Monday, October 08, 2007

The Week in Ed Science Links (and More)

Slim pickings this week.

Separate Is Never Equal. How social segregation leads to economic inequality

The power of segregation may be even greater than commonly thought. The study shows that even when there is no history of discrimination between two groups, social segregation alone can cause dramatic economic inequities to develop. . . . The team found that even when the two groups start out equal, some slight discrepancy is bound to develop randomly over time. As soon as that happens, the same dynamics come into play and magnify the inequality, making one group wealthier and more highly skilled and the other group poorer and less skilled. This result should serve as a warning for societies with strong social divisions, Sethi says. Even when social groups are economically equal, continued segregation may result in inequality over time.

Why people cheat when they don't have to

Why . . . do people cheat in situations where there is little to gain - one good grade, a slight edge in a game - and so much to lose? This irrationality may be the rule, rather than the exception, when it comes to cheating, according to a group of scholars who have turned their attention to the mysteries of the cheating mind.

How bird brains are shaking up science

Scientists are now studying various birds to explore everything from spatial memory to the grammatical structure of human language. This research is helping to reveal the secrets of the human brain. But it is also overturning the conventional evolutionary story of intelligence, in which all paths lead to the creation of the human cortex. The tree of life, scientists are discovering, has numerous branches of brilliance.

Diet Education Had No Long Term Impact On Childhood Obesity

An education programme which successfully cut the level of obesity in children by teaching them about healthy eating and discouraging fizzy drinks was no longer effective three years after the intervention came to an end, according to a study. The authors say the original study provided hope that simple interventions could have an impact on obesity levels but they now believe these sorts of programmes need to be continuous if their long term effect is to be properly assessed.

Preventing Bullying At Schools With Computer Role Play Game

An interactive role play game which helps children to cope with bullying at schools has been developed. Currently over 1,000 children all over Europe are part of pilot studies which aim to explore the impact that the software may have in the possible reduction of bullying among pupils.

Early School Success Protects Against Teen And Young Adult Drug Use

Adolescents who do well in school are less likely to smoke, drink or do drugs. But which comes first: drug use or school failure? Patterns of educational success or failure are well established for most adolescents by the time they reach the end of eighth grade, while drug use has only begun to emerge by that time.

Starting University May Be Hazardous To Your Health, Study Suggests

Moving away from home and adapting to a new social environment are just two of the many challenges that new students face as they enter university. A new study has found that these challenges can actually have a negative effect on a student's health. Female students who lived away from home were three times more likely to report symptoms of binge eating compared to those students living with parents during their first year of university studies.

Negativity Is Contagious, Study Finds

Though we may not care to admit it, what other people think about something can affect what we think about it. This is how critics become influential and why our parents' opinions about our life choices continue to matter, long after we've moved out. But what kind of opinions have the most effect? A new study reveals that negative opinions cause the greatest attitude shifts, not just from good to bad, but also from bad to worse.

Teens Getting Taller And Heavier

Adolescents have grown taller and put on weight over the last 30 years, but the problem of underweight teens may be worse. An analysis of the height, weight and body-mass index of teenagers during 1966-1969 and 1995-1997 in Norway demonstrates a shift towards taller and heavier teenagers, but also hints that there are more underweight adolescents.

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