A

active working memory
mental suspension of components while using or manipulating them; includes juggling parts of tasks, linking short- and long-term intentions & needs, & freedom from interference

affective matching
programming one’s demeanor & actions to fit with emotional tone or needs of others

alertness
vigilance for intentional intake of information

allostasis
the process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis

anterior
anatomical term for ‘front’ end, see rostral

applied reasoning
the analysis of information to deal with challenges that are not immediately evident or achievable; reasoning can be inductive or deductive

articulation
effective oral musculature & voice control for intelligible speech

attention
network of controls over brain performance, including mental energy, processing of incoming information, & regulation of output

B

brainstorming
generation of original ideas or perspectives

C

chunk size capacity
amount of material (verbal or nonverbal) that can processed, stored, or generated at one time

code switching
the capacity to gauge speech for the audience & context; includes selecting appropriate language for stages of relationships

cognition
the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses

cognitive activation
using incoming information to trigger new ideas & connect with prior knowledge & experience

collaborative interaction
shared work & play that is cooperative, non-aggressive, & constructive

complex decision-making
application of stepwise approaches to resolve complicated questions or challenges (sometimes called problem-solving)

conceptualization
integration of critical features composing a class of ideas or objects; includes formation, threading, application, revision, & retention

conflict resolution
settlement of interpersonal disagreements without aggression (physical, verbal, or passive)

conversational exchange
communication that is reciprocal & effective

corpus callosum
the large bundle of nerve fibers linking the left and right cerebral hemispheres

creative thinking
innovative thought

D

default network
a network of brain regions that are active when the person is not focused on the outside world and the brain is at wakeful rest.

didactic
learning a method of learning that emphasizes the authority of a teacher in consolidating facts, formulas, ideas & phenomena

discourse processing
interpretation of language extending beyond the boundaries of sentences (e.g., lectures, verbal explanations, paragraphs, passages, books)

discourse production
generation of extended pieces of language (e.g., paragraphs, reports, extended explanations, narratives) in a cohesive chain of sentences

E

energy flow
reliability of cognitive energy supply

evaluative thinking
systematic appraisal of ideas, products, points of view, & opportunities (sometimes called critical thinking)

evolutionary biologists
a scientist who studies the origin of species from a common descent and their change over time

executive function
a set of brain processses responsible for tasks like organizing, planning, abstract thinking, initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions

expressive language
use of linguistic sounds, words, sentences, & discourse for communication (in oral, written, or signing format)

F

facilitation-inhibition
appropriate response inhibition; consideration of options for action, suppression of ill-advised output prior to acting or starting a task

fine motor function
control over hands & fingers for non-writing, dexterous movements, often entailing eye-hand interactions

fluency
smoothness & efficiency of speech & language production

focal maintenance
appropriately sustaining, transitioning, & dividing focus on incoming information (sometimes called attention span or sustained attention)

formative testing
testing conducted during the production process (like of a television show)

free play
play that is child-driven and open-ended

frontal lobe
one of the four subdivisions of the cerebral cortex; plays a role in controlling movement and the planning and coordinating of behavior

G

graphomotor function
motor abilities for handwriting

gross motor function
control over the body’s large muscles for coordinated, effective movement

guided play
play that is loosely structured by adults with specific objects, games or interactions

H

habituation
a form of learning, in which a baby, after a period of exposure to a stimulus, stops responding when there is no reinforcement

hemispherectomy
a surgical procedure where one half/hemisphere of the brain is removed or disabled

hemispheres
the left and right halves of the human brain that are structurally alike and serve different brain functions

higher order
cognition inter-related processes that accomplish complex thinking & address sophisticated mental challenges

higher sequential thinking
interpretation of complex linear information; use of serial order for logical thinking

higher spatial thinking
nonverbal interpretation & manipulation of objects, imagery, & abstractions

hippocampus
area of the brain that functions in learning, memory and emotion

homeostasis
a relatively stable state of equilibrium (or a tendency toward such state) between the different but interdependent elements of an organism or population

human brain
the center of the human nervous system located within the skull; controls and coordinates mental & physical actions

humor
understanding/use appropriate use & monitoring of humor; understanding jokes

I

image definition/marketing
building & projecting a personal image that is appropriate & appealing to others (“self-branding”)

implicit communication
discerning or conveying true intentions & emotions

initiation technique
knowing how to launch a relationship or enter into a social contact

interpersonal control
maintenance of optimal balance between domination of others & capitulation to peer/group pressures

intraparietal sulcus (IPS)
located on the parietal lobe, its principal functions are related to perceptual-motor coordination and visual attention

L

language
processing & use of linguistic sounds, words, sentences, & discourse

lateralized
describes the two distinct cerebral hemispheres of the brain, structurally alike but functionally different

lobes
refers to the four parts of the telecephalon, the largest part of the human brain

long-term memory access
retrieval of information, experiences, or skills; includes free recall (minimal cueing) & recognition (extensive cueing, such as multiple-choice)

long-term memory consolidation
storage of information; includes use of schema, categories, & strategies for accessible mental filing

M

material-spatial organization
capacity to maintain spaces, supplies, & task-related tools systematically arranged — “keeping track of belongings”

MEG
(abbreviation for magnetocencephalography) a technique for mapping brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occuring naturally in the brain.

memory
storage & recall of information over a brief span, extended periods, or while using or manipulating the information or task components

mental energy controls
functions regulating the initiation & maintenance of cognitive energy flow for learning, work, & behavioral control

mental exertion
energy allocation for cognitive work

mental representation
embedding of new ideas in one’s mind so that they are most meaningful & lasting, usually by portraying them in several ways

metacognition
awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking process

