Why children are tempted by marshmallows

The most famous, and controversial, food in developmental psychology is the marshmallow. This humble creation of sugar and gelatin was raised to fame by Walter Mischel, who many years ago plunked marshmallows in front of preschoolers and instructed them not to eat them. The immediate results, dramatized in the video below, are not exactly surprising: Children…

A battle over the link between strep and OCD

Today I introduced a class of students to the notion that a strep infection could give a child obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The idea was first widely publicized in the memoir “Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD“, and briefly recapped in this clip from the Today Show: I am already on record as identifying this…

Can children learn language from television?

My nephew is currently snuggled up with a Curious George plushie he got for his birthday. Let’s revisit what his love of the cartoon character might have meant for his language, in this post from July 11, 2013 originally called “Life imitates art: Child imitates monkey”. Imitation of television is certainly dangerous…to my sister’s sanity.…

A duck and a rabbit walk into a book….

Every now and then, you find psychology in the children’s section of the bookstore. I don’t mean in the books that teach children how to control their emotions, or teach parents how their children think. Sometimes, psychology sneaks in an unexpected ways, as in Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Duck! Rabbit!, which is animated in this video: The…

The Power of a Bedtime Story

My 4-year-old nephew has an eclectic taste in bed-time stories. One week my sister will find herself reading the adventures of Spryo versus The Mega Monsters, the next week recounting the emotional journey of Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny, and the next reading captions out of Smithsonian’s Human: The Definitive Visual Guide. (Yes, at my nephew’s…

Two sides to learning to think ahead

Today, I’m celebrating my latest article reaching the final stage of publication. Time to see how well I do explaining my own research for a broad audience. My mother once told me that when my sister and I were children, she didn’t envy the parents with the adorable tiny newborns, or the parents with teenagers…