What Makes Me “Me”? An Excerpt from Psychology for Kids

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 people

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What Makes Me “Me”? An Excerpt from Psychology for Kids 2021-07-22T12:28:52-04:00

Neuroscience for Kids: Video Panel with Authors

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.

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Neuroscience for Kids: Video Panel with Authors 2021-07-23T15:31:06-04:00

Lobe Your Brain: Interview with the Author

Let’s focus on the brain! We talked to expert author Leanne Boucher Gill, who is is a professor of psychology at Nova Southeastern University, where she received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award and was named the NSU STUEY Professor of the Year. She maintains an active research program studying how exercise affects the way we think. Her new book for younger readers is all about the human brain.  Magination Press: What inspired you to write Lobe Your Brain: What Matters About Your Grey Matter?  Leanne Boucher Gill: I love reading children’s books! I use funny voices and really get into it because I love the giggles that erupt from my kids when I read them. And their questions are always so interesting. Oftentimes we’ll end up talking about related topics from the books we read, like what happened to the dinosaurs, why hurricanes happen, or even why we have to share our toys with strangers. I wanted to write a kids’ book about my favorite part of the body—the brain—because I want kids to realize just how amazing it is. MP: Why is it important for kids to know about neurology and brain structure? LBG: I think it’s important to understand that the brain is responsible for everything we do, from walking to talking to feeling. It’s also important to understand how to take care of our brains by exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep. MP: Why did you decide to focus on the lobes of the brain? LBG: The brain can be divided in many different ways. As an introduction to the brain, the four lobes are easy to describe both in terms of where they are and some of the basic functions that they help us to do, like how visual information is processed in the occipital lobe. Understanding the different functions of different brain areas lets kids know that the brain isn’t just a mush of tissue between their ears, but rather that it is a beautiful structure that is laid out purposefully. MP: It can be really difficult to explain these complex neurological ideas to young children. Why did you decide to write a book for 6- to 8-year-olds? How did you make these concepts accessible and engaging for young children? LBG: I wanted to write a children’s book on the brain because I truly think it is fascinating. There weren’t many books written for this age group on the brain. There are so many other science-related books out there for children to get them curious about how the world works. I have been organizing public events through libraries and museums since my children were babies. I think many of the complex neurological topics you refer to are not all that difficult to explain if you can think the way a child does. I don’t believe in “dumbing it down”, but rather I try to relate neurological concepts to concepts children are familiar with, like trees.  I remember I was doing one program

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Lobe Your Brain: Interview with the Author 2021-07-01T13:02:20-04:00