I found this chart in this great Facebook Group.
Monthly Archives: January 2013
What makes people to do good? Good question, but a part maybe lies in ‘moral realism’: getting people to think about morality as a matter of objective facts rather than subjective preferences may lead to improved moral behavior. This we learn from new research by Boston College researchers.
From the press release:
In two experiments, one conducted in-person and the other online, participants were primed to consider a belief in either moral realism (the notion that morals are like facts) or moral antirealism (the belief that morals reflect people’s preferences) during a solicitation for a charitable donation. In both experiments, those primed with moral realism pledged to give more money to the charity than those primed with antirealism or those not primed at all.
In one experiment, a street canvasser attempted to solicit donations from passersby for a charity that aids impoverished children. Participants in one set were asked a leading question to prime a belief in moral realism: “Do you agree that some things are just morally right or wrong, good or bad, wherever you happen to be from in the world?” Those in a second set were asked a question to prime belief in moral antirealism: “Do you agree that our morals and values are shaped by our culture and upbringing, so there are no absolute right answers to any moral questions?” Participants in a control set were not asked any priming question.
In this experiment, participants primed with realism were twice as likely to be donors, compared to those primed with antirealism or not primed at all.
A second experiment, conducted online, yielded similar results. Participants asked to donate money to a charity of their choice who were primed with realism reported being willing to give more than those primed with antirealism or not primed at all.
Since “real” moral stakes may be accompanied by “real” consequences —whether good (e.g., helping others, enhanced self-esteem) or bad (e.g., retribution), priming a belief in moral realism may in fact prompt people to behave better, in line with their existing moral beliefs, the researchers say.
The researchers note that priming a belief in moral realism may enhance moral behavior under certain conditions — such as when the right thing to do is relatively unambiguous (e.g., it is good to be generous). A different outcome could be possible when subjects are faced with more controversial moral issues, they say.
Abstract of the research:
People disagree about whether “moral facts” are objective facts like mathematical truths (moral realism) or simply products of the human mind (moral antirealism). What is the impact of different meta-ethical views on actual behavior? In Experiment 1, a street canvasser, soliciting donations for a charitable organization dedicated to helping impoverished children, primed passersby with realism or antirealism. Participants primed with realism were twice as likely to be donors, compared to control participants and participants primed with antirealism. In Experiment 2, online participants primed with realism as opposed to antirealism reported being willing to donate more money to a charity of their choice. Considering the existence of non-negotiable moral facts may have raised the stakes and motivated participants to behave better. These results therefore reveal the impact of meta-ethics on everyday decision-making: priming a belief in moral realism improved moral behavior.
► We primed moral realism, the belief that moral facts are like mathematical truths.
► Priming meta-ethical views (realism vs. antirealism) affected actual behavior.
► Priming a belief in moral realism increased charitable giving.
► Moral realism may raise the moral stakes and motivate moral behavior.
Over the last few weeks, thanks to the power of twitter (and particularly tweeter @LMarryat) I became aware of some journal articles and blog posts about the Triple P parenting support programme. I must confess to a possibly not entirely unbiased interest in this, as before my current academic position I worked as a health visitor in an authority which invested heavily in the Triple P programme and over a period of a few years we were all trained up and expected to deliver the programme at every possible opportunity.
For 1 out of 5 Europeans the world is hard to read. It’s the first sentence in the final report on literacy in Europe and it makes clear why Act Now is at the core of the report.
You can download the report here.
Do have a look at the recommandations for children and youth that you can check here. Yesterday I already posted the importance of interactive reading for the intelligence of young children, well, maybe these examples of good practice can come in handy:
- In Belgium, recognition of the important role that both parents and early childhood education and care play in forming literacy led the region of Flanders to set up local consultative forums. Bringing together parents, childcare centre managers, local authorities and other key stakeholders, the forums advise local councils on childcare and learning issues.
- In Germany, ‘Mein Papa liest vor’ (‘My dad reads to me’) is a programme, in Hessen, which encourages fathers, who are often not as involved as mothers in developing children’s reading skills, working in participating firms to download reading materials from the company’s intranet to read to their children.
- In Denmark, the government has put in place an ambitious strategy that aims to ensure that all children will have adequate reading skills while still in early primary education.
- In France, ‘Lire et Faire Lire’ is a nationwide programme which encourages adult volunteers to share their passion for reading with children.
- In Croatia, the award-winning ‘Bibliotherapy’ project organised workshops which combined reading with art therapy, such as drawing, painting and puppetry, to help children overcome the trauma of the Balkans wars. An evaluation study found that many war-affected children benefited psychologically from the programme.
- In Hungary, one challenge facing children wishing to read, especially those from less-privileged families, is the availability of books. In response, the Hungarian Digital Library has been set up, providing the full text of over 10 000 books (and growing) online and free of charge, including fiction, handbooks and textbooks.
