Author Archives: abeasley

Toddler Organization of Toys

As discussed in class, most things are placed into categories or concepts. I am a preschool teacher and I see just how difficult it can be to place items into categories through the eyes of a two year old.  Many books and online tools are available to help children learn the skills to place objects into categories. The main way I teach my students how to organize items is by beginning when they are cleaning up. The two year old students in my class are able to identify all of the animals and place them in the animal bucket or put all the blocks into the block bin. What I find the most interesting and a subject that raised a question was if children at the age of two can categorize toys by type, why are they unable to place all the squares with the squares and circles with the circles? Below is the answer I received once I researched more into the question.

Image result for children sorting

“Like all other math skills, sorting and patterning skills are developed in a sequential manner.Children begin by comparing objects and matching like items. Then they learn to categorize, which is sorting. They typically start with sorting by color, then moving on to sort by type.Next comes classifying. When learning to classify, children first learn how to classify by naming attributes that allow items to fit within a group, then move on to identifying attributes that exclude from a group.By having a foundation in sorting, children can then move on to the recognizing and creating of patterns, another way to organize. By the end of kindergarten, children should be able to recognize and produce different kinds of simple patterns, such as AB, AAB, and ABC patterns”.

Based off this explanation, I am providing the building blocks for the children to understand schemas and they will be able to categorize by shape and color once they have an understanding of different exemplars for different concepts. Once children are primed they will be able to make the connections, for example, that all the red circles go with all the other red circles. So my job as a teacher, is to give them the tools to be able to make those connections once their brain has the ability to do so.


“You mean that didn’t happen to me?”

Imagine remembering an event with specific details then find out that the event never occurred. False memories can trick our brain into thinking were experienced something or remember details about an event differently than how they actually occurred. A study done by Dr. Stephen Lindsay at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, made participants believe they had played a prank on their first grade teacher using gooey slime. In reality, the event never occurred, but Dr. Lindsay used class pictures (only seen by half of participants) to make the participants believe the event occurred.  There results surprised even the psychologists performing the experiment:

“Only 27.3 percent of the students without photos “remembered” the Slime story. But a whopping 65.2 percent of those who were shown a class photo recalled even precise details about putting that awful stuff in the teacher’s desk, and getting chewed out for it”.

The most interesting part of the experiment was when the participants were told that the event never occurred. The experimenters got responses like “You mean that didn’t happen to me?” and “No Way, I remember it. That is so weird”.

I have had many memories with friends; those friends have remembered events differently as I did. For example, I went to a concert and had a great time. Weeks later, I was telling a mutual friend about the concert and I was determined the band played a particular song. I can still imagine the band playing that song and what each member of the band was doing during that song. In reality, the band had never played that song as a few other friends who attended the concert had said. I always wondered why I had the false memory of that song being played and the only explanation I can think of is that the song imagined them playing was my favorite song from the band.


Newly Found Anxiety Neurons in the Brain

Coming from someone who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (alongside other disorders), the connection between everyday life and cognitive studies are the most compelling when they involve mental disorders. In the following article, mice were studied during multiple maze trials and it was discovered that particular neurons in the bottom of the hippocampus became active when the mice were under anxiety inducing trails, such as ones that included the mice having to go into open spaces at the end of the maze routes. Below is a photo of the anxiety specific neurons that are believe to work alongside other parts of the brain to trigger anxiety in the mice. The researchers for this study decided to change the activity of the specific neurons using optogenics. This would be able to change where or not the mice would be able to feel a large amount of anxiety when the neurons where triggered. Also, the technique was used to “dial down” the amount of anxiety the mice felt when in the trails designed to make them more anxious. When the neurons were triggered, the mice did not want to participate in the study and did not want to move at all.


Overall, the study decided that as much as these neurons played an active roll in the ability for the mice to feel anxiety, the neurons are not the sole provider of anxiety in the mice. Other brain parts, including the hypothalamus are a part of a “circuit” that  allows the mice to feel anxiety. As discussed in class, each piece of the brain has its own specific duties, but in most cases it takes many pieces of the brain in order to control even basic functions.  Researchers believe this study is a large step in creating new therapies to control anxiety.

The connection between everyday life for millions of people and this discovery of anxiety specific neurons could change how many people live. Therapies could be designed to control the crippling anxiety that is a reality for me on a daily basis. if therapies are designed based on this study many people could  have a basic conversation with a stranger or eat in front of people they do not know. The amount of anxiety that a single person experiences in a day can destroy their lives. From personal experience, I know that these new therapies are needed because medicine can only do so much and psychologists only have a number of anxiety reducing techniques to give to people who cannot leave their house because of how bad their anxiety is.