Is There a Critical Period for Learning a Foreign Language?


The Myth of Missed Opportunities A popular misconception regarding second-language learning is that there is a window, or critical period, for learning a second language that shuts down around the onset of puberty. In his article, “Is There a ‘Child Advantage’ in Learning Foreign Languages?” Brad Marshall points out the harm this misconception can cause. […]

The Cognitive Advantages of Balanced Bilingualism

During the past century, and especially over the last ten years, bilingual education has been the subject of intense political debate. In California, where 25% of K-12 students speak a language other than English as their native language, the debate has been particularly contentious; in 1998, a state proposition passed mandating English-only instruction for English […]

Spatial Navigation and Gender

A young woman sits in front of a computer, joystick in hand. On the screen in front of her is a large circular pool of water, which she “wades” through by moving the joystick. She is attempting to find a platform hidden just beneath the surface of the water, and as she wanders through the […]

Drawing on an Outdated Theory?

“Can you see in the still-life here on the table that the orange is in front of the vase?” “Yes,” replied the student, “I see that.” “Well,” I said, “in your drawing, you have the orange and the vase occupying the same space.” The student answered, “Yes, I know. I didn’t know how to draw […]

Reluctant Revolutionary: Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

An Ugly Little Secret Charles Darwin had a very dark secret, one made all the darker because he was a moneyed gentleman of polite society, a man of scientific leisure, and one with ties to England’s governmental, religious, financial and academic elite. That is to say, he was someone with a significant reputation at stake, […]

Early Brain Development: New Insights Into Cerebral Palsy

Early mythologies express a deep reverence for the mystery of birth. The stars, the mountains, and the oceans are all described as having been issued from some wonderful and hidden generative force. Human birth is in many ways equally mysterious. Modern science enables doctors to detect conception shortly after it has occurred and to visualize […]

The Biology of Dyslexia

For decades, ever since dyslexia was described as a disorder in learning to read, scientists, educators, and parents have wondered about the causes. Why is it that one child within a family of normal readers has so much trouble learning to sound out new words, can’t learn to read effortlessly with good comprehension, or needs […]

Children Controlling Their Own Brainwaves: A New Treatment for ADD?

Imagine a boy sitting in front of a computer screen, controlling what appears on the monitor with only his brainwaves. His hands don’t move; he makes no sound. But as he watches the screen, his brain learns to regulate itself in response to visual feedback from the computer. With practice, in about 20 one-hour sessions, […]