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

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Originally posted on December 16, 2014.

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.”

About the Author
David Myers has spent his entire teaching career at Hope College, Michigan, where he has been voted “outstanding professor” and has been selected by students to deliver the commencement address. His award-winning research and writings have appeared in over three dozen scientific periodicals and numerous publications for the general public. He also has authored five general audience books, including The Pursuit of Happiness and Intuition: Its Powers and Perils. David Myers has chaired his city's Human Relations Commission, helped found a thriving assistance center for families in poverty, and spoken to hundreds of college and community groups. Drawing on his experience, he also has written articles and a book (A Quiet World) about hearing loss, and he is advocating a transformation in American assistive listening technology (see