Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D.
Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is the science editor of BeingHuman.org. She co-authored two books with Dr. Sam Wang, most recently Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College. Their first book, Welcome to Your Brain, was named science book of the year in 2009 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, she has a bachelor’s degree in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Rochester. She did postdoctoral research on neural development at Yale University. Her science writing has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, El Mundo, and the Times of London. She lives in Northern California.
Play, Stress, and the Learning Brain
In this article, adapted from Dr. Sam Wang and Dr. Sandra Aamodt’s book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College (Bloomsbury USA, 2011; OneWorld Publications, 2011), the authors explore how play enhances brain development in children. As Wang and Aamodt describe, play activates the brain’s reward circuitry but not negative stress responses, which can facilitate attention and action. Through play, children practice social interaction and build skills and interests to draw upon in the years to come.