Scientist’s word!

I am so excited to introduce Babybrains' new column, “Scientist’s Word!” It will include contributions from scientists all over the world, and they are oh so inspiring!!

As a little taste, check out what Dr Sam Cheadle had to say about magic!

“After becoming a parent I learnt that in order to survive I must also become a magician. How can a parent solve the seemingly unsolvable problem of telling a toddler they cannot have an ice cream? One answer lies in shifting the focus of the child's attention and avoiding direct confrontation. Magic, like many interesting questions in psychology, revolves around shifts of attention, distraction, and changes in expectation. Although I am an awful magician (as my daughter will testify!), my academic research focuses on these issues and how they are implemented in the brain. The parent can guide the focus of the child's attention towards relevant or interesting properties of the world, and away from harmful ones (e.g. ice cream). This parental process is so natural it almost goes without saying, but it is not only the parent who must learn this trick. In order for the child to develop they must learn to flexibly and volitionally control the focus of their own attention. Attentional control is a key cognitive ability, underpinning processes such as working memory capacity and fluid intelligence. Modern research in psychology is now revealing how attentional control develops in children and how best to encourage this development, hopefully leading to happier and more independent children all round!”

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