Anger, Sadness, Stereotype, and How to Argue With Your Kids


Imagine you’re driving through a crowded grocery store parking lot when a man on a cell phone walks out in front of you and holds up a hand toward you, palm out. What does he mean by this gesture? Studies show that your interpretation depends on your mood. Continue reading

Insight, Energy, Crickets, And the Science of the Snooze Button


Are the offsprings’ brains better off setting the alarm for 6:00am and hitting snooze for a blissful half an hour, or setting the alarm for 6:34am and sledding to breakfast on a piece of greased cardboard? The answer has to do with crickets… and brain waves… and insight. Continue reading

How to Trick a Child Into Playing the Violin (or Other Boring Things)


In this age of Candy Crush and YouTube fail compilations, science shows how to encourage a 7-year-old to stick with his violin teacher’s insistence on months spent perfecting the perfect hand and bow position (and other boring things). Continue reading

Shyness Study Predicts How Kids Respond to Challenging Social Situations


When excluded from a game, 12.6% of kids were directly assertive, insisting to be included. But 42.5% passively withdrew. But it wasn’t simply shy kids that pulled away. The difference was largely something called “cognitive conflict” as measured by a hairnet of electrodes. Continue reading

Good Praise, Bad Praise: What Begins With Parental Praise?

Praise used to be a good thing — the praised child builds self-esteem! Now, as all of us enlightened GeekDad parents know, it’s a bad thing — the praised child loses the drive to struggle and succeed! So which is it? Is praise good or bad? A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that praising process trumps praising product. Continue reading

Easter Bunny Science: Studies Show How Kids Sort Fantasy From Reality


Contrary to popular misconception, kids start as skeptics, then parents and culture trick kids into belief, and then canny kids find disbelief. But what of the kids who continue to believe in dragons into the middle grades? Are these fantasy kids slow? Are they dumb? Studies suggest the opposite: it takes a nimble mind to buffer belief from the whisperings of reality and the evidence of doubters. Continue reading