• A Letter To My Son On His 8th Birthday

    I've been a mother for 8 years! But this is not about me.

  • Can Media Actually Help?

    But can media actually be helpful?

  • Can Children Learn From Media?

    How, What, and When Can Children Learn from Media?

  • How Children Connect Learning With Touch Screens

    What do children think is the best tool for the job?

  • Quick Post About E-books

    Of course a new study came out two days after I my last post.

  • Parents Vs. Media

    Parents are better than e-books, but that's not really a fair fight, is it?

  • A Letter To My Daughter On Her Sixth Birthday

    No. I cannot believe my baby girl is 6.

  • A Critical Reading: Can maternal affect predict IQ?

    A report found that maternal affect at 4 months predict IQ at 7 years. Here's what we can and can't conclude.

  • On Princesses and Feminism

    Two studies with disturbing findings and the dilemma every parent of a 5-year-old girl understands

  • Can Preschoolers Think of Something in More Than One Way?

    A new task can be used to measure previously underestimated abilities

  • The Day My Son Stopped Reading

    The story about how my son stopped reading.

  • Between Grief And Parenting

    A look at the parallels between the beginning and the end of life

  • Reflections

    It's the new year. Thankfully.

  • Instruction Limits Exploration

    When we directly instruct children, they explore less. Is that a bad thing?

  • Classroom Environment and Learning

    Classroom Decorations Interfere With Learning

  • A Letter To My Son On His Seventh(!!) Birthday

    My son is 7. SEVEN. When did that happen??

  • Mindfulness: Really?

    Can mindfulness be your tool to deal with the kids in the summer holidays?

  • On Fiction and Real-life

    Some researchers study Santa. Well, they study how kids beliefs in Santa develop. How cool is that??

  • A Letter To My Daughter On Her Fifth Birthday

    A Letter To My Daughter On Her Fifth Birthday

  • Does Sitting Make Babies Smarter?

    A study claims that sitting up affects vocabulary. Conclusion: critical reading is important.

  • Keep Asking Lots Of Questions!

    A study with dads found that asking toddlers wh- questions improves their vocabulary and reasoning skills.

  • On Cognitive Flexibility

    Can preschoolers think about something in more than one way? I explain my doctoral research, which looked at why previous research answered this question in the negative, and why that's not entirely accurate.

  • Gender Bias--Mothers do it too.

    A study found that mothers expect different things from their girls and their boys—when it comes to their motor skills.

  • On Trophy Children and Self-Esteem

    Why depending on your child’s achievements for your self-esteem is bad for your child and for you. We live in a rather posh neighbourhood. There are independent cafés and designer clothes shops everywhere. The kids attending school with my children are unfortunately almost uniformly white, and about 90% of them...

  • New Year Resolutions

    The Dilemma of New Year Resolutions I’m taking stock and trying out a new approach to the science-public connection. New Year Resolutions are ranked rather high on my cliché scale. Everyone is writing about how the resolutions never work, so there’s no point in making them. Lifehack’s Steve Errey even...

  • Number of Books and Education

    Is the lack of physical books problematic for children’s education? So, I read this op-ed in the New-York Times last week (how very scholarly of me…). Teddy Wayne argues that having more digital and less physical books may detract from children’s ability to pick up their parents’ books and be...

  • Helping Children Remember Better

    Can you play memory games to improve your preschooler’s working memory? A new article about an intervention to improve children’s executive functions caught my eye this week. This was done by Emma Blakey, a Ph.D. student at Sheffield University. Interventions are particularly scary for Ph.D. students because if the intervention...

  • A Day At The Museum

    What helps children learn from their visit to the museum? Quick note: you may have noticed the theme changed. I’m trying a new look. It’s a work in progress. Do let me know if you like it! Last week, an opportunity arose when my daughter commissioned her daddy to take...

  • Creativity at One

    It’s nice to have time to read things that are not directly related to my area of research—the perks of being done with the Ph.D… :) So, today I’ll talk about a very neat study looking at divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is what we do when we brainstorm and come...

