Toddlers who chill in front of TV are at later risk of being victimized by classmates

first_imgEmail LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share Pagani came to her conclusions by looking at 991 girls and 1006 boys growing up in Canada. The children’s TV watching habits were reported by their parents and their victimization in grade 6 was self-reported by the children themselves. Children were asked questions such as how often they had belongings taken away from them and how often they were verbally or physically abused.“Every standard deviation unit increase of 53 minutes in daily televiewing at 29 months predicted an 11% standard deviation unit increase in bullying by sixth grade classmates,” Pagani said. “This figure takes into account other confounding factors that might influence the likelihood that the child would be bullied, such as his behaviour and cognitive abilities and the characteristics of his family: their income, functioning, composition and the level of the mother’s education.”Assuming that the programs watched are developmentally appropriate, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that daily screen time not extend beyond 1 to 2 hours per day for children age 2 and over.“The AAP recommendations particularly relate to quantity of televiewing time. There are only 24 hours in a day, and for children, half should be spent meeting basic needs – eating, sleeping, hygiene – and the remainder spent on enriching activities and relationships,” Pagani said. “Because play represents an unstructured activity that does not require direct compliance, it allows children to be creative and provides parents with a chance to get acquainted with how their children perceive and interact with others on a socioemotional level. Having a chance to interact also gives a chance to correct or promote certain social behaviors. Excessive viewing time during the early years can create a time debt for pursuits involving social play. This study underscores the importance of better parental awareness, acknowledgement, and compliance with existing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics.”center_img For young children, the number of hours spent watching TV at the age of 29 months correlates to the likelihood he’ll be bullied in sixth grade, says Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine children’s hospital.“It is plausible that early lifestyle habits characterized by less effortful interactive experiences, such as early televiewing, can ultimately result in social skill deficits. More time spent watching television leaves less time for family interaction, which remains the primary vehicle for socialization,” Professor Pagani explained. “Early television exposure is also linked with developmental deficits associated with brain functions that drive interpersonal problem solving, emotional regulation, socially competent peer play, and positive social contact. Finally, TV viewing may lead to poor eye-contact habits – a cornerstone of friendship and self-affirmation in social interaction.”The study was published in Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Share on Facebook Pinterestlast_img read more

Read More

Researchers’ preclinical trial upends conventional wisdom about responses to fear

first_imgShare LinkedIn Fear. You’ve been there: Your heart races, even jumps to your throat. Your hands grow clammy and your stomach churns. Your mind goes blank.Rats have been there, too. We don’t know their feelings, of course, but we do know their response: They freeze in their tracks. Or at least that’s been the consensus among scientists since 1899, when experimental psychologist Willard Stanton Small first noted the behavior.But now new research led by Rebecca Shansky, assistant professor of psychology at Northeastern University, upends that conventional wisdom. Share on Facebook In a study recently published in the online journal eLife, Shansky’s team found that female rats often respond to fear by “darting.” “They start running around like crazy,” Shansky says. “It looks like they’re trying to escape.”In addition, the darting rats were more successful at integrating a process that suppressed the fear response, says Shansky, exhibiting a “cognitive flexibility” that the freezers lacked.The findings not only raise questions about the veracity of previous studies that rely on freezing to indicate fear. They could also lead to better treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that, in the U.S. alone, affects about 8 mil-lion adults during a given year, according to the National Center for PTSD of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.“If we can harness whatever is going on when an animal becomes a darter,” says Shansky, “we could try to apply that to treatments.”Shansky had not set out to challenge a century-old assumption. Rather, she stumbled across the findings while performing a common behavioral test called “fear conditioning” in an effort to see how individual males and females differed in their fear responses, and to explore what brain changes related to those differences.The test involved teaching the animals to associate a tone with a foot shock, and then–with a video camera connected to a computer–measuring the duration of their reaction as the training proceeded. “Animals who exhibit low levels of freezing would traditionally be interpreted as either not learning or naturally fear-less,” says Shansky.Because computers may mistake sleeping for freezing, graduate student Tina Gruene, PhD’19, watched the videos afterward as a backup check. What she saw shocked her: Scores of the female rats not only didn’t freeze at the sound of the tone; they darted hither and yon, as if looking for an exit.What did that mean? The study had a large number of rats–120 as opposed to the standard 20–so Shansky set out to quantify the behavior. “We wanted to see if this was something real,” she says.The researchers fed the videos into a behavioral analysis program that tracks motion to monitor the velocity of the animals’ movement. Their plotted graphs confirmed their hunch: Darting was not a sign of fearlessness or an inability to learn. It was just as much a learned response as freezing.“The learning curve for darting was the same as the learning curve for freezing,” says Shansky, pointing to graphics in the paper. “But we saw it almost exclusively in the females–more than 40 percent of them.”The findings go beyond clarifying differences in fear behavior among male and female rats. They also point to possibilities for better treatments for people with PTSD.Following the fear conditioning, the researchers used a process called “extinction” to suppress the rats’ fear response: By playing the tone repeatedly without the shock, a “good” memory may come to replace the bad one. Extinction is akin to exposure therapy for people with PTSD. Exposure therapy works, but not for everyone: it’s effective in only about 50 percent of cases, according to numerous studies, and it has a very high dropout rate.The darters, it turned out, were more successful at extinction than the freezers, suggesting that the neurobiological processes of the males and females differed; the females, it appeared, had an edge. “Females may have developed adaptive strategies to fearful events,” says Shansky.The results raise the question of whether PTSD treatments for women–who develop the disorder twice as frequently as men–should be different from those for men. Even more radically: Might it be possible to develop a therapy that alters the neural circuits of freezers to more closely resemble those of darters?Shansky expresses the speculation more succinctly: “What if we could turn freezers into darters?” she asks.center_img Email Pinterest Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Read More

