At what age do children begin to tell lies?

Closeup of child looking sideways by Big D2112

Most kids begin telling lies between the ages of 2 and 4, as they develop better “mind-reading” skills and self-control. But understanding the morality of lying? That comes later.

Lack of math education may shortchange a teenager’s developing brain

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Some teens study lots of math. Others avoid it. Does it make a difference? Yes, and not only to career prospects. New research suggests it might also affect brain chemistry, and the way that students learn. How many years of math should you take in high school? Read More »

The effects of television on learning to speak: Is it helpful or harmful?

toddler watching television

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What are the effects of television on language learning? Studies report a link between TV and language development in young children. The more time kids spend watching television, the more slowly they learn to talk. What’s going on? Some people conclude that the effects of Read More »

Teaching critical thinking: The first step is to pause and reflect

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved Why do we fall for fallacies? Why do we get duped by lies? It isn’t because we lack brain power, and it isn’t because we are helpless to overcome our own biases. Instead, what’s really crucial is whether we take the time to pause and reflect — to consciously Read More »

When does peer pressure start? Early. Very early in life.


© 2020 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved Peer pressure and social conformity starts long before adolescence. When faced with a choice between telling the truth and backing a popular falsehood, even 4-year-old children will buckle. You and three other people are sitting in adjacent booths, and you’ve each got a copy of the same book. Read More »

The newborn senses: What can babies feel, see, hear, smell, and taste?

© 2017 – 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved How do newborn senses compare with our own? Babies don’t see colors quite like we do, and their vision is blurry. They have more trouble picking out speech from background noise. Yet newborns are fascinated by the visual world, and they show remarkable abilities to Read More »

Improving spatial skills in children and teens: 12 evidence-based tips

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Spatial skills are crucial for success in STEM and the visual arts. So what should we do to improve spatial reasoning? Studies suggest that kids can hone their skills through a combination of physical exploration, spatial talk, hands-on activities, and explicit instruction. Can your child rotate an Read More »

Music and intelligence: Do music lessions improve cognitive skills?

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Music lessons can benefit a child’s general academic skills, but so too can art lessons. So does music training deliver any special cognitive benefits? Kids hone auditory skills that can help them decipher speech. And new research hints that certain kinds of music training may boost math Read More »

Working memory tips: How to help kids focus and stick to a plan

© 2017 – 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Working memory (or “WM”) is the system we use to keep information immediately available in our thoughts. We use working memory when we perform calculations in our heads, track the meaning of a conversation, and remember what we’re supposed to do next. As you can Read More »