  • Imitation and Problem Solving: More Complicated Than It Seems

    This week I have an unusual post. I’m going to talk to you about an article that I think has not managed to answer the question it was asking. I haven’t posted about these kinds of articles, because I didn’t think it would be useful. However, this is part of...

  • A Letter To My Son On His Sixth Birthday

    My love, My, how you’ve grown this year. This year was all about science, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be the last year, either. You are so curious and you ask so many questions. You want to know how everything works. And you figured out Google, so it has...

  • The Popularity Contest

    [caption id="attachment_386" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo credit: Pixabay[/caption] I took both my kids to a movie night at their school last week. It was great excitement: coming to school in the evening, wearing pajamas, and watching a movie (complete with popcorn and juice) with all your friends. As you can imagine,...

  • Double Thumbs Up

    [caption id="attachment_314" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: Brendan Riley[/caption] A little while ago I wrote a post about how the way we praise children influences their motivation. Previously, researchers have looked at two specific verbal praises: linking children’s success to a stable trait (e.g., “you’re so smart”) and linking children’s success...

  • On Answering Tough Questions

    How do you answer questions such as "how heavy is the moon?"

  • A Letter To My Daughter On Her Fourth Birthday

    A Letter To My Daughter On Her Fourth Birthday

  • An Oxford Talk

    [caption id="attachment_357" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Random College in Oxford[/caption] In the last little while (ok, long while) I have been busy writing my PhD dissertation. To the outside onlooker, it looks fairly straight-forward: you've done all the work, now you just have to put it in a document. How hard can...

  • A Letter To My Son On His Fifth Birthday

    A letter to my son on his fifth birthday

  • Should We Reward Children For Reading?

    One of the nice perks of our Great European Adventure is that we live in a really big city. One of the features of a big city is that there’s practically whatever you want within a walking distance. For example, the local library is closer to our house than my...

  • A Legal Alien - Again

    [caption id="attachment_347" align="aligncenter" width="275"] Sting[/caption] I published a few weeks ago the long-overdue letter for my daughter’s third birthday. I can’t believe I have been blogging for over two years now. I haven’t written a post in 6 months, but there’s good reason. I’m going to do one more personal...

  • A Letter To My Daughter On Her Third Birthday

    A Letter To My Daughter On Her Third Birthday

  • On Affordances And Raising The Bar

    Some thoughts about affordances. Then, some thoughts about the accessibility of science. My class this week included me stumbling through Karen Adolph’s work on how infants perceive and negotiate physical obstacles. She does awesome work, you should really check her website out. There are also videos. Side note: I have...

  • On Nature, Nurture, and In Between

    So, I’ve been kind of busy. I’ve been doing all kinds of fun stuff, but one that I’m really enjoying (and takes up most of my time now) is teaching an introduction to developmental psychology class. I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I’ve re-discovered how much I love to...

  • Parenting and Self-Regulation

    How we influence our children's behaviour and compliance. [caption id="attachment_333" align="aligncenter" width="198"] Photo credit: athomson[/caption] As I was reading “Bringing Up Bébé” (which is a whole other post that I don’t know if I’ll ever write) it struck me that the author assumes that the way French parents behave makes...

  • Do Kids Use Too Much Media?

    Should we limit screen time or screen content? The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published their new guidelines for children’s media use. This, combined with a new survey that found that about a third of kids under 2 years of age have used a tablet or smartphone, has the potential...

  • You Can’t Always Get What You Want

    [caption id="attachment_327" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: asenat29[/caption] I wrote before about what developmental scientists call “Theory of Mind” – the ability to reason about others’ mental states, such as desires, beliefs, and intentions. This field of research is endlessly fascinating, as there is so much to learn. One of the...

  • A Letter To My Son On His Fourth Birthday

    A letter to my son on his fifth birthday

  • Parents and Bullies

    [caption id="attachment_320" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: Chesi - Fotos CC[/caption] A new meta-analysis shows that there is a relationship between parental behaviour and being a bully. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Virtually all the parents’ blogs I follow mention bullying at some point of the month. I decided to...

