Sep 28, At what age do children begin to tell lies?

At what age do children begin to tell lies? © 2018 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Little kids sometimes say goofy things. They sometimes say things that aren't true. But being goofy or mistaken isn't the same thing as telling a lie. As commonly understood, the act of lying requires both insincerity and the intention to deceive. In other words, you have to make a statement that you don't believe yourself, and you must intend to make someone else accept that statement as true (Primoratz 1984). When do children start meeting these criteria? Studies reveal that some toddlers begin lying before they are two and half years old. And by the age of four, more than 80% of children lie -- at least sometimes. But the timing varies from one individual to the next, and no, it isn’t a reflection of a child’s moral character. The evidence strongly suggests that kids begin experimenting with lying as a natural consequence of cognitive development. In particular, lying..
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Sep 19, Marshmallow test: Delayed gratification isn’t just about willpower

The marshmallow test: Delayed gratification isn't just a matter of willpower © 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Sometimes the smart thing is to reject an immediate reward in order to wait for something better. But this isn’t always the case, and delayed gratification isn’t always a matter of willpower. Studies show that children’s choices depend a lot on our own behavior. When adults appear unreliable – or downright untrustworthy – kids choose instant rewards over future benefits. Here are the details. If you’ve read about self-control and delayed gratification in children, you’ve probably heard of the marshmallow test. Sit a child down at a table, offer him a marshmallow, and make the following promise: “You can eat this now if you want, but if you wait 15 minutes until I come back, and I see you haven’t eaten it, I will give you another one. You’ll end up with two marshmallows." What do kids do? Some show great powers of delayed gratification, not touching that m..
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Sep 12, Growth mindset: Can a theory of intelligence really boost achievement?

Growth mindset: Can a theory of intelligence change the way you learn? © 2008-2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What you believe about cognitive performance - the theory of intelligence that you adopt - can have brain-altering effects, and enhance your ability to learn. Yet programs designed to promote the right, "growth mindset" in students haven't always worked. Why not? I think the answer has to do with follow-through. Merely believing that you can grow doesn't turn you into an achiever. You have to apply yourself, too. Here is a look at the research, and some suggestions for helping students reach their full potential. What is your theory of intelligence? What do you believe makes people smart? Years ago, anthropologists and cultural psychologists noticed that people hold very different beliefs depending on their cultural upbringing. For example, in Western countries, people often take the view that intelligence is innate and fixed: Individuals are born..
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Sep 5, Student-teacher relationships: Why emotional support matters

Student-teacher relationships: Why emotional support matters © 2013 - 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Supportive student-teacher relationships boost achievement, and protect kids from the effects of stress. But many students don't get the chance to form such bonds. What can we do to help? Imagine 120 children, six-year-olds seated at computers. As part of an experiment, the kids are taking a series of cognitive tests. But the researchers aren't trying to figure out who's smarter. They're trying to find out if student-teacher relationships affect the way kids think. So the researchers have taken photographs of all the children's teachers. And just before being given a new problem to solve, each child is shown his or her teacher's face. The image appears only for a split second, a time span so brief the kids aren't even aware of what they've seen. It's subliminal. But it has an effect, because the kids who have close, affec..
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