Po Bronson

Forget Brainstorming

Brainstorming in a group became popular in 1953 with the publication of a business book, "Applied Imagination." But it's been proven not to work since 1958, when Yale researchers found that the technique actually reduced a team's creative output: the same number of people generate more and better ideas separately than together.

The Creativity Crisis

Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the "Torrance kids," a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, "How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?"

Best of NurtureShock / Research Blogging Awards Nominee

If you are new to our work, there is a list of some of our favorite posts on this page (in the lower right column), and we can't resist sharing some others that we'd love you to take a look at – posts you might have missed along the way.

Can You Never Tell a Child She's Smart?

Ultimately, we want kids to believe they can get good at skills and talents if they practice and try hard. We want them to be persistent in the face of early difficulty.

This is Your Brain on a Test

  This is a picture of a Quick-Cap, which measures electrical activity on the surface of the scalp. While it looks like something out of a futuristic movie about thought control, it's actually quite comfortable and unobtrusive.

The Downside of Always Telling Kids to Work Harder

It's now a famous construct: when we praise children for being smart, we are indirectly teaching them that success is due to their innate intelligence. They become fixated on "looking smart," and when they run into difficulty, they privately conclude that they're simply not smart enough.

Is the Brain Like a Muscle, Really?

Back in 2007, Ashley and I reported on the science of praise for New York magazine, highlighting in particular the body of work by Dr. Carol Dweck. Dweck had done studies for over a decade – and we covered them all – including a brand new semester-long intervention that had been conducted with Lisa Blackwell at Life Sciences Secondary School in East Harlem.

Do Your Kids Know How to Fight?

My kids get stressed out from social conflict. Each has a distinctly different style of coping. Our son's a retreater. "We're not friends anymore," my son says about one of his best friends, whenever his feelings get hurt.

The Rocky Science of Good Marriages

Last weekend, Elizabeth Weil's New York Times Magazine story detailed her marriage to Dan Duane, and told of their many year-long adventures with self-improvement gurus in hopes of making their marriage better.

Do Disney Princesses Make Young Girls Obsessed With Thinness?

My 5-year-old daughter is excited to see The Princess and the Frog, Disney's new movie being released nationwide next weekend. Here's how I'd rank her reasons for being excited:    * There's popcorn at theaters, in huge quantities;    * The movie's about a princess;     * The princess is African-American; and    * The movie is set in New Orleans, where my wife's family is from.I know many parents won't overtly discuss  No. 3 with their daughters, figuring the movie's focus on an...

What Are 'Good Risks' for Maturing Children?

Yesterday, my 8.5-year-old son gave me a hug and told me I was the best dad in the whole world. We were just out for a walk with the family – I hadn't bribed him at all.

A Follow Up on Gratitude & Teens

On Tuesday, we wrote about Jeff Froh's research on kids and gratitude – how it was hard for kids to feel grateful to people when they were still trying to develop their sense of independence.

Why Counting Blessings Is So Hard for Teenagers

As Thanksgiving preparations shifted into high gear, media outlets large and small have been opining on the importance of gratitude, but, more specifically, they've often targeted their sights on the most ungrateful creature of all: the adolescent.

How Not to Helicopter

I've never bought macrobiotic cupcakes or hypoallergenic socks. Nor have I hired a tutor for pencil-holding deficiency, or put covers on the stove knobs, or used a leash on a toddler to be safe in a busy airport.

Is Fantasy Too Uncool for Middle Childhood?

One of the dimensions of children I'm fascinated with is the role of fantasy, and how it finds outlets during the middle phases of childhood. During early childhood, fantasy is expressed actively, through role-playing in pretend scenarios.

Why Teens Care So Much About Clothes

"We place kids in schools together with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other kids typically from similar economic and cultural backgrounds. We group them all within a year or so of one another in age.

Don't Blame it on the Hormones

As I've been touring the country, whenever I discuss the science of adolescent behavior, audiences have often asked why I never mention the role of hormones.Ahh … hormones.

Can Happiness and Parenting Coexist?

A new analysis from the UK, just published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, concludes that kids make married couples happier. The first child only barely improves happiness, but the second child takes married parents to a new level of bliss.

Is the Candy Witch Coming to Your House?

When I was a kid, I wondered why the legend of The Great Pumpkin never caught on. Halloween was my favorite holiday, even though you didn't get the day off.

Are Disney's Current Claims for Baby Einstein Any Better?

We got a lot of letters yesterday like this one, from a mother in Texas:I am the mother of identical twin girls who are almost 11.  When they were infants, I would sit them in their bouncy seats and let them watch the 3 Baby Einstein VHS videos I bought online from Julie Aigner all those years ago (Baby Einstein, Baby Bach and Baby Mozart).

Baby Einstein is Dead! Long Live Baby Einstein!

There was a lot of hoopla about Baby Einstein over the weekend. To understand it, you need a brief backstory – and then some deeper backstory, too.A month and a half ago, Disney announced in a press release that it was going to begin issuing refunds for its Baby Einstein videos: buyers of the DVDs can return them to Disney for $15.99 or exchange them for other products.

In Defense of Children Behaving Badly

It's widely accepted in our society today that young kids' behavior is a window into their future. When they can't sit still in preschool, or they whack a friend, or they disobey─we recognize these as signs of portent.