  • More than Words

    The way parents praise their children impacts later beliefs about ability. This post is rather longer than usual, but I felt quite a bit of background was needed. Bear with me, as the study is absolutely fascinating. I hope this will spark a discussion in the parenting community about the...

  • Monkey See, Monkey Help

    [caption id="attachment_310" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: CopyrightFreePhotos.HQ101.com[/caption] I love it when my kids play together. Typically, one of them starts something (say, run around the room in circles). The other one would join in, making it a party. Monkeys see and monkeys do, and my little monkeys love to mimic...

  • When One of my Children Goes Neglected

    [caption id="attachment_305" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (Seriously!)[/caption] Motherhood involves a lot of guilt. Apparently, it’s a part of being a mom (although some would argue that there are societal and institutional factors at play). I know dads who experience guilt as well, so it’s...

  • Walk in My Shoes: Can Toddlers Take Another Person’s Perspective?

    [caption id="attachment_302" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: dreamponderCreate[/caption] When my son was just over 3, granny was visiting us. When granny visits, mommy is very happy, because granny gets up with the kids on the weekends and mommy gets to sleep in. That said, since mommy is used to getting up...

  • Child-Driven Learning

    [caption id="attachment_299" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: Lucélia Ribeiro[/caption] When I was in university, I worked in an underdeveloped neighbourhood in south Tel Aviv. One of the girls I worked with was living with her 6 brothers and sisters and her mom in a one-bedroom apartment. Her dad was “away”, which...

  • What Happens When You Get The Stickers Mixed Up?

    [caption id="attachment_295" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Picture Credit: tails4evr[/caption] I’m immensely proud of my lab-mate, Andrea Astle, who a few weeks ago successfully published her MA research. This took a lot of work on her part – the amount of details that one should pay attention to in a 14-pages paper is...

  • Not A Real Post

    [caption id="attachment_292" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Vacationing[/caption] Tomorrow, I’m leaving for a two weeks trip. Actually, we are leaving for a two weeks trip. We are going to meet with grandparents, so I’m going to call it vacation, rather than a family holiday. In terms of scheduling, I hope my next blog...

  • Can You Say Interaction?

    [caption id="attachment_289" align="aligncenter" width="300"] A cute baby during video conferencing.Photo Credit: chimothy27.[/caption] Interacting with a screen is an increasing part of our lives – and our children’s lives. But do children really interact with TV? Many parents are concerned about “screen time”, and rightly so – it has been linked...

  • A Letter To My Daughter On Her Second Birthday

    A Letter To My Daughter On Her Second Birthday

  • All That Jazz

    I’m leaving tomorrow for Chicago, to go to yet another conference. I’m a little bit conferenced-out, but I’m presenting my own research there, which makes it kind of exciting. I’m a bit excited because the conference is the Jean Piaget Society, and Jean Piaget invented cognitive developmental psychology (among other...

  • The Great Pretender

    [caption id="attachment_275" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: JesseBarker[/caption] Pretend play is one of the most interesting milestones in children’s cognitive development. What does it tell us? Last week, my daughter, who is just shy of 2 years, started crawling on all fours on the floor, mewing loudly. “I’m a cat, mommy!”...

  • Sharing is Caring

    Have you ever tried to get a toddler to share? Do you think it’s an impossible mission? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh showed that it’s actually pretty easy. Sharing Sharing behaviour is thought to be a part of “human lore”. Whether it is biologically encoded or just learned from...

  • The Magic Touch

    [caption id="attachment_266" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: David Eugene[/caption] Here's a short tidbit gleamed at the conference I attended a few weeks ago (has it been that long? Really?). One of the posters presented at the conference showed evidence that when you touch a child gently on the back while asking...

  • Baby Sign Language: What is it good for?

    [caption id="attachment_261" align="aligncenter" width="250"] Photo Credit: Athensparents.com[/caption] Baby sign language is very popular these days. There are classes and online resources and it’s all based on the premise that signing with your baby introduces a host of benefits from better communication to long-lasting language advantage. A very recent study done...

  • Are men the cause of women’s problems?

