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Former Editor-in-Chief, Nature Neuroscience

Former Editor-in-Chief, Nature Neuroscience

Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is a freelance science writer. From May 2003 to April 2008, she was the editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, the leading scientific journal in the field of brain research. Before becoming an editor, she did her graduate work at the University of Rochester and was a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at Yale University. She lives in northern California with her husband, a professor of neuroscience.

Why Speaking Two Languages Improves Self-Control

Does knowing that sweets are dulces in Spanish help a child learn to resist a tasty treat? It may indeed, as people who learn two languages gain cognitive advantages that extend well beyond the ability to communicate with others.    

How Self-Control Develops

As any parent of a distractible seven-year-old knows, the neural circuits involved in self-control are some of the latest-developing parts of the brain. This important set of abilities is worth the wait, though—as well as some parental effort. Parents can accelerate the development of self-control by encouraging their children to pursue goals that are challenging but not impossible, a moving target that depends on the child’s age and individual abilities.  

Why Build Self-Control?

Want your child to be successful? Help her build self-control. Most middle-class children already receive enough cognitive stimulation to develop intelligence close to its full potential. In contrast, many children have room to increase their self-control.