In their overview by John Protzko, Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair they’ve collected research on the different elements that could have an influence on the intelligence of children. For a study to be included it had to be a randomized controlled trial (RCT). In their research they also focused specifically on IQ and associated tests of intelligence. This means more general conceptions of intelligence weren’t considered. In t the resulting paper they than analyzed 70 studies to better understand what does — and what doesn’t — boost a young child’s IQ.
Let’s take a look at the results:
- When it comes to nutrition, there’s not much evidence that multivitamins do any good, but having pregnant and lactating moms and young kids take Omega-3 fatty acid supplements (particularly DHA) likely does.
- Just having books in the home might not help, but interactive reading with children under 4 could boost IQ by around 6 points.
- Enrolling children in early educational interventions does work
- Also sending children to preschool does have a positive influence.
Abstract of the research:
Can interventions meaningfully increase intelligence? If so, how? The Database of Raising Intelligence is a continuously updated compendium of randomized controlled trials that were designed to increase intelligence. In this article, the authors examine nearly every available intervention involving children from birth to kindergarten, using meta-analytic procedures when more than 3 studies tested similar methods and reviewing interventions when too few were available for meta-analysis. This yielded 4 meta-analyses on the effects of dietary supplementation to pregnant mothers and neonates, early educational interventions, interactive reading, and sending a child to preschool. All 4 meta-analyses yielded significant results: Supplementing infants with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, enrolling children in early educational interventions, reading to children in an interactive manner, and sending children to preschool all raise the intelligence of young children.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said in 1996 that the high-flying stock market was an instance of "irrational exuberance."
Nearly two decades later, were he so inclined to inspect the swift expansion of elite universities into sponsoring Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), he might have said pretty much the same thing.
Certainly, there is "exuberance." The hype, the constant flow of words like "revolutionary," "transformational," speak to university officials becoming trumpeters for expanding the reach of top-notch professors and brand-name institutions into every corner of the world where there is an Internet connection.
Bullying, sadly but true, needs to be a hot topic. Not only in the public debate, also in science bullying is being examined and discussed. I’ve been reading some new research on the topic. For instance a paper that describes how cool kids bully more:
Jaana Juvonen co-author states ”The ones who are cool bully more, and the ones who bully more are seen as cool. What was particularly interesting was that the form of aggression, whether highly visible and clearly confrontational or not, did not matter. Pushing or shoving and gossiping worked the same for boys and girls. The impetus for the study was to figure out whether aggression promotes social status, or whether those who are perceived as popular abuse their social power and prestige by putting other kids down. We found it works both ways for both ‘male-typed’ and ‘female-typed’ forms of aggression.” (bron)
Abstract of this research:
There is a robust association between aggression and social prominence by early adolescence, yet findings regarding the direction of influence remain inconclusive in light of gender differences across various forms of aggressive behaviors. The current study examined whether physical aggression and spreading of rumors, as two gender-typed aggressive behaviors that differ in overt displays of power, promote and/or maintain socially prominent status for girls and boys during non-transitional grades in middle school. Peer nominations were used to assess physical aggression, spreading of rumors, and “cool” reputation (social prominence) during three time points between the spring of seventh grade and spring of eighth grade. Participants included 1,895 (54 % female) ethnically diverse youth: 47 % Latino, 22 % African-American, 11 % Asian, 10 % White and 10 % Other/Mixed ethnic background. Cross-lagged path analyses were conducted to test the directionality of the effects, and gender moderation was assessed by relying on multi-group analyses. The analyses revealed mainly reciprocal associations for each form of aggression, suggesting that boys, as well as girls, can both gain and maintain their status by spreading rumors about their peers, just as they do by physically fighting and pushing others in urban middle schools. The implications of the findings for interventions are discussed.
Gay pupils are often victim of bullying. A new Spanisch PhD describes key elements in preventing homophobic bullying in schools, from the press release:
How are non-heterosexual people affected by discrimination endured in the school environment due to their affective-sexual orientation? This question was the starting point in the PhD thesis produced by the researcher Aitor Martxueta.
The thesis is entitled “Claves para atender a la diversidad afectivo-sexual en el contexto educativo” (Keys to addressing affective-sexual diversity in the education context), and in it, Martxueta has not only carried out an empirical study to answer the above question, he has also analysed the studies relating to the attitudes held by youngsters towards affective-sexual diversity, homophobia, and the harassment and discrimination suffered by LGTB (Lesbian Gay Transgender Bi-Sexual) students in the Basque Country, Spain, other European countries like the United Kingdom, and the United States. The thesis concludes by putting forward measures designed to prevent homophobic bullying and to guarantee that affective-sexual diversity be addressed from a global school approach.
According to the author of the thesis, “at first I was seeking to see whether the harassment endured in the school environment due to affective-sexual orientation has negative consequences on the mental health of the individuals who are now adults and who in their childhood and/or adolescence suffered this kind of discrimination”. To verify this, he conducted a study with 119 individuals with non-standard affective-sexual orientations and who are members of the associations LGTB EHGAM, GEHITU and Bost Axola.
