More Evidence that Music Lessons May Strengthen the Brain

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience has found that people who have learned to play music–at any point in life, including young childhood–enjoy brain benefits that last a lifetime. Specifically, people who have studied music exhibit strengthened brain connections that can positively impact language abilities. According to lead researcher Dr. Nina Kraus […]

This is What Happens in your Brain When You’re Scared Senseless

Do you love or hate scary movies? Are you the first to line up for a haunted house, or do you stay as far away as possible? I often wonder why some people love scary stories and situations, when I just find them, well, scary. This excellent video from the American Chemical Society explains why […]

Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change your Life

I’m excited to announce that my brand new book Soft-Wired is now out and available in paperback or Kindle format. This book was a labor of love, and it took me many years and many iterations to say exactly what I wanted, how I wanted to say it. The result is a book that covers […]

Decision-making is Still a Work in Progress for Teenagers


Recent studies of brain development in teenagers may finally give parents the scientific authority to say “No you’re not!” in answer to the common adolescent complaint, “But I’m old enough to make my own decisions!” That authority comes from brain imaging studies that reveal some surprising features of the adolescent brain. Deborah Yurgelun-Todd and colleagues […]

Growing Brains Meet Growing TV Lineups: The Effects of TV on Cognition

Forget baseball, it turns out that watching TV is America’s true national pastime. According to the 2007 findings of the American Time Use Survey, recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American men and women spend about half of their free time watching television. And, although this particular survey only included adults, more and […]

Educating America’s Children in the 21st Century

As the Superintendent of Schools in Lawrence, Massachusetts for the past six years, Dr. Wilfredo T. Laboy has set an outstanding example of what one educator dedicated to change and success can do in a short period of time. Upon his arrival, he declared a Year of Literacy, focusing the entire school system on one […]

The Tween Brain: Midway Between Infant Dependency And Adult Autonomy: Part 2

Last month’s column focused on important developmental events that transform a child’s dependent brain into an adolescent brain that will inevitably reach for adult autonomy. To simplify a complex process, the interim Tween Brain is sufficiently mature to understand the basic dynamics of many of the challenges it confronts. But while it formerly looked to […]

The Tween Brain: Midway Between Infant Dependency And Adult Autonomy: Part 1

Our brain’s maturation follows an intriguing 20-year rhythmic trajectory that helps to explain child and adolescent behavior. To simplify a complex process, this development encompasses two distinct 10-year periods—a childhood acceptance of dependence, and an adolescent reach for independence. Each 10-year developmental period begins slowly and awkwardly with a four-year initial activation of the brain […]