Montessori
a method of education developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori that features multiage learning groups, guided activity choice and uninterrupted blocks of work time.

morphological
application (language) use of word parts that convey or modify meanings

morphology
insight recognition & interpretation of word parts that convey some meaning

muscle memory
when a movement is repeated over an extended period of time and a long-term memory is created

N

neuromodevelopmentalist
a sub-specialist in pediatrics with special training around neurodevelopmental disabilities.

neuromotor function
control over movement of large muscles, hands, & fingers

O

occipital lobe
one of the four subdivisions of the cerebral cortex, it plays a role in processing visual information

otoscope
an instrument for examining the interior of the ear, especially the eardrum, consisting of a magnifying lens and a light. Also called an auriscope.

P

pacing
working or acting at a rate that is appropriate to the task, without rushing

parietal lobe
one of the four subdivisions of the cerebral cortex, it plays a role in sensory processes, attention, and language

phonological processing
receiving, distinguishing, manipulating, & retaining the language sounds (phonemes) composing words

plasticity
the ability of the brain to change with learning

playful learning
a teaching approach that uses free-play and guided-play activities to promote academic, socio-emotional, and cognitive development.

political acumen
facility to nurture positive relationships with influential people, who could affect one’s well-being, particularly adults

posterior
back end of the brain

prefrontal cortex
part of the brain that is largely responsible for decision-making, self-control and reasoning

previewing
anticipation of likely outcomes (e.g., of plans, actions, events, & statements)

primary auditory cortex
the region of the brain that is responsible for the processing of sound information, including hearing, pitch & volume

primary motor cortex
the region of the brain that is responsible for controlling voluntary movements and motor functions

primary somatosensory cortex
a region of the brain located behind the central sulcus and is involved in processing information related to touch

primary visual cortex
the part of the cerebral cortex responsible for processing visual information

processing controls
functions regulating the processing of incoming information

processing depth-detail
intensity of focus for interpreting & storing incoming stimuli/information

production controls
functions regulating the quality of academic output & behavioral control

prosody
verbal intonation, inflection, phrasing, & tonal variation during speech or oral reading

R

rate alignment
working at optimal speed to implement actions or interpret data efficiently

receptive language
interpretation of linguistic sounds, words, sentences, & discourse (in oral, written, or signing format)

reinforceability
use of previous experience & prior knowledge to guide current action

rostral
front or anterior part of the brain

S

saliency determination
discrimination between more & less important inputs (sometimes called selective attention)

satisfaction level
capacity to focus on activities or topics yielding only moderate or low levels of excitation; relative need for intense stimulation & gratification

self-monitoring
observing one’s own output & work (in process or after the fact) in order to detect mistakes or deviations from goals so as to make necessary modifications

self-regulation
the ability to monitor and modify emotions, focus or shift attention, control impulses, tolerate frustration, delay gratification, and co-regulate in social interactions

semantic understanding
knowledge of word meanings (sometimes called receptive vocabulary)

semantic use
application of word meanings (sometimes called expressive vocabulary)

sensitive growing periods
times when experiences have a greater impact on certain areas of brain development

sentence comprehension
comprehension of word order & grammatical construction (sometimes called syntax)

sentence formulation
accurate expression of thoughts deploying complete, grammatically correct syntax

sequencing
putting information or actions in the proper order

sequential memory
storage & recall of steps, events, & other modes of serial ordering

sequential output
generation of products & material in which the content is arranged in a meaningful serial order

short-term memory
brief registration of new information (which may be used, stored, or discarded); includes recoding & entry of modality-specific inputs

sleep-arousal
balance regulation of sleep/wake cycles

social cognition
thinking that facilitates interpersonal interactions

social cue responsiveness
monitoring & accurate interpretation of informative social signals (e.g., circumstances, facial expressions, gestures)

social regulation/presentation
perceiving, monitoring, & responding within social settings

social-motor output
effect of muscular patterns (could be voluntary or involuntary) in creating an image that can facilitate relationships

spatial memory
storage & recall of shapes, symbols, images, & configurations

spatial ordering
processing & production of material that is visual and/or exists in a spatial array

spatial output
generation of products containing complex visual-perceptual features

spatial perception
interpreting relationships within & between spatial patterns & visual-spatial information (e.g., during sports or art appreciation)

strategy use
working & thinking tactically to facilitate solving a problem or completing a task

summative evaluation
research conducted after the production process is complete (as of a television show)

superior
word for ‘above’ when describing a location in the brain

synapse/synaptic connections
a connection between neurons that allows neurons to communicate with each other via neurotransmitters

T

temporal lobe
one of the four major subdivisions of each hemisphere of the cerebral cortex, it functions in auditory perception, speech, and complex visual perceptions

temporal organization
monitoring & deployment of time intervals, schedules, & the staging of extended work — “keeping track of time”

temporal-sequential ordering
processing, storage, & production of material that is linear or exists in a meaningful serial order

temporal-sequential perception
accurately discerning serial order in data

topic selection-maintenance
knowing what to discuss when, with whom, & for how long

transgenerational effect
Health effect that occurs when a pollutant or toxic substance passes from a parent to an offspring.

V

verbal elaboration
development & extension of thoughts using language

verbal pragmatics
understanding & use of language in social contexts

verbal support
making sincere, positive, & appropriate comments to others to facilitate friendships & working relationships

W

word retrieval
recall of precise words with adequate efficiency/speed