    [caption id="attachment_257" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: lucianvenutian[/caption] I’m picking a relatively easy topic for this week, because I’m jet-lagged and tired and my brain is full of new ideas for research following the conference I came back from. There’s nothing easier than picking on something someone said and show how...

  • Stretching the Mind

    As promised, this post is about the most fascinating (I think) process that is typically included in Executive Functions: Cognitive Flexibility. What is Cognitive Flexibility? Cognitive flexibility is the ability to think about something in more than one way. For example, the child in the picture is thinking about the...

  • The Memory Game

    So, after our in-depth exploration of inhibitory control and all it means, we are ready to plunge into the next construct that is typically a part of Executive Function. This process is the “updating” process, or working memory. What is Working Memory? Working memory is the ability to keep information in mind – and...

  • The Marshmallow Task Revisited

    I know I have written about inhibitory control not very long ago, and that I’m technically in the middle of a series about Executive Functions, but this study came out fairly recently and I just can’t resist… Plus, I was giving a guest lecture for my supervisor the other day,...

  • When Simon Doesn’t Say: Inhibitory Control in Children

    Inhibitory Control? What’s that? You know the game Simon Says, right? It’s when the leader gives instructions such as “touch your nose”, or “hop on one leg”. The twist is, if the direction is preceded by the phrase “Simon says” (as in, “Simon says touch your nose”), you are supposed...

  • Who’s the Executive?

    I noticed a few weeks ago that I have been blogging for almost a year now, and I have not written a single post about the topic I’m studying. If I were a psychologist, I would have said that I was delaying writing about it because if the post about...

  • On the Effects of Vacations

    [caption id="attachment_215" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Random Beach[/caption] You can count on psychologists to research the most common sense phenomena and come up with interesting (although not surprising) findings. This week, I want to talk a bit about burnout. Burnout in mechanics is the complete exhaustion of fuel due to intensive use....

  • Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

    A recent article shows that your toddler may not be telling you the whole truth. Recently, Canadian professors Angela Evans and Kang Lee created a little media buzz with their new study in which they show that 2-year-old will tell lies if put in certain situations. While the work they...

  • Family Meals: A Pathway to Good Outcomes or a Waste of Time?

    [caption id="attachment_206" align="aligncenter" width="351"] A Typical Family Having Dinner[/caption] Apparently, there’s research looking into whether family meals are beneficial to children or not. Surprisingly, they may not be. I’m a big fan of family meals. I grew up in a house where you had to be mortally sick or out...

  • There’s a Nightmare in my Closet

    Talking about a child’s fears is tricky, but sometimes it’s the only solution. Not many parents will forget December 14, 2012. A lot of parents wondered if they should talk with their children about what happened at Sandy Hook, and with good reason. Talking about fears is one of the...

  • To Fast-Track or not to Fast-Track?

      [caption id="attachment_195" align="aligncenter" width="645"] photo credit: freehdwall.net[/caption] I’d like to talk about a book I read recently, called Mothers on the Fast Track by Mary Anne Mason and her daughter, Eve Mason Ekman. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. When I read for fun, I want my book...

  • 2012 in review

    Not bad for a first year, but it sure leaves room for a lot of New Year Resolutions :) The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about...

  • On Slacking Off and New Year Resolutions

    The end of the year is in sight. I have submitted my poster application for a conference in June, data collection is concluded for the year, and my kids’ teachers have received their holiday cookies. We are going tomorrow to visit our families in Israel, and 2012 is pretty close...

  • On Saving, Consequences, and Teaching Children Both

    There’s a whole research area called economic psychology, looking at the psychological factors that drive people’s financial decision-making: how much to save and when, what risks to take with money, when and how much to spend and on what, that sort of things. It’s interesting stuff. There are also a...

  • Talking about Books: Moms Sharing Books with Toddlers

    A recent article shows that books with a story line provide moms (and presumably dads) with unique opportunities for complex talk. What do you talk about when you read a story with your baby? This study (there’s a pdf file on the website!) was done fairly recently at the University...

  • Neuro-education: Yep, it’s as cool as it sounds

    Can music training improve verbal ability? [caption id="attachment_167" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: Jeff Johnson[/caption] I attended a talk last week given by Sylvain Moreno. He talked about the project he’s been working on, and I thought, “Some people get to do the coolest research”. Dr. Moreno has created a music...

