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The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter Hardcover – April 12, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Israeli scientists gave 100 brand new mothers an IQ test, they scored significantly lower than non-pregnant childless women. To this, Ellison, a Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist and mother of two, bluntly answers: "Duh... you are now looking at your future for at least the next eighteen years in its yowling red face. It's possible that your performance on standardized neuropsychological tests simply isn't a top priority." Throughout this well-framed argument for the intellectual pluses of motherhood, Ellison expertly demystifies the legend of "the mommy brain"—an assumption that pregnancy and parenting make women a little ditzy. By juxtaposing entertaining anecdotes from her own life and the lives of her friends with fascinating studies in neurobiology and psychology, Ellison substantiates her claim that motherhood is an "advantage in the lifelong task of becoming smart." Her argument's foundation is that learning changes the brain, and she makes a larger argument about the kind of intelligence motherhood fosters. Traits such as perception, efficiency, resiliency, motivation and emotional intelligence, she says, are present whether one's a good mom or "a CEO of a Fortune 500 company." Both, for example, must have the "logistical capacities that take you through the day with the minimum bloodshed and maximum productivity." Ellison's often humorous and always thorough approach reveals plenty of other illustrations of these skills that will amuse and intrigue smart mothers everywhere.
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Review

"It's a revolution for the brain when you have a child... an epoch of learning and brain-induced changes, because everything matters so much. I don't think there are a lot of better things you can do for your brain than have a child."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (April 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465019056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465019052
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,878,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I never thought about it but I think Ms. Ellison is right. One's ability to multi-task definitely grows with children. Ms. Ellison is able to pull together information from many, many sources and present a body of knowledge in an easy to read and understand format. Rather than thinking that "mothers" make poor employees and are unable to cope because of their "home" responsibilities this book should open eyes. And hopefully also show the advantages of being an involved parent.
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Format: Hardcover
Ellison's book assures us mothers that we're not nuts. There is indeed a scientific explanation for the temporary insanity that new mothers experience. But what follows as we begin to settle in to motherhood is even more fascinating, as evidenced by the research The Mommy Brain presents. Readers may be skeptical that intelligence in the book is defined in unconventional ways. But this is something educators now know--that not all intelligence shows up on an IQ test. Ellison's book lets you uncover all of a woman's smarts unleashed by motherhood.
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Format: Paperback
Fascinating! I'm kind of a brain science nerd (and a new mom) but this book is very approachable and even entertaining to read - from the first page you're kind of sucked in. The studies cited are just eye-opening. It's great for both moms AND dads, as the author talks a bit about how parenting affects the brain wiring of both sexes. I really like that the author makes her point without flowery language or rambling on for pages and pages. I'm really enjoying it.
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Format: Paperback
The book that dispels the notions that mothers leave their brains in the delivery room. Katherine Ellison proves scientifically that having children changes mothers' brains for the better! How could that be a bad read?
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