If you wanted to design a way of life that was exactly counter to the needs of developing brains, you would invent something like modern childhood. We strap newborns into bouncy seats in front of television sets and enroll them in early learning centers. During toddlerhood, we give them learning laptops, battery-powered toys, and educational DVDs. As they get older, we ferry them from dance classes to violin lessons to soccer practices. We push them to do the sorts of things we see more mature brains doing, believing that brain development is a race—the faster our children's brains finish, the better. But to capitalize on the way the human brain was built to grow, we have to redesign children's environments—their homes, schools, toys, and pastimes. In Your Brain on Childhood, developmental psychologist Gabrielle Principe uses scientific evidence to explain the disconnect between the brain's evolutionary history and our children's technology-centered present—and suggests ways for us to naturalize childhood again.
"Gabrielle Principe... achieves the very difficult task of conveying the latest scientific research about children and childhood in a way that is fun and humorous, is easily understood, and can be readily applied to rearing children... Your Brain on Childhood is a must read for parents, teachers, and anyone concerned about the welfare and happiness of children." --David Bjorklund, Professor of psychology, Florida Atlantic University, author of Why Youth Is Not Wasted on the Young, and editor of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
"In this engagingly written book,... Principe has culled from the scientific literature numerous hidden gems that can guide an evolutionarily informed approach to child rearing. This book is bound to create buzz—and it is long overdue." --Stephen Ceci, H. L. Carr Chaired Professor of Developmental Psychology at Cornell University
"With well-researched developmental science at its core, this deliciously written book aims to take children off of the endangered species list and to return them to their natural habitats. A must read for anyone who has a child or who has ever been one." --Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Professor of psychology, Temple University, author of Einstein Never Used Flashcards, and founder of Ultimate Block Party
"With her dry wit and good common sense, Principe explains how the new science of brain development undercuts the claims of those who believe that children need extraordinary, and extraordinarily early, stimulation to develop the skills they will need to succeed in school and in life.... I recommend it highly." --Laurence Steinberg, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, Temple University, and author of The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting
"Humans evolved to grow up outdoors, exploring actively. But today's kids are overscheduled, screen-addicted, and sedentary. In Your Brain on Childhood, Principe brilliantly reveals this disconnect and shows how we can raise children in ways that work with our biology, not against it. An eye-opening read!" --Maggie Jackson, Author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
About the Author
Gabrielle Principe, PhD, is associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Ursinus College. Her research focuses on children's cognitive development and has been federally funded by the National Institutes of Health. She is the author of numerous scholarly chapters and has been published in leading journals such as Psychological Science, the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, and the Journal of Cognition and Development.