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Archives for November, 2011

Books

Audio Books vs. Book Books: Which Does the Brain Prefer?

I’ve recently started listening to audio books. The idea never appealed to me much because I’ve never liked being read to. Reading is a solitary experience for me and being read to always seemed a little icky, though I couldn’t tell you why.

Certainly being read to has a venerable history. At one time, all writing was meant to be read aloud, since few people could read. And reading aloud was family entertainment in...
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Developmental Psychology

A Parenting Puzzle: Protective or Overprotective?

“When does trying to protect them become overly restricting? Is there a happy balance?”

A reader posed that question about raising kids earlier this week and it’s a good one. We recognize a helicopter parent when we see one, especially by the time their kids are teenagers. But how about when they’re younger? Are there red flags in parenting style that might mark the beginning of overprotective parenting?

What is overprotective? How is...
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Developmental Psychology

What Is The Parenting Recipe For Making Mean Kids?

It’s Anti-Bullying Week and this year’s theme is Stop and Think—Words Can Hurt.

Interestingly, for all our focus on how to stop kids from bullying each other, we have precious little research addressing what parenting styles are likely to produce bullies. Because, let’s face it, if your nine-year-old child is a bully, chances are very good you and/or the child’s other parent can take credit.
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Communication

Gasoline-On-The-Fire Phrases

A friend told me that one word guaranteed to infuriate his teenage daughter during any disagreement is “relax.”

Riders on New York City’s subways were for years irritated by the phrase “Please be patient” at the end of announcements about subway delays.

And the quickest way to get a rise out of me is to tell me, “Don’t be ridiculous.” Oooh, that burns me up.

What makes phrases like these so incendiary?

Some phrases are guaranteed to turn a...
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Aging

How Researchers Are Getting It Wrong

Much has been made in recent years of research indicating that willpower is an exhaustible resource. This research suggests that if we exercise self control for a few hours to resist Facebook and do our work, for example, we will have a hard time resisting that oh-really-I-shouldn’t brownie sundae. There’s a whole book based on this research:  Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength is by one of the leaders in this...
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