Opponents of gay marriage feel threatened by sexual promiscuity: study

first_imgShare on Facebook Email Pinterest Why do opponents of same-sex marriage really oppose it?A UCLA psychology study published online today in the journal Psychological Science concludes that many people believe gay men and women are more sexually promiscuous than heterosexuals, which they may fear could threaten their own marriages and their way of life.“Many people who oppose same-sex marriage are uncomfortable with casual sex and feel threatened by sexual promiscuity,” said David Pinsof, a UCLA graduate student of psychology and lead author of the study. Sharecenter_img Share on Twitter Such people often marry at a younger age, have more children and believe in traditional gender roles in which men are the breadwinners and women are housewives.“Sexual promiscuity may be threatening to these people because it provides more temptations for spouses to cheat on one another,” Pinsof said. “On the other hand, for people who are comfortable with women being more economically independent, marrying at a later age and having more sexual partners, sexual promiscuity is not as much of a threat because women do not depend on men for financial support.” The researchers measured people’s attitudes, regardless of their accuracy.People who feel their way of life is most threatened by sexual promiscuity tend to be socially conservative and strongly believe in traditional gender roles. Among them are women who prioritize family over career and who view their marital vows as sacred, said Martie Haselton, a UCLA professor of psychology and communication studies, and the study’s senior author.The researchers surveyed 523 men and 562 women, 27 percent of whom oppose same-sex marriage. In one part of the study, subjects took a test designed to reveal whether and to what extent they associate images of gay couples with words and phrases like “promiscuous” or “one-night stand.” On sensitive topics, people often tell researchers what they think they should say, rather than what they really believe. This first test enabled researchers to avoid this problem because participants can’t easily control or fake the results, Haselton said.Participants were shown a series of words associated with the adjective “promiscuous” — such as “casual sex” and “one-night stand” — as well as words associated with “monogamous” — such as “faithful” and “loving” — and images of either gay couples or heterosexual couples. They were instructed to match the words to either “promiscuous” or “monogamous,” while also categorizing the couples as gay or straight.Participants were instructed to press a button whenever they saw a photo of a gay couple or a word associated with “promiscuous,” and then to do the same whenever they saw a gay couple or a word associated with “monogamous.” The researchers measured how quickly participants responded in each scenario.“If you have a hard time disassociating ‘gay’ and ‘promiscuous,’ it will take you longer to respond when ‘gay’ and ‘monogamous’ are paired,” Haselton said.The test showed that many people tend to strongly associate the concepts “gay” and “promiscuous.”Next, researchers asked people the extent to which they agree or disagree with statements such as:Marriage is between a man and a woman.Same-sex marriage undermines the meaning of the traditional family.I oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.I support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.Same-sex couples should have the same legal rights to get married as heterosexual couples.The researchers determined subjects’ level of “sexual conservatism” based on how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like “Sex without love is okay” and “I can easily imagine myself being comfortable and enjoying casual sex with different partners.” Those who agreed more strongly with those statements were likely to support same-sex marriage.“What people are willing to say about links between sexual promiscuity and sexual orientation and their reaction times tell a very similar story,” Haselton said.The challenge of the study was whether Pinsof’s statistical analysis could predict whether participants support or oppose same-sex marriage strongly, moderately or slightly, based on their response times and their answers to the series of statements.On a seven point-scale from “strongly oppose” to “strongly support” same-sex marriage, he was able to account for 42.3 percent of the variation in people’s attitudes, and able to accurately predict their attitudes about same-sex marriage substantially better than chance.“That is remarkable; in psychological research, explaining 42 percent is huge,” Haselton said.“Opposition to same-sex marriage may be strategic by people who are seeking to protect their marriages and the marriages in their communities, and are fearful that changing the definition of marriage is threatening to their way of life,” Pinsof said. “Because they view gay people as promiscuous, they view the idea of same-sex marriage as undermining the institution of marriage.” LinkedInlast_img read more

