New in the APS Observer: Nathan on Growing New Neurons, and Dave on “A Good Word for Self-Esteem”

The December APS Observer is out with an essay by Nathan on “The Neural Greenhouse:  Teaching Students How to Grow Neurons and Keep Them Alive.” Our brains are like greenhouses, he notes, with new neurons sprouting daily, “while others wither and die.” To take this neuroscience into the classroom, he offers three activities.

In the same issue, I say, “Let’s Hear a Good Word for Self-Esteem.” Mindful of recent research on the perils of excessive self-regard—of illusory optimism, self-serving bias, and the like—I offer a quick synopsis of work on the benefits of a sense of one’s self-worth. I also offer Google ngram figures showing sharply increased occurrences of “self-esteem” in printed English over the last century, and of decreasing occurrences of “self-control.”