Questions for “Kids use more of the brain than adults do to process language”

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Kids use more of their brains to understand language, new data show. By adulthood, the right brain has largely bowed out, leaving the left brain to do this mental heavy-lifting.

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To accompany feature “Kids use more of the brain than adults do to process language


Before Reading:

1. How similar is your brain from a toddler’s? Or from your parent’s? What do you think it is that makes it different?

2. Brain scientists talk about brain plasticity. What do you think they mean by that?

During Reading:

1.  According to this story, how does the right side of the brain change over time? When do those changes begin and when do they end?

2.  How might the new findings explain why children can heal from certain brain injuries better than adults?

3.  What is brain plasticity and which patients does William Gaillard think could benefit from improving our knowledge of it?

4.  Back 100 years ago or more, how did scientists tend to learn about brain function?

5.  Sam Wang describes children as “mental switch-hitters.” What do you think he means by this?

After Reading:

1.  Why do you think children use more of their brains than adults do to process language? What might be an advantage to that? Why might not adults need that advantage, too?