CRF Family Research Scholar 2010-2011 Dr. Rebecca Spencer is spearheading research on children's napping habits, answering the question “Why is it that some children require naps while others of the same age do not?”. Her research, recently published in a special sleep issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has concluded that brain development, rather than the age of a child, is the driving factor in whether or not children need naps. The development of the hippocampus, the brain structure responsible for short-term memory, is extremely influential in determining when children will transition out of napping. Children with an immature hippocampus require naps when their hippocampus has reached its capacity. Naps can help move memory from short-term storage to long-term storage in the cortex. This new discovery by Dr. Spencer has been making waves in the psychology community, it has recently been featured in news publications such as MirageNews, The List, and Yahoo News. Read more about Dr. Spencer’s research here.