]

In MindUP, a social and emotional learning program pioneered by actor Goldie Hawn, children learn to be mindful—that is, attuned to the present without judgment. This skill engenders a healthy outlook on life, hones the ability to pay attention and creates a sense of calm, preparing the mind for learning. (For more on the brain [...]

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