Why do we sleep? What are feelings? How do we make decisions, and how do we learn from them? Psychology helps us ask and answer these big questions about ourselves, others, and the world around us. Psychology for Kids: The Science of the Mind and Behavior by Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD and Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, introduces readers, ages middle grade and up, to the science of psychology. This lively and informative book offers chapters on the brain, personality, intelligence, emotions, social relationships, and more. Colorful illustrations of psychology’s big ideas and lots of hands-on experiments to try at home provide an engaging dive into the fascinating science of the mind. Enjoy this excerpt from the book. Chapter 5: What Makes Me “Me”? Who are you? Are you the kind of person who enjoys spending time on your own, or do you love being surrounded by friends? Are you a leader who likes to share your ideas, or do you hang back and scope out what others are saying? Of course, however you would answer those questions, it probably doesn’t describe you all of the time. But psychologists have studied the ways different people typically act and whether, knowing this, they can predict their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These individual tendencies are called personality traits. One of the most famous of these psychologists was Raymond Cattell. He gathered data about a large group of people...Based on his findings he proposed 16 main personality traits that were different from one another and useful in predicting behavior. He developed a test called the 16PF (16 Personality Factors Test) that could be used to help determine a person’s personality traits. Research by later psychologists suggested that Cattell’s 16 personality categories were still too many. In fact, most psychologists now focus on “the big five” basic personality traits. A person can be at one end or the other of each of these traits, or they can be somewhere in the middle. Big Five Personality Traits Curious about the world, ready to try new things, adventurous and creative. Openness to new experiences Doesn’t like change, prefers things that are predictable. Gets things done on time, planful, pays attention to detail. Conscientiousness Dislikes schedules, forgets to do important things, disorganized. Outgoing, likes meeting new people, likes being the center of attention. Extroversion Enjoys time alone, finds it challenging to meet strangers, tends to be quiet. Cooperative, considerate, helpful. Agreeableness Not that interested in others, doesn’t care about other people’s problems or feelings. Moody, gets upset easily, anxious. Neuroticism Very relaxed and easy going, deals well with stress. As a trick to remember the “big five,” notice that the first letters of each word combine to spell “OCEAN”. Check Out the Research While personality traits influence how a person acts, it doesn’t mean that those behaviors happen all the time. Research psychologist William Fleeson was interested in what would happen if someone pretended to have different personality traits. He knew that extroverted peopleRead More
About Claire Freeland, Ph.D.Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice, working for more than 35 years with youth and their families. With an interest in bringing psychological concepts to a wide audience, she has co-written several books for children and teens on subjects related to emotions and behavior. She lives with her husband in Baltimore, MD. They have two grown children.
Magination Press continues to expand the breadth of its nonfiction books for kids, with new titles about the brain, how psychology works, and more to come this fall. During Children's Book Week, authors Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD, Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, and Leanne Boucher Gill, PhD, shared their experience writing for kids in this panel discussion. Read an interview with Dr. Gill about writing Lobe Your Brain: What Matters About Your Grey Matter here. Read an excerpt from Dr. Gill's book, Big Brain Book: How It Works and All Its Quirks here. Read an excerpt from Drs. Freeland and Toner's book, Psychology for Kids: The Science of the Mind and Behavior here.Read More
Teaching children to be kind and accepting towards others is a goal most parents value highly. We want our children to know that surface differences are not barriers to good relationships. We want them to experience the qualities that make people more the same than different. Children with physical disabilities are especially likely to appear quite different, but are otherwise likely to share the same interests, strengths, and desires as their non-disabled peers. You can help your child nurture friendships with peers with physical disabilities using tips from Kendra Bennett, Claire Freeland, and Jacqueline Toner, authors of Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair published by Magination Press. When a child with a physical disability is included in a classroom, it provides an opportunity for children with and without differences to socialize together. Perhaps even more importantly, it provides a life lesson in acceptance and inclusion. It offers a chance for children to learn about how to befriend peers who are different from themselves, to include them in play, and to become comfortable with people who have physical disabilities. Children may feel anxious or frightened when they see another child in a wheelchair or wearing braces on their legs. As a parent, you can help your child with their initial hesitation and sensitively guide them towards understanding in an honest and open way. Despite kind impulses to include a child with special needs in play, children may feel at a loss about how to make helpful accommodations. You can partner with the classroom teacher and the child’s parent to make suggestions that allow for inclusion. The following tips will help you nurture your child’s friendships with peers who have physical disabilities: Answer your child’s questions in a clear and reassuring manner. Your child may have worries about their own future well-being. They may wonder about “what happened” to their peer. Help your child identify similarities between themselves and their peer with a disability. Do they share interests? What are the many ways in which the other child is just like every other child? Your child may have questions about how their peer copes with normal daily activities. Deal with this natural curiosity by answering in a matter of fact way. Expose your child to examples presented in the media, in books, and in real life of children and adults with disabilities who are successful socially, academically, and artistically. Remind your child that all children have feelings. Help them to see that a child with a disability will feel as happy to have a kind friend as anyone would and would feel hurt and sad to be left out. Think aloud with your child about ways that they can reach out to and include a peer who may need to do things in a slightly different way. Don’t be afraid to approach the parents of the child with special needs to ask how their child might be included in a birthday party or play date. By supporting your child’sRead More