Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ed Links

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Hint: Don't tell your kids that they are. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on effort—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life

Are Whites More Likely to Support the Death Penalty When They Think Blacks Are Being Executed?

The answer, it seems, is yes. In a 2001 survey conducted by Mark Peffley and John Hurwitz, a random subset of whites was asked: “Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?” Somewhat favor: 29%. Strongly favor: 36%.

Another random subset of whites was asked: “Some people say that the death penalty is unfair because most of the people who are executed are African-Americans. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?” Somewhat favor: 25%. Strongly favor: 52%.

Unhappy? Self-Critical? Maybe You’re Just a Perfectionist

Several recent studies stand as a warning against taking the platitudes of achievement too seriously. The new research focuses on a familiar type, perfectionists, who panic or blow a fuse when things don’t turn out just so. The findings not only confirm that such purists are often at risk for mental distress — as Freud, Alfred Adler and countless exasperated parents have long predicted — but also suggest that perfectionism is a valuable lens through which to understand a variety of seemingly unrelated mental difficulties, from depression to compulsive behavior to addiction.

BLOWING IT | Ideas | Unlocking the secrets of self-sabotage : Unlocking the secrets of self-sabotage

A new study suggests that if you believe you're mediocre, chances are you'll keep shooting yourself in the foot to prove it

Measuring ancient inequality

Is inequality largely the result of the Industrial Revolution? Or were ancient incomes as unequal as they are today in poor pre-industrial societies? Looking at pre-industrial inequality from the Roman Empire in 14 AD to British India in 1947 generates new insights into the inequality and economic development connection over the very long run.

College Admissions as Conspiracy Theory

Four books about access to higher education have recently been released, and each has much to say about what is wrong with college admissions. They all successfully support their themes and are worth the read, especially for those not familiar with the grave sociological impact of admissions practices.

Time Waster Extraordinaire: New York Times Magazine: Seventh Annual Year of Ideas

For the seventh consecutive December, the magazine looks back on the passing year through a special lens: ideas. Editors and writers trawl the oceans of ingenuity, hoping to snag in our nets the many curious, inspired, perplexing and sometimes outright illegal innovations of the past 12 months. Then we lay them out on the dock, flipping and flopping and gasping for air, and toss back all but those that are fresh enough for our particular cut of intellectual sushi. For better or worse, these are 70 of the ideas that helped make 2007 what it was. Enjoy.

Participation In High School Activities Lowers Risk Of Smoking 3 Years After Graduation

Students who participate in high school sports or individual physical activity are less likely to smoke than their classmates. The new study indicates that the protective effect of participation extends at least three years beyond graduation. Researchers discovered, however, that girls do not derive the same level of protection from school sports as do boys.

Parents prefer teachers who make their children happy even more than those who emphasize academic achievement, a new study shows. When requesting a teacher for their elementary school children, parents are more likely to choose teachers who receive high student satisfaction ratings than teachers with strong achievement ratings.

Children learn by imitating adults and will change what they know about an object to mimic adult behavior. Watching an adult do something wrong, or in a disorganized or inefficient way, can make it much harder for a child to learn to do it right.

Very low levels of lead in the blood -- previously believed to be safe -- could be contributing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The research findings support a growing body of national evidence suggesting there is no safe level of lead in the blood. Other studies show a link between low-level lead exposure and lower IQ.

Young children whose mothers are depressed are more prone to behavioral problems and injury, suggests new research. For every 1 point increase on the depression score, the risk of injury rose by 4% and the risk of behavioral problems increased by 6%.

Turns out there might be some truth to the popular wisdom that plump babies are happy babies. A landmark public health study has found that people who had a low birth weight are more likely to experience depression and anxiety later in life.

A popular urban legend suggests that Eskimos have dozens of words for snow. As a culture that faces frigid temperatures year-round, it is important to differentiate between things like snow on the ground ("aput") and falling snow ("qana"). Psychologists are taking note of this phenomenon, and are beginning to examine if learning different names for things helps to tell them apart.

Even after more than a year of maintaining a normalized body weight, young women with past anorexia nervosa show vastly different patterns of brain activity compared to similar women without the eating disorder. Studying these differences in brain function could lead to a better understanding of why some young women are at greater risk of developing the disorder.

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