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Author Archives: Jessica F. Cantlon

January 30, 2013

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Using Sesame Street to Study Brain Development

By Jessica F. Cantlon


Jessica F. Cantlon is Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester.

I am never quite sure what my daughter is thinking about as we interact.  I’ll watch my child’s reactions as I read her a book and I wonder whether she is thinking about the words that I am saying, the printed words on the page, the pictures I’m gesturing toward, or something else entirely.  And, when I see her completely mesmerized by something we’re watching on television,  I often wonder what aspects of the program she’s absorbing. One way to get ‘inside’ the minds of young children, especially children too young to articulate their thoughts in words, are studies that measure children’s neural activity while they engage in everyday activities like listening to stories or watching educational television. Such studies can not only help us understand which pieces of information children are processing in everyday situations, but how their brain is filtering, reacting to and registering the content to which they are exposed. Read More

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