Driving Brain Change is a Skill, Retraining the Student Brain is an Art

For more than three decades, Dr. Michael Merzenich has been a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research. In addition to teaching and doing research at the University of California, San Francisco, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. Dr. Merzenich’s work has been covered…

Valentine’s Day And Memory

Our culture celebrates friendship on momentous occasions. Families and friends gather to celebrate births, birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, retirements, and deaths. Hit a milestone, get a party. Valentine’s Day is a slightly different kind of commemoration in that everyone expresses affection to close and/or romantic friends on the same day, even though the friendships typically…

A Conversation with John Bruer

In the opening pages of his recent book, The Myth of the First Three Years—A New Understanding of Early Brain Development and Lifelong Learning, John Bruer recalls a 1996 phone call he received from a journalist at a national parenting magazine. “Based on neuroscience” she asked, “what can we tell parents about choosing a preschool…

Mirror Neuron Update

When parents conceive a child, their combined genetic information provides the developing embryo with the necessary bodybuilding directions—such as gender identity, nose placement, and skin color. After the child is born, parents and others must provide cultural information about how to live in our complex social environment. They provide this mentoring through language and our…

Paralysis, Memory and Learning: Do Our Bodies Hold the Promise of Regeneration?

Every year, television advertising during the Super Bowl serves as a pointer to what Americans are thinking about. One of the more memorable ads from this year’s game featured a computer-generated version of actor Christopher Reeve rising unsteadily from his seat and walking across a stage, to the thunderous applause of the audience. The ad…