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Inside the fourth grader's brain

What insights can neuroscience offer parents about the mind of a fourth grader?

By Hank Pellissier

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Gently does it

Use encouragement and positive discipline to shepherd and protect your fourth grader, instead of punishment to make your child feel bad. At Leiden University in The Netherlands, researchers using MRI scanners discovered that the basal ganglia — clusters of brain cells at the brain’s base that are affiliated with movement – of nine year olds "responded strongly" to positive feedback. Conversely, when they received harsher, negative feedback, the cognitive control areas scarcely responded at all. That's why kids this age often get that "blank look" when scolded.

Photo credit: haidong

Hank Pellissier is a freelance writer whose fiction and essays have been been widely published and anthologized. A former columnist for Salon and SF Gate, he is a regular contributor to h+ Magazine.