BOLD Blog in Brief

Environmental contexts are important considerations as we investigate how humans learn and grow. This month, BOLD blog authors discuss how the environment affects learning, developmental trajectories, and research design.
BOLD Blog in Brief

Why do children so easily change their answers to questions? To find out, Elizabeth Bonawitz explores the influence of social environments on children’s shifting answers. As children gather evidence from a variety of sources, data from knowledgeable, helpful people have a greater effect on their learning. Bonawitz and her colleagues found that when children revise their responses to questions, they are leveraging the social context to learn about the world. Read more here.  

The fact that individuals with similar starting points in life develop very differently continues to mystify. Researchers Elliot Tucker-Drob and Andreas Brandmaier discuss how such divergence occurs through the reciprocal interplay of genes and environments, in an interview with BOLD blog. For example, children with a genetic disposition to engage with schoolwork enjoy classroom experiences. Thus, their genes stimulate exposure, which in turn stimulates their learning. Read more here.  

Researchers know that the environmental conditions in which data is collected can influence results. Studies conducted in schools are valuable, but can be disruptive to classroom routines. Also, classroom environments do not offer the same controlled consistency as a laboratory setting. Jessica Massonnié urges fellow researchers to collaborate closely with teachers and school personnel to strike a balance between the fundamentals of a valid study and the realities of school environments. Read more here.

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,, CC BY 2.0 

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