Read More

Videogame addiction: Sleep loss, obesity, and cardiovascular risk for some gamers

first_imgShare on Twitter Share Pinterest Share on Facebook Emailcenter_img LinkedIn Some children and youth with high videogame addiction tendencies may be at risk of sleep deprivation and disorders associated with obesity and poor cardio-metabolic health, Hamilton researchers have found.The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, examines the growing global gaming phenomenon and its impact on youth health.Dr. Katherine Morrison, co-author of the study, worked with researchers from McMaster and California State University, Fullerton. She is an associate professor of pediatrics for McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with the McMaster Children’s Hospital. Her team’s findings are serious, given the rise in videogame addictions, she said.“This is an important phenomenon to understand. We are seeing that some children and teens develop serious addiction-like symptoms to video games,” said Morrison. “It affects a vulnerable population of children and youth, can impact social interactions amongst youth and, as our research shows, can drive health issues.”For their research, the team studied a group of children and teens ages 10 to 17 who were in lifestyle management programs – either for weight management or lipid disorders. The study looked at whether the videogame habits of the group had an impact on sleep habits, obesity and cardio-metabolic health.Using fitness trackers, the team monitored the sleep duration and compared that to the youth’s videogame usage. The data showed that videogame addiction symptoms resulted in shorter sleep which, in turn, was related to elevated blood pressure, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high insulin resistance.It is important to note that this was a specific group of children and teens, added Morrison, and it is unknown if this information applies to the general population.“That said, we were amazed that amongst gamers, videogame addiction scores explained one third of the differences in sleep duration,” said Morrison. “Sleep is emerging as a critical behavior for cardio-metabolic health, and this data shows that gaming addictions can cause numerous health issues in at least a segment of the population.”“Childhood obesity tracks into adulthood and obese children face a greater risk of cardiovascular and coronary diseases as well as type-2 diabetes as adults. It is urgent to target early lifestyle behaviours such as videogame addictive tendencies that could lead to major future health consequences.”Morrison said the research team is in the early days of evaluating videogame addiction in children and teens. They plan on studying the effects in general populations while also analyzing video game usage and addiction tendencies of gamers over time.last_img read more

