Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, and Digital Wisdom

In 2001 Marc Pensky proposed the intriguing notion that our culture is now composed of digital natives and digital immigrants. He’s now expanded the concept to include digital wisdom (Pensky, 2009). Let’s explore the updated concept and its increasing cultural significance. Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants We’re a social species with a long juvenile development, […]

One Hundred Columns

I’m not sure why we tend to pay more attention to 100 of something than to 99 or 101, but we do. This is my 100th Brain Connection column, going back to the first issue, posted right after The Millennium in February 2000. My assignment was to develop non-technical explanations of educationally significant new developments […]

Selecting a President and Vice President

Our brain’s organization biases it towards preferences and decisions that enhance our survival and the quality of our life. These biases are evident during the current presidential campaign, and five underlying brain properties seem especially significant. A Social Species Humans are a social species and this gives us an important advantage over species in which […]

Movement: The Spark of Life

The principal reason that animals have a brain and plants don’t is because we can move of our own volition. Plants can’t, and so they don’t even need to know where they are. What’s the point of knowing that other plants are better situated if you can’t join them-or that a logger is approaching if […]

Happy 25th Birthday Multiple Intelligences

I was recently looking for something in my bookshelves, and came across my battered copy of Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. A thought popped up in my mind, so I turned to the copyright date, and realized that it’s the 25th anniversary of the publication of a book that’s sparked […]

Our Elusive Sense of Humor

Eat a live toad in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to either of you for the rest of the day. Almost everyone considers a sense of humor to be a prized human characteristic, but ask someone to define it and you’ll typically get a muddled rather than precise definition. For example, try to […]

How Children Learn A Language: Part 2 – Knowing What to Say and How To Say It

We’re born capable of speaking any language in the world, but we’re not born proficient in any of them. Last month’s column focused on how children master the complex task of learning how to speak. It’s one thing to know how to talk, but it’s quite another thing to know what to say and how […]

How Children Learn A Language: Part 1 – Learning How To Talk

Communicative capability is an obviously essential innate property of all social species. Humans and other social mammals typically use two communication systems: The first is an intimate system that two individuals use to establish and maintain their relationship. Touch dominates, but it uses all sensory modalities. It’s called grooming in primates, but no equivalent single […]