  • Do Children Benefit from Staying at Home?

    Do children really benefit from staying home with mom? Does it matter what type of care you put your children in? Science has answers! :) Going back to work after childbirth is maybe one of the hardest choices you have to make as a new mother. Sometimes, you have no...

  • Understanding Other Minds

    Adults read minds all the time. Children, however, are not so great at it. How come?

  • My Rant About Equal Pay

    Bear with me as this post is going to be less about child development and more about working moms. I have written a bit about being a working mom and about gender issues before, and you might find yourself thinking, is this blog about children or about mothers? Make up...

  • A Letter to My Son on His Third Birthday

    I’m almost a week late. This is shaping up to be a pattern. Don’t worry, like your sister, you too have a therapist-fund set up. My handsome boy, I can’t believe you are three years old. It seems that only yesterday you were just a newborn, sleeping 8 hours a...

  • Raising Self Conscious Children?

    I read a post by DaniGirl from Postcards from the Mothership this week. She responded to an earlier post by David Zweig regarding excessive documentation of children. This is an interesting debate, so I thought I would just jump in, whether anyone wants to hear what I think about it...

  • On Bullying, and Why Definitions Matter

    October is national bullying prevention month, and as such it promoted a wealth of writing about bullying. What can parents do to prevent bullying? The Definition of Bullying Bullying, as defined by researchers, is a series of acts of aggression in an imbalanced relationship. Let’s take this apart. A series...

  • Talking About Parental Favouritism

    As parents, we are not supposed to have a favourite child. But keeping silent about these feelings is probably not a great idea either. [caption id="attachment_135" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Credit: http://perezitos.com/2011-09-23-you-mom-and-dad-like-one-of-you-best[/caption]   Having a favourite child is a big no-no in parenting, and, judging by an astounding scarcity of research, it’s...

  • Grandparents Make the World Go Round

    What role do grandparents play in parenting? My family is visiting from Israel, and are staying with us. My childless friends look at me in horror when I tell them that I asked my dad to extend his 3-weeks stay to a 6-weeks stay. My parents-friends nod in agreement, and...

  • Teaching Math – When Should You Start?

    Is there a “right age” to start teaching children math? Math as a Basic Citizenship Skill Math is one of the core skills that the education system is geared towards teaching children. This is because math is needed to be a contributing citizen. People need math in order to participate...

  • Why Back to School is so Exciting

    When I was in school, back to school time was a very exciting time. This year, it feels like there are more back to school commercials and excitement than previous years. It got me thinking: why is this time so exciting? Why do people get all crazy about back to...

  • Why All Parents Should Take Their Child to Participate in a Study

    In the last couple of weeks (and a couple of weeks to come, it looks like) I have been working on getting my research off the ground. The amount of work is remarkable. Granted, some researchers have to breed and raise their own participants. I think there are pros and...

  • The Hard-Working Gene

    Should you teach your child to work hard? Can you? John Irving said that writing is one-eighth talent and seven-eighths discipline. Recently I read a piece saying that Ryan Lochte could never be Michael Phelps (not enough talent, apparently). Existential debate aside, which one is the right approach to life?...

  • Olympic Fever

    We all watch the Olympics and get inspired by the accomplishments. But what is the price of pushing our kids to be professional athletes? I’m not a sports fanatic. In fact, I’m probably almost the opposite of a sports fanatic. Sure, I watch hockey (I do live in Canada, after...

  • Carpe Diem? Really?

    A little while ago, Tim Kreider wrote an opinion in the New York Times about being busy. He argues that people in the modern world are too busy, and that this is self-imposed-busy, as opposed to survival-busy. He argues that being busy silences our creative brain (he is not the...

  • Inductive Pasta and Creativity

    In the last few weeks, other than writing ethics applications (I can’t collect data without my department’s ethics committee approving my research), I’ve been knee-deep in the development of induction skills. This is a wide and respectable field of expertise, and I’m a far cry from being any kind of...