Read More

New evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces stress by altering brain connectivity

first_imgShare on Twitter Share Email Share on Facebook Pinterestcenter_img LinkedIn Evidence has suggested that mindfulness meditation training may increase default mode network connectivity within brain regions important in top-down executive control – especially the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These regions are important for a wide range of high-level processes, such as attention, planning, reasoning and cognitive flexibility. It is thought that this in turn improves emotion regulation, stress resilience, and stress-related health outcomes.The study, led by David Creswell of Carnegie Mellon University, combined these findings to test whether mindfulness meditation training increases connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and whether these changes lead to improvements in neurogenic inflammation (nerve swelling which can occur solely due to stress).35 stressed job-seeking unemployed adults were randomly assigned to either a 3-day mindfulness meditation program or a relaxation training program. Participants completed a resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan before and after the program – this is used to evaluate connectivity between brain regions when a person is not performing a task. They also provided blood samples before, and 4 months after, the program – this was taken to measure for neurogenic inflammation changes (more specifically, they tested for interleukin-6, an established biomarker that is elevated in high-stress populations).The results revealed that mindfulness meditation training increased resting state connectivity between the highlighted brain regions, whilst relaxation training did not. Furthermore, mindfulness meditation appeared to reduce neurogenic inflammation when measured after 4 months, whilst there were increases in the relaxation training group. Further analyses found that these changes to brain connectivity explained 30% of the overall mindfulness meditation training effects on neurogenic inflammation.These findings provide the first evidence that mindfulness meditation training increases resting state connectivity between top-down executive control regions, highlighting an important mechanism through which it reduces stress levels in stressed individuals. Mindfulness meditation reduces stress by increasing brain connectivity between top-down executive control regions, according to a recent study published this July in Biological Psychiatry.Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation designed to develop the skill of paying attention to personal inner and outer experiences, by using acceptance, patience, and compassion. Training programs have been shown to reduce stress levels in stressed individuals, including in stress-related psychiatric and physical health illnesses.Within the brain, mindfulness meditation has also been shown to influence the default mode network – an interconnected set of brain regions. This network is most commonly shown to be active when a person is daydreaming or their mind is wandering.last_img read more

Read More

Pupil dilation study suggests homophobia is linked to lower interest in sex

first_imgShare on Twitter Email Pinterest New preliminary research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that men who hold anti-gay views have a lower interest in sex compared to men who are more accepting of gay people.A team of researchers led by Boris Cheval of the University of Geneva in Switzerland examined pupil dilation to determine that more homophobic men had a decreased physiological response to sex-related imagery.Cheval and his colleagues had previously found that a particular set of homophobic men displayed an unconscious bias in favor of homosexual imagery. However, that study also found that more homophobic men tended to look less long at sex-related photographs compared to men who were less homophobic. LinkedIncenter_img Share on Facebook Share The researchers wanted to follow-up on this secondary finding. In particular, they wanted to know whether this apparent lack of interest in sexual material was an unconscious reaction or a conscious effort. Were these men just less interested or were they purposefully trying to disengage with sexual content because it conflicted with their beliefs and values?For their study, Cheval and his colleagues recruited 38 heterosexual men and evaluated their attitudes about gay people using a survey.The researchers then instructed the participants to rate 25 pictures on a 9-point scale, from “very unpleasant” to “very pleasant.” Each participant viewed 10 images of homosexual couples, 10 images of heterosexual couples, and 5 neutral images. As the participants viewed the pictures, the researchers measured changes in their pupils.The pupils reliably dilate in response to sexually-appealing imagery, even when a person consciously tries to suppress their desire. Among all the participants, the pupil dilated more in response to the heterosexual pictures than the homosexual and neutral pictures.However, the researchers found that the pupil size of homophobic men increased significantly less compared to non-homophobic men.The finding suggests that the lack of interest in sexual material results from “a spontaneous, unconscious reaction, rather than a strategic, conscious form of self-regulation, given that pupil dilation cannot easily be controlled,” the researchers explained. “Theoretically, these findings reinforce the possibility that homophobia reflects concerns about sexuality in general.”last_img read more

