Monday, March 10, 2008

Ed Links

[Irrelevant but fun:] Things Vital to the Honor of Human Life

Samuel Johnson once cautioned against the practice of “recommending” Shakespeare through the greatest-hits approach of quoting selected passages. Remarkable as the chosen passages might be, Johnson warned, the critic who relied simply on quotation was like the man “who, when he offered his house to sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen.” [See the comments for other favorite lines. E.g. : “Reading is thinking with the mind of a stranger” - Borges —AS]

Pedagogy of Human Capital

Post-Fordism’s appetite for self-directed activity is bringing about a crisis in progressive education. No longer perceived as threatening, a work force trained to think for itself has become highly desirable. So what should an emancipatory education entail today?, asks Stewart Martin

Sociable, and Smart

In spotted hyenas, scientists are finding clues to why the human brain grew so large and complex. . . . Dr. Holekamp has been working . . . to survey dozens of skulls from all four species in the hyena family. Their preliminary results indicate hyenas follow the same rule as primates. “It’s just what the social complexity hypothesis would predict,” Dr. Holekamp said. “The hyenas with the simplest social systems have the tiniest frontal cortices. The spotted hyena, which lives in the most complex societies, has far and away the largest frontal cortex.” . . . “There’s a spectrum,” Dr. Holekamp said. Joan Silk . . . praises Dr. Holekamp’s research, calling it “directly relevant to our understanding of the origins of social complexity and intelligence.”

Babies See Pure Color, but Adults Peer Through Prism of Language

As humans grow older, their instinctive perception of color gives way to one mediated by the constructs of language.

Brain Network Linked To Contemplation In Adults Is Less Complex In Children

A brain network linked to introspective tasks -- such as forming the self-image or understanding the motivations of others -- is less intricate and well-connected in children, scientists have learned. They also showed that the network establishes firmer connections between various brain regions as an individual matures. The scientists are working to establish a picture of how these connections and other brain networks normally develop and interact. They want to use that picture to conduct more detailed assessments of the effects of aging, brain injuries and conditions such as autism on brain function.

When It Comes To Emotions, Eastern And Western Cultures See Things Very Differently

A team of researchers from Canada and Japan have uncovered some remarkable results on how eastern and western cultures assess situations very differently. The majority of Japanese participants reported that their judgments of the center person's emotions were influenced by the emotions of the background figures, while most North Americans reported they were not influenced by the background figures at all.

Adolescents At Risk Of Developing A Substance-use Disorder Have Deficits In Frontal Brain Activation

Children and adolescents at high risk for developing a substance-use disorder tend to show deficits in executive cognitive function. A study using functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess eye movements in adolescents has found a link between brain functioning and risk for developing an substance-use disorder.

Low Maternal Education Linked To Intellectual Disabilities In Offspring

Using a epidemiologic approach, researchers have discovered a key indicator for increased risk of mental retardation in the general population. Researchers found that low maternal education resulted in the highest risk of intellectual disability to offspring compared with other factors such as maternal illness, delivery complications, gestational age at birth, and even very low birth weight.

Television Shows Can Affect Racial Judgments

Viewers can be influenced by exposure to racial bias in the media, even without realizing it. The research indicates that stereotype-based processing may occur based on media exposure, even when at a conscious level people try to dismiss what they are seeing as harmless. Indeed, TV images not only affected what the viewers thought about minorities, but also led to an us-versus-them mentality.

Go With Your Gut -- Intuition Is More Than Just A Hunch, Says New Research

Most of us experience 'gut feelings' we can't explain, such as instantly loving -- or hating -- a new property when we're househunting or the snap judgments we make on meeting new people. Now researchers say these feelings -- or intuitions -- are real and we should take our hunches seriously.

Curbing Impulsivity In Children With ADHD

Researchers are one step closer to helping children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder improve their self-control. ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic psychiatric conditions in today's school-aged children and is based on such behavioral criteria as mpulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention and learning disabilities. A new study looked at impulsivity in two strains of rat. The spontaneously hypertensive rat has been proposed as a rodent model of ADHD because the rats have behavioral characteristics similar to those seen in humans diagnosed with ADHD. In the study, the impulsivity of spontaneously hypertensive rats was compared to their parent strain without hypertension, Wistar-Kyoto rats, using a self-control choice task that was originally developed in humans.

Head Injuries Result In Widespread Brain Tissue Loss One Year Later

In a rare, large-scale study of traumatic brain injury patients who span the full range of severity from mild to moderate and severe, researchers have found that the more severe the injury, the greater the loss of brain tissue, particularly white matter. [Welcome home Iraqi veterans!—AS]

Men Have A Harder Time Forgiving Than Women Do

Forgiveness can be a powerful means to healing, but it does not come naturally for both sexes. Men have a harder time forgiving than women do, according to new research. But that can change if men develop empathy toward an offender by seeing they may also be capable of similar actions. Then the gender gap closes, and men become less vengeful.

Boys And Girls Brains Are Different: Gender Differences In Language Appear Biological

Researchers have long agreed girls have superior language abilities to boys, but haven't clearly provided a biological basis to account for their differences. For the first time and in unambiguous findings, researchers show both that brain areas associated with language work harder in girls during language tasks, and that boys and girls rely on very different parts of the brain when performing these tasks. Language processing is more abstract in girls, more sensory in boys.

In Early Childhood, Continuous Care By One Doctor Best, Study Suggests

Children examined by the same doctor during their first six months of life are more likely to receive appropriate preventive health screenings -- for lead poisoning, anemia and tuberculosis -- by age two. Pediatric researchers said being cared for repeatedly by the same physician, often referred to as continuity of care, was a very important factor in the children they studied.

Teens Who Eat Breakfast Daily Eat Healthier Diets Than Those Who Skip Breakfast

Researchers have found further evidence to support the importance of encouraging youth to eat breakfast regularly. Researchers examined the association between breakfast frequency and five-year body weight change in more than 2,200 adolescents, and the results indicate that daily breakfast eaters consumed a healthier diet and were more physically active than breakfast skippers during adolescence.

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