Although Martxueta warns that the sample is not large enough for the results to be statistically significant, “the study suggests that discrimination, harassment and insults endured at school due to affective-sexual orientation are related with higher levels of depression and anxiety and lower levels of self-esteem and balance of affections today”.
“Yet even though it may seem strange in principle,” adds Martxueta, “these very same individuals who report that they have been harassed perceive greater support and acceptance from the family and environment close to them, and display a greater and earlier acceptance of their affective-sexual orientation.”
Following the empirical study, Martxueta analysed the studies conducted in the Basque Country, Spain, other European countries, and the United States dealing with the attitudes displayed by the students towards their non-heterosexual classmates. “There is a great difference in the number of studies conducted here and in Spain compared with those produced in other European countries, like the United Kingdom, and in the United States, above all.” In particular, he highlights Los Angeles where the LGTB community is very active and sets up education communities in which all the players are involved.
The empirical evidence confirms that those schools that lay down criteria for tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying behaviour achieve safer school climates with lower instances of harassment linked to affective-sexual orientation, where the students declare they feel safer and consequently display better well-being.
Martxueta puts forwards some key elements designed to improve the handling of affective-sexual diversity in the classroom from a global school perspective. Among them he underlines the importance of drawing up an inclusive curriculum that guarantees a safe school environment based on respect for human rights. At the same time he proposes that training be given not only to teachers but also to parents; and puts forward types of action and recommendations that the various members of the education system will need to take into consideration to prevent homophobic behaviour. He also puts forward support measures for the students who are likely to suffer discrimination due to their affective-sexual orientation.
We tend to think that women and/or kids can multitask, but actually, only a small percentage is able to supertask, what probably will mean that they switch so fast we can’t see it.
This is also one of the reasons why handsfree texting and calling in your car is still very dangerous:
A few years ago, in a groundbreaking study, Strayer and colleagues compared the performance of cell phone users to drunks in a driving simulator [PDF]. Study participants talking on a cell phone — handheld and hands-free alike — had slower brake times and were involved in more simulated accidents than when they weren’t chatting. Their cognitive impairment was roughly as great as that of participants who got in the simulator after drinking enough screwdrivers to register a .08 percent blood-alcohol content.
More recent evidence, focusing on texting, has made similar conclusions. In one study published last year, a team of researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute evaluated the performance of drivers texting on a closed road. Some texted from their handheld device, which previous research had already concluded was dangerous, while others texted through an in-vehicle system connected to Bluetooth.
No surprise that drivers who texted by hand drove very poorly: they reported greater mental demand during the drive, took longer glances away from the roadway, and steered worse compared to baseline driving performance. Those who used the in-vehicle system did a little better. They didn’t have much problem receiving text messages through the in-car system, but sending them posed a problem. (source Atlantic)
The thing is that people who know think they do can multitask, well new research has found that people who multi-task most are the worst at it. You can read the research by Sanbonmatsu et al at Plosone.org. This is the abstract:
The present study examined the relationship between personality and individual differences in multi-tasking ability. Participants enrolled at the University of Utah completed measures of multi-tasking activity, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. In addition, they performed the Operation Span in order to assess their executive control and actual multi-tasking ability. The findings indicate that the persons who are most capable of multi-tasking effectively are not the persons who are most likely to engage in multiple tasks simultaneously. To the contrary, multi-tasking activity as measured by the Media Multitasking Inventory and self-reported cell phone usage while driving were negatively correlated withactual multi-tasking ability. Multi-tasking was positively correlated with participants’ perceivedability to multi-task ability which was found to be significantly inflated. Participants with a strong approach orientation and a weak avoidance orientation – high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking – reported greater multi-tasking behavior. Finally, the findings suggest that people often engage in multi-tasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task. Participants with less executive control – low scorers on the Operation Span task and persons high in impulsivity – tended to report higher levels of multi-tasking activity.
The European Science Foundation brought together 20 scientists to critical reflect on teaching in higher education. Their insights led to a report which exposes current developments and challenges in the European Higher Education landscape. The authors establish a set of nine principles of good teaching and recommend that universities that strive for quality education offer educational development opportunities for their teachers. They claim that well-designed educational development programmes lead to increased satisfaction of teachers and changes in attitudes, behaviours and teaching practice.
The main conclusion is that “excellent teachers are made, not born; they become excellent through investment in their teaching abilities. Leaving teachers to learn from trial and error is a waste of time, effort and university resources.”
The report highlights six recommendations for important advances to be made toward the professionalisation of teaching and student learning:
- define professional standards for higher education teachers;
- measure teaching effectiveness and provide constructive feedback for academics;
- establish the institutional support base for educational development locally;
- promote the idea of the ‘teacher researcher’ and recognise research on teaching as research activity and teaching excellence in hiring and promotion decision;
- allocate meaningful funding for educational development;
- establish a European forum within a currently existing institution that pools and shares resources and existing expertise.
You can download the report here.