Read More

Female brain volume changes in sync with hormones, study finds

first_imgShare on Twitter Although it has already been known for some time that the brain does not remain rigid in its structure even in adulthood, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences made a surprising discovery: The brain is not only able to adapt to changing conditions in long-term processes, but it can do this every month. The researchers observed that in women, in parallel to the rhythm of the level of estrogen across their menstrual cycle, the structures of the Hippocampus vary — a brain area that is crucial for memories, mood and emotions.Each month, women experience the up and down of hormones during their menstrual cycle. And from month to month these variations appear to not just influence the switching between fertile and infertile days. The fluctuating hormone levels also change the structure of the brain in astonishing regularity, as demonstrated by the results of the study on the hormonal influence on the brain structure at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.“We found, that in parallel to the rising estrogen levels leading up to ovulation, the Hippocampus also increases in volume–the volume of the grey matter as well as that of the white matter”, explains Claudia Barth, first author of the corresponding paper published in the renowned magazine Nature Scientific Reports. How these fluctuations of the brain structures precisely affect the behaviour and specific cognitive abilities remains a mystery. But the neuroscientists do have a theory: “The Hippocampus plays a crucial role in our memories, our mood, and our emotions. In mice it has already been proven that it is not just this brain structure but also different behaviours which underlie a type of monthly cycle.” Share Pinterest Whether these observations are also valid for humans has to be proven in further studies. After testing the results of this first pilot study on the connection between the level of estrogen and the Hippocampus in a larger group of study participants, the researchers will scrutinise the effects on the behaviour. “If it appears, for instance, that women in certain phases of their cycle are particularly receptive, these women could undergo therapy”, she explains. This could take place at a specific time point when a woman is in a position to do so.”With these findings, the neuroscientists have laid the foundations for their overall goal: Investigating the relationships of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a disorder which affects one in twelve women in the days leading up to her time of the month. These women complain of severe physical and psychological symptoms such as listlessness or mood swings comparable to a depressive episode. “To get a better understanding of this disorder, we first have to find out which monthly rhythm the brain of a healthy woman follows. Only then can we reveal the differences in persons affected by PMDD”, says Julia Sacher.center_img Email LinkedIn Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Read More

Scientists identify two brain networks influencing how we make decisions

first_imgShare on Twitter Share on Facebook Email LinkedIn Sharecenter_img Scientists at the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford have pinpointed two distinct mechanisms in the human brain that control the balance between speed and accuracy when making decisions.Their discovery, published in eLife, sheds new light on the networks that determine how quickly we choose an option, and how much information we need to make that choice. A more detailed understanding of this intricate wiring in the brain holds the key to developing better treatments for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.The fundamental trade-off between speed and accuracy in decision making has been studied for more than a century, with a number of studies suggesting that the subthalamic nucleus region of the brain plays a key role. Pinterest “Previous behavioural studies of decision making do not tell us about the actual events or networks that are responsible for making speed-accuracy adjustments,” says senior author Peter Brown, Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Oxford. “We wanted to address this by measuring the exact location and timing of electrical activity in the subthalamic nucleus and comparing the results with behavioural data collected while a decision-making task is being performed.”Brown and his team first studied the reaction times of 11 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 18 healthy participants, who were each asked to perform a moving-dots task. This required them to decide whether a cloud of moving dots appeared to be moving to the left or the right. The difficulty of the task was varied by changing the number of dots moving in one direction, and the participants were given randomly alternating instructions to perform the task with either speed or accuracy.The researchers found that participants made much faster decisions when the task was easier – with the dots moving in a single direction – and when instructed to make a quick decision. They also found, in line with previous studies, that participants made significantly more errors during tests where they spent longer making a decision after being instructed to emphasise accuracy.Using a computational model, they saw that it took longer in the more difficult tests for the brain to accumulate the necessary information to reach a critical threshold and make a decision. When the participants were asked to focus on speed, this threshold was significantly lower than when they focused on accuracy.“The next step was to determine the activated networks in the brain that control these behavioural modifications and the trade-off between fast and accurate decisions,” explains first author and postdoctoral fellow Damian Herz. “We measured the electrical activity of groups of nerve cells within the subthalamic nucleus in patients with Parkinson’s disease, who had recently been treated with deep brain stimulation. We found two distinct neural networks that differ in the way they are ordered and the way they respond to tasks.“One network increases the amount of information required before executing a decision and is therefore more likely to be activated when accuracy is important, while the second network tends to lower this threshold, especially when the choice needs to be made quickly.”The findings add to the increasing evidence that the pre-frontal cortex region of the brain contributes to decision making and opens up further interesting avenues to explore.“We know that changes in activity of one of the sites we identified is also related to movement control,” adds Brown. “Close relationships between these neural networks could mean that a common signal is responsible for adjustments in both the speed of decision and of the resulting movement. A better understanding of these mechanisms might make it possible to focus therapeutic interventions on specific neural circuits to improve treatment of neurological disorders in the future.”last_img read more