  • When Your Breast Becomes a Public Health Issue

    A big review of breastfeeding benefits came out in the journal Pediatrics about 4 months ago. It lists the benefits of breastfeeding as compared with formula-feeding, as well as extended breastfeeding (over 6 months) as compared with non-extended breastfeeding (6 months or less). The list is quite impressive. Infants who...

  • Why “Having it All” is not the Point

    Everyone is talking about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article about what holding women back from “having it all”. (At least, everyone was talking about it when it came out two weeks ago. I’m a little behind, I know, but in my defense it’s a friggin’ long article (seriously, it’s over 12k words,...

  • Daddy's girl and Momma's boy?

    There’s a lot that has been written about gender differences in parenting. There are differences in parenting style between moms and dads, and there are differences in the way parents treat girls and boys. But I was wondering whether there’s a difference in the quality of the relationship between different...

  • Children Ignoring Distractions: Fact or Fiction?

    Kids are notoriously bad at ignoring distractions, on average. Of course, there are individual differences even in adults – some people are more distractible than others. But kids are performing at a much lower level when it comes to resisting temptation. One well-known study is the Marshmallow task (you can...

  • A Letter To My Daughter On Her First Birthday

    A Letter To My Daughter On Her First Birthday

  • Are E-Books Evil?

    There are quite a few e-books for kids out there. It seems like a natural step. Adults are using more and more digital books. Kids typically control new gadgets more intuitively; why shouldn’t they benefit from this medium of reading? A new study questions the benefits of e-books. This very...

  • Left Neglected, Working Moms, and Harry Chapin

    I’m a psychologist and I love the brain-mind connection, which is why I loved both of Lisa Genova’s books. The first, Still Alice, was about a middle aged, mid-career professor who suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s. It was funny and sad and touching, and really quite depressing. So when I...

  • Digital books?

    Just a quick poll to see what you guys think. Also, please share your thoughts about reading ebooks with kids! Thanks! :) [polldaddy poll=6269807]

  • The Negativity Games

    I have recently been scared out of my wits about any prospects I thought I might have had regarding having a career. (Sorry about that, but I’m pretty sure I’m not breaking any grammar rules. Then again, English is not my first language; so if that was not a sentence,...

  • When Is It Too Early to Start?

    They say it’s never too early to start most things (although I suspect this does not apply to wearing leopard prints). But I wonder if there are some things of which starting early is not necessarily good. Not that it has a negative effect, just that it doesn’t have a...

  • Why Going Back to Work is Hard

    So, the last few weeks in our lives have been kind of crazy. We bought a new home and moved a week and a half ago, on May 3rd. Also, my maternity leave was officially done May 1st. The fact that upon returning back to “work” I started a class...

  • Attachment Parenting and The Mommy Olympics

    I read a blog post on Moms at Work about the recent Time magazine cover piece. The blogger, Anika Palm, commented on the cover picture, in which Jamie Lynne Grumet is shown nursing her preschooler. The article in the Times is about attachment parenting, which is a new(-ish, I guess)...

  • The Post That Would Get Me Kicked Out of The Cool Mommies Club

    Not that I’m in that club. And judging by the whopping 15 followers on Twitter, I’m far from ever entering that club. But any chance I ever had will be gone as soon as I will have published this post. And it won’t be because I’m using the Future Perfect...

  • Did you feel “love at first sight” with your baby? Does it matter?

    I’m an avid reader of the babycenter magazine – mostly because I’m dreadfully insecure in general and particularly as a mother. I have recently seen a survey in that magazine. The title was “Did you experience love at first sight with your newborn?” and the possible answers were “yes” and...

  • Bilingualism

    It’s my first post and I’ve chosen a very big and complicated topic… but it’s a topic that I find both very interesting and personally very relevant right now (and it seems that other people find it interesting too). You see, I’m a bilingual – I can speak, read, and...

  • Hello World! :)

    Writing is one of my passions. As such, I chose to train in order to become a university professor. That was 10 years ago. I'll let you know how it's working out. But seriously, as a mommy of 2 quite small children and a developmental researcher in the making, I...

@2015 - Gal Podjarny