Mirrored Learning

Monday, September 28, 2009

Did you know a new born baby will imitate you if you repeatedly stick your tongue out as the baby watches?

It is well known that children are influenced by role modeling and learn through imitation. Watching a young child with a play phone is evidence of this. It is often amusing to see how well a child acts out the actions of a parent.

Related to this, research has now found something extremely interesting happening in the brain. Recent studies have revealed something called mirror neurons. These studies show that a certain amount of mirror neurons are active both when moving… AND when just watching the movement of another person!

The following clip shows a fun example of a child imitating movements seen on a music video. Due to the discovery of mirror neurons we now know that a child watching these movements also has mimicking activity in the brain even if just watching the movements.

Even more exciting is evidence that shows mirror neurons may also be related to emotional areas in the brain. This means when a person sees another expressing an emotion the feeling areas of the brain are activated as if feeling the emotion personally. This may be the basis for developing empathy. This emphasizes how critically important it is for young children to have direct loving interactions with special people in everyday life. Through these positive experiences empathy and emotional connections can be developed.

Enjoy….. and just realize you are likely making mirror neurons activate in your brain as you watch.

Note: Of course mimicking the actions of a real person interacting with the child is preferable to brain development. Direct interaction is always better than watching television or a DVD.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Friday, September 18, 2009

I have answered a number of frequently asked brain questions at Child Care Aware Parents Network. (log in required)

"Early Childhood Brain Insights" wins Top 100 Parenting Blogs Award

The Daily Reviewer has compiled the best blogs and "Early Childhood Brain Insights" was included in the Top 100 Parenting Blogs!!

September braininsights Newsletter

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Check out the "Brain Stimulus" issue of the braininsights newsletter!

Play On!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stuart Brown, founder and president of the National Institute for Play, had a great opinion piece titled "Let the Children Play (Some More)" in the New York Times today. We need EVERYONE to read this article! In addition to physical and safety needs, what young children need most for optimal brain development is loving interaction and PLAY! It is critical that this information is shared with all parents, educators, and decision makers. We ALL benefit from children with well developed brains. I want to thank Mr. Brown for his work in helping to make this become common knowledge!
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