Read More

Study: Americans are more likely than Chinese to want to be ‘a big frog in a small pond’

first_imgPinterest LinkedIn Share Share on Twitter Share on Facebookcenter_img Email Culture matters it comes to being a the big frog in a small pond or the small frog in a big pond. New research has found that Americans would rather be remarkable in an average place, while Chinese would rather be average in a remarkable place.Psychologist Kaidi Wu of the University of Michigan, the study’s corresponding author, told PsyPost that she was interested in the topic for two main reasons.“It is hard to imagine going through life without having to make frog-pond decisions: which school to go to, which internship to choose, which company to work for,” she explained. “What we end up choosing has downstream consequences and may significantly alter the paths of our lives. It is no surprise that this topic has interested sociologists, economists, and educational psychologists for decades. However, although these studies tell you how you would feel after you’ve joined the “pond” of your choice, I have always wondered how people come to these decisions in the first place.” “Which brings me to the second reason. It’s a well-known adage in the West that ‘it is better to be the big frog in a small pond.’ I grew up in Shanghai, and I wasn’t really familiar with this idiomatic expression until I arrived in the U.S. Nonetheless, I am well aware of frog-pond quandaries each time I encountered them. “What’s interesting is that cultures around the world have come up with a myriad of metaphors,” Wu continued. “They all recognize the same decision dilemma, but have different ways of going about it. The Chinese have a saying that ‘it’s better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix’, whereas the Koreans sometimes acknowledge ‘it’s better to be the tail of a dragon than being the head of snake’. Be it the ‘Frog-Pond’ or the ‘Chicken-Phoenix’, these adages paint a kaleidoscopic canvas of decision-making that is culturally informed. And I thought it would be interesting to explore the diversity in frog-pond decision-making rather than just proffering a universal solution.”In their three-part study, Wu and her colleagues found that Americans were more likely than Chinese to prefer being a “big frog in a small pond” rather than a “small frog in a big pond.” When given the option of attending a top 10 ranked college while having below-average grades or attending a top 100 ranked college while having above-average grades, Americans tended to choose the second option.The study, which was published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science, examined 888 students and working adults from the U.S. and China.“We often hear about the touted benefits of being the ‘big frog in a small pond.’ But the choices we make are the products of our culture. The next time you are faced with a frog-pond dilemma, take heart that there is not one right way of choosing; nor is there a universal standard of a single rational decision to be made,” Wu said.“It is easy to have preconceived notions about cultural differences. In the psychological literature, it has been long known that East Asians (the ‘collectivists’) tend to attune to a collective self embedded in social groups, whereas Westerners (the ‘individualists’) tend to focus on an individual self as a distinctive agent. So if we just look at the overall pattern that Chinese are more likely to choose the big pond, it is tempting to think Chinese don’t want to be the big frog as much as Americans, because as a collective whole, Chinese may not want to engage in social comparison within the pond in order to preserve social harmony.”“But that was not the case. The real reason Chinese go for the big pond is that they are more concerned about prestige.”“The caveat here is that as we draw cultural delineations, it is easy to end up with a reductionist way of construing opposing schemas: West – individualism, independence, analytic thinking; East – collectivism, interdependence, holistic thinking. But cultures are complex, porous, dynamic, ever-changing,” Wu told PsyPost. “Although it might be intuitive to conjure up collectivists who are cooperative and less inclined to compare themselves with others, they are not. In fact, we found Chinese are much more likely to engage in social comparison than Americans. Other qualitative accounts have also revealed strong desire to compete and achieve even within one’s pond (you may have seen the ‘Asian grading scale’ meme – A is average, B is bad, C is crap, F is find another family).” “To fathom any cultural phenomena, we need to delve into the social structure and historical underpinnings of the culture of study, and be willing to entertain possibilities beyond the individualism-collectivism dichotomy. Otherwise we might end up with an impoverished understanding with a specious reasoning.”“If cultures across the globe differ in their propensity to choose the “big pond”, what does this mean as the world becomes more globalized and when cultures interact? Over the past ten years, U.S. colleges witnessed a dramatic 85% increase of international students, a majority of whom hail from Asia. Coming from cultures that place a heavy emphasis on prestige and obtaining an elite education, it makes sense for Asian internationals to vie for the big pond. “In fact, many Chinese international students have gone to great lengths to get into (or help their children get into) top U.S. colleges,” Wu told PsyPost. “But what appears to be a culturally normative choice in China may not be one in the U.S. If you look at top executives at Fortune 100 companies from 1980 to 2011, the percentage of those with an Ivy League undergraduate degree has decreased. If you didn’t come from a big pond, you can still do well in life. “This doesn’t mean that people should give up on their pursuit of the big pond all together, but it pays to think twice about consequences of being the small frog: sinking to the bottom of the class risking being expelled, language difficulties, mental health struggles. At the end of the day, is it worth choosing the big pond – in a cultural context where big frogs in small ponds can also succeed?”The study, “Frogs, Ponds, and Culture: Variations in Entry Decisions“, was also co-authored by Stephen M. Garcia and Shirli Kopelman.last_img read more

