Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Week in Ed Science Links, Mostly

A Short Course in Thinking About Thinking

Danny Kahneman is a psychologist who is the co-creator of behavioral economics (with his late collaborator Amos Tversky), for which he won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. Discussions with him inspired a 2-day "Master Class" given by Kahneman for a group of twenty leading American business/Internet/culture innovators—a microcosm of the recently dominant sector of American business—in Napa, California in July. They came to hear him lecture on his ideas and research in diverse fields such as human judgment, decision making and behavioral economics and well-being.

Mind Reading

Whether we know it or not, we're all street-corner psychics. Without the ability to divine others' thoughts and feelings, we couldn't handle the simplest social situations—or achieve true intimacy with others.

The Science Behind Personality

Why do some of us worry endlessly about our lives, while others sail through without a care?

More News from the Savannah

People seem to have “animal-monitoring modules” in their brains—which is bad news for road safety

Program Provides Blueprint For Recruiting Minorities To Science And Engineering

Strategies for recruiting under-represented minority students to science and engineering fields and supporting their successful completion of science degrees have been documented.

Music And Language Are Processed By The Same Brain Systems

Researchers have long debated whether or not language and music depend on common processes in the mind. Now, researchers have found evidence that the processing of music and language do indeed depend on some of the same brain systems.

Cockroaches Are Morons In The Morning, Geniuses In The Evening

In its ability to learn, the cockroach is a moron in the morning and a genius in the evening. Dramatic daily variations in the cockroach's learning ability are reported in a new study. The few studies that have been done with mammals suggest their ability to learn also varies with the time of day. For example, a recent experiment with humans found that people's ability to acquire new information is reduced when their biological clocks are disrupted, particularly at certain times of day.

Female Anxiety: Females More Likely To Believe Negative Past Events Predict Future

New research might help explain higher anxiety levels in women than in men. Women were found to be more likely to believe that negative past events would reoccur in the future. Two studies involving 3- to 6-year olds and adults examined emotions and behaviors in relation to past events. Using characters in stories, girls and women more frequently predicted that characters would be worried about harm from a person who was similar to past perpetrators.

'Deviancy Training' Among Friends May Lead To More Trouble

Friendships can be beneficial, but watch out when talk about deviant topics is the best way to get a laugh in an adolescent relationship, because such interaction may well lead to questionable behavior down the road, say University of Oregon researchers.

Aggression In Adolescents Is Influenced By Siblings

Sibling order and gender have effects on children's and adolescents' aggression. Having a brother or highly aggressive sibling of either gender was linked to greater increases in aggression over time. Older siblings with younger brothers had fairly stable aggression levels over time. In addition to age differences, the researchers considered parenting styles and family economics in their analysis. The research suggests that interventions related to aggression should include both siblings and parents.

Babies Raised In Bilingual Homes Learn New Words Differently Than Infants Learning One Language

Research on the learning process for acquiring two languages from birth found differences in how bilingual babies learned words compared to monolingual babies. The research suggests that bilingual babies follow a slightly different pattern when using detailed sound information to learn differences between words. Bilingual infants failed to notice a small change in the sound of an object's name until 20 months, while monolingual infants notices the change at 17 months.

Children Of Lesbian Couples Are Doing Well

A study of families in the Netherlands indicates that children raised by lesbian couples "do not differ in well being or child adjustment compared with their counterparts in heterosexual-parent families." Among the most interesting findings, lesbian biological mothers were significantly more satisfied with their partners as a co-parent than were heterosexual mothers.

When The Going Gets Tough, Maybe You Should Quit

Are there times when it is better to simply give up? It would seem that persistence would be tonic over the long haul; hanging tough should increase the odds that you’ll succeed, and personal success is closely linked to well-being. But what if the goal is extremely unlikely? When does an admirable trait like perseverance start to look more like beating your head against the wall? Psychologists studied two personality types to see how healthy and well adjusted they are. It turns out that those who persisted in the face of a great challenge were at higher risk for inflammation, which has been linked to diabetes and heart disease.

When Children Are Upset, Mothers And Fathers Make A Difference

When a young child experiences negative emotions -- anger, anxiety, or distress -- can his parents respond in a way that fosters the child's emotional development? A new study suggests that young children benefit when mothers and fathers differ in their reactions to their child's negative emotions.

Individuals With High Fear Of Crime Twice As Likely To Suffer From Depression

A new study has shown that people with a strong fear of crime are almost twice as likely to show symptoms of depression. The research also shows that fear of crime is associated with decreased physical functioning and lower quality of life.

Altruism Evolved From Maternal Behavior, Wasp Genetics Study Suggests

Researchers have used an innovative approach to reveal the molecular basis of altruistic behavior in wasps. Like honey bee workers, wasp workers give up their reproductive capabilities and focus entirely on nurturing their larval siblings, a practice that seems to defy the Darwinian prediction that a successful organism strives, above all else, to reproduce itself. Such behaviors are indicative of a eusocial society, in which some individuals lose, or sacrifice, their reproductive functions and instead work to benefit the larger group.

'Rusting' Also Describes How Methamphetamine Harms The Body

A pharmacology professor who left the lab bench to focus on science education has developed a tactic for keeping students hands in the air at the end of class. "What does get students' attention?" she and her co-authors asked in their new research article on fostering science literacy. "Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, of course."

Why Few People Are Devoid Of Racial Bias

Why are some individuals not prejudiced? New research investigates how some individuals are able to avoid prejudicial biases despite the pervasive human tendency to favor one's own group.

Music Training Linked To Enhanced Verbal Skills

Music training, with its pervasive effects on the nervous system's ability to process sight and sound, may be more important for enhancing verbal communication skills than learning phonics, according to a new study. Musicians use all of their senses to practice and perform a musical piece. They watch other musicians, read lips, and feel, hear and perform music, thus, engaging multi-sensory skills. As it turns out, the brain's alteration from the multi-sensory process of music training enhances the same communication skills needed for speaking and reading, the study concludes.

Autism Symptoms Can Improve Into Adulthood, Study Shows

Hallmarks of autism are characteristic behaviors -- repetitive motions, problems interacting with others, impaired communication abilities -- that occur in widely different combinations and degrees of severity among those who have the condition. A new study shows that symptoms can improve with age.

Joint Attention Study Has Implications For Understanding Autism

A hallmark of human nature is the ability to share information and to comprehend the thoughts and intentions of others. Scientists refer to this skill as 'joint attention.' Even though it is a vital skill, scientists know surprisingly little about its development.

Children Of Immigrants Form Ethnic Identity At Early Age

Children of first-generation immigrants develop their ethnic identity at an earlier age than previous research has shown, according to a new longitudinal study. Additionally, a child's positive sense of ethnic identity is associated with the desire to socialize with children of various racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Victims Of Child Maltreatment More Likely To Perpetrate Youth Violence, Intimate Partner Violence

Some people are caught in a cycle of violence, perhaps beginning with their own abuse as a child and continuing into perpetration or victimization as an adult. To interrupt this cycle, it is important to understand how childhood experiences are related to behavior later in life. Researchers are examining how forms of child maltreatment victimization and youth violence and young adult intimate partner violence perpetration or victimization are interrelated.

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