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Articles by Katherine Ellison:

Shopping for carbon credits,” Salon.com

Gone with the Wind,” Salon.com

An Inconvenient Woman: Laurie David,” More.com

Giving Meditation a Spin,” Washington Post

Global Warming-era parenthood,” Los Angeles Times

Mastering Your Own Mind,” Psychology Today

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Stupidity,” The New York Times

Turned Off by Global Warming,” The New York Times

What's Up, Doc? A Bloody Outrage, That’s What,” The Washington Post

Inside the Minds of Monks and Moms,”
Los Angeles Times

Working Mothers of the World, Unite!,”
The San Jose Mercury News

The Inner Mommy Rat,”
San Francisco Chronicle

This Is Your Brain on Motherhood,”
The New York Times

Baby on Board,”

The Mommy Brain
How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter


“While the Mommy Brain cliché suggests that women blunder through motherhood, we may be at our most efficient, and for good reason.”
—Parents Press
The Mommy Brain by Katherine Ellison (Basic Books, $25). Good news—motherhood makes us smarter. Ellison uses honest-to-goodness research to back up the fact that motherhood gives women unexpected mental advantages, such as improving perception, efficiency, resilience, motivation and emotional intelligence.”
—Contra Costa Times
“Tired, overwhelmed women often feel as if having a baby causes their minds to turn to mush. Not so. In her new book, The Mommy Brain, Katherine Ellison cites research showing motherhood makes women smarter and more mentally agile.”
—Psychology Today
“No, diapering does not make you ditzy. Motherhood, argues a new book, makes you smarter”
Time Magazine
“A well-documented resource book for women’s studies. The Mommy Brain would also make a great gift for a sleep-deprived new mother who feels like she can’t think anymore!”
“Ellison handily shows the strength of her cerebral faculties in this smartly written, well-researched book, which argues that motherhood does not turn your brain to mush.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Ellison expounds upon her theory of how the experience of conceiving and rearing a child creates neural enhancements in mothers in five areas: perception, efficiency, resiliency, motivation and emotional intelligence. Some of her theses make intuitive sense (you don’t need to read about the dissection of rats’ cortical areas to know about the greater efficiency of mothers; just ask yourself how many of the working mothers you know actually use their lunch hour to eat lunch); and the scientific research behind some of her other assertions is persuasive (particularly in the sections on perception and resiliency).”
—The Washington Post Book World
“If there’s one take-home message, it’s to look at life’s little challenges—whether it’s a temper tantrum or jelly smeared inside the DVD player—as learning opportunities. ‘Rather than think of your brain as stressed, imagine it stimulated,’ she writes. On a Mommy Brain: ‘[It] should be thought of less as a cerebral handicap and more as an advantage in the lifelong task of becoming smart.’”
—The Chicago Tribune
“Katherine Ellison’s ‘The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter’ provides a refreshing break from the recent media-fueled focus on widespread frustration, despair and anxiety among mothers…Ellison’s book is poised to begin a lively debate about gender roles and the malleability of the human brain. American families of every stripe will no doubt welcome a discussion that results in hopeful, positive and practical solutions that might ease some of the many stresses that are part of family life.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“‘Mommy brain’ is the excuse offered by harried parents who forget minor details, but journalist Ellison, the mother of two young boys, turns the phrase on its head. While researchers find that women do less well at standardized neuropsychological tests at one-day postpartum (duh!), mothers later show improved performance in crucial areas of perception, efficiency, resiliency, motivation, and emotional intelligence, which would make them valuable workers outside the home…Ellison has done her homework, citing legitimate social and neurological research to back up her conclusions—a procedure sadly lacking in too many books about parenting.”
—Library Journal
“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.’…Ellison’s often often humorous and always thorough approach reveals plenty of other illustrations of these skills that will amuse and intrigue smart mothers everywhere.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Moms may say they have no time to read—but they’ll make time for this discussion of brainy motherhood…. Sure to be controversial, as well as encouraging to many, many women.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“Ellison’s thorough research and reporting deals another devastating blow to the condescending stereotype of the scatter-brained mother. If motherhood didn’t make women smarter, as she shows, the human race would have never made it out of the stone age.”
—Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood
“Finally, science that actually respects women . Surprisingly engaging for the non-science reader, The Mommy Brain shines an objective light on the benefits of the maternal brain.”
—Naomi Wolf, author of Misconceptions
“I don’t think there are a lot of better things you can do for your brain than have a child.”
—Michael Merzenich, professor of neuroscience, UCSF