Jean Piaget: Father of Developmental Psychology

…right hand may be seen approaching his mouth, touching his lower lip and finally being grasped. But as only the index finger was grasped, the hand fell out again. Shortly afterward it returned. This time the thumb was in the mouth while the index finger was placed between the gums and the upper lip. The hand then moves 5 centimeters away from the mouth only to reenter it; now the thumb is grasped and the other fingers remain outside. It may…

Mirror Neurons

…typically unconscious preparation for a movement followed by the actual movement. For example, while my left index finger is typing the c in cat, my left little finger is getting ready to type a and my left index finger will shortly move up to the top row to type the t. The result is a single seamless typing action – cat. The motor cortex plays a key role in activating such muscles. It’s a narrow ear-to-ear band of neural tis…

Sleepyheads’ brains veer from restful path

Does sleep affect learning potential? New evidence is adding to scientific concern over the effects of widespread sleep deficits. A good night’s sleep seems to clear the brain and help the well-snoozed individual negotiate the flow of daily affairs. In contrast, a lack of sleep makes it difficult to carry out even mundane acts, such as conversing intelligibly or calculating a waiter’s tip. Initial investigations of brain activity…

Take Two: Lessons Learned from Twins Research

Few scenarios have seemed more promising for the unraveling of human mystery than the research pot of gold that many believe identical twins to be. Unlike the rest of the actual, messy human world, monozygotic twins represent an almost perfect study-in-the-making: two identical copies of the same genetic makeup placed into the world at nearly the same moment. One could hardly design better conditions for an experiment in the quest to lay…

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, so it’s essential for humans to master how the world…

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 explain why most folks think that the joke above is funny. A sense of humor thus joins such commonly used fuzzy concepts as chair, veget…