My youngest child, now just over a year old, has started to talk. Even though I’ve experienced this process with my older two, it’s absolutely thrilling. He is putting words to the thoughts that swirl around in his sweet little head, making his mind a little less mysterious to the rest of us.
But these early words may not mean what we think they mean, a new study hints. Unsurprisingly, when 2-year-olds were asked a series of “this or that” questions, the toddlers showed strong preferences — but not for the reasons you’d think. Overwhelmingly, the toddlers answered the questions with the last choice given.
That bias, described in PLOS ONE on June 12, suggests that young children’s answers to these sorts of questions don’t actually reflect their desires. Instead, kids may simply be echoing the last thing they heard.
This verbal quirk can be used by parents to... Read More
As I’ve been reporting a story about the opioid epidemic, I’ve sorted through a lot of tragic numbers that make the astronomical spike in deaths and injuries related to the drugs feel more real.The rise in the abuse of opioids — powerfully addictive... Read More
When you’re pregnant, you spend a lot of time on scales. Every doctor appointment begins with hopping (or waddling) up for a weigh-in. Health care workers then plot those numbers into a (usually) ascending curve as the weeks go by.A morbid curiosity... Read More
Ultrasounds during pregnancy can be lots of fun, offering peeks at the baby-to-be. But ultrasounds aren’t just a way to get Facebook fodder. They are medical procedures that involve sound waves, technology that could, in theory, affect a growing... Read More
Hunter-gatherers and farming villagers don’t write parenting handbooks, much less read them. But parents in WEIRD societies — Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic — can still learn a few childrearing lessons from their counterparts... Read More
One of the strangest things about growing a human being inside your body is the alien sensation of his movements. It’s wild to realize that these internal jabs and pushes are the work of someone else’s nervous system, skeleton and muscles. Someone... Read More
Over the past week, my little girls have seen Santa in real life at least three times (though only one encounter was close enough to whisper “yo-yo” in his ear). You’d think that this Santa saturation might make them doubt that each one was the real... Read More