Read More

Study finds using a fidget spinner can impair memory and attention

first_imgShare on Twitter Pinterest Email Share In the first experiment, 98 undergraduate students watched a 15-minute educational video lecture on baking bread while either using a fidget spinner or not using a fidget spinner. In addition, half of the participants not using a fidget spinner were randomly assigned to watch the lecture while sitting near someone using a fidget spinner.A fill-in-the blank memory test showed that participants who used fidget spinners answered significantly fewer questions correctly about the material covered in the video. Participants who used fidget spinners were also more likely to report “zoning out” and having difficulty staying on task while watching the video.Participants who were sitting near someone using a fidget spinner, however, did not appear to be affected.The researchers then conducted the experiment again. However, this time around they specifically recruited 48 undergraduates who believed that fidget spinners could help them focus in class.But the results were the same.“Contrary to the claims made by fidget-spinner retailers, our participants’ learning was not aided by their use of a fidget spinner while learning. In fact, when participants used fidget spinners while watching video lectures, they performed worse on a memory test of the lectured content relative to when they didn’t use fidget spinners,” Soares told PsyPost.“This effect was observed across two experiments. Our participants also reported being aware of the deleterious effects of using a fidget spinner on their learning but were apparently unwilling or unable to compensate for the distraction caused by using the fidget spinner.”But the study — like all research — includes some limitations.“These data were collected from a population of college students, so they cannot speak to how fidget spinners might differently affect individuals with, for example, learning disabilities. Still, these findings suggest that students who are having trouble focusing in class might want to try evidence-based treatments over fidget spinners,” Soares explained.“It’s also worth noting that people use fidget objects for many other uses than aiding classroom learning. Our intention with this paper was not to imply that fidget objects can’t be useful. Additional studies should investigate how using fidget objects might affect things like emotion regulation and boredom reduction.”The study, “Putting a negative spin on it: Using a fidget spinner can impair memory for a video lecture“, was authored by Julia S. Soares and Benjamin C. Storm.center_img Share on Facebook New research indicates that fidget spinners can be harmful to learning in classroom settings. The study was recently published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.“A few years ago, the discussion about the efficacy of fidget objects was suddenly a national conversation. In light of this debate, some of my students asked me if I thought fidget spinners might help with classroom learning and attention. So, I decided to gather some data to help answer this question,” explained study author Julia Soares, a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz.In two experiments, the researchers found that fidget spinners could negatively affect memory and attention. LinkedInlast_img read more

Read More