Sam Wang, Ph.D.
Sam Wang, Ph.D., is an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University. Before that he studied at Caltech, Stanford, and Bell Labs. He has published more than 60 articles on the brain in leading scientific journals. Dr. Wang is the coauthor of two books with Dr. Sandra Aamodt, 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. He is a former W. M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Investigator, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and National Science Foundation CAREER Award recipient. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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.