velvetpage: (Default)
I was linked to this book in my Discussions about Religion forum on Ravelry. It's not religious; it's about authoritarianism and people who are authoritarian followers and leaders. It's fascinating stuff. I'm about a third of the way through it, and it really pulls a lot of things together.

One of the very early things in the book is a personality test - a short one, only twenty questions. I'd love to know what other people got on it, and after a few people have listed their scores, I'll tell mine. I'm laying bets with myself about how different people on my friends list will score.

In any case, I'm quite engrossed and I wish I had the time and attention necessary to read the rest of it tonight. But I don't, so I'm going to bed.
velvetpage: (Claireyberry)
The Magic of Pre-school postulates that the "non-cognitive" abilities to self-motivate and persist at a task (which are not really non-cognitive at all - they simply aren't measured by IQ tests) are developed in pre-school and early education. Children who go through these programs, especially with an excellent teacher, are more likely to finish high school, remain married if they marry, and earn more money. It seems to be the mostly-unstructured new experiences that lead to this outcome, which makes me wonder if a parent taking their child to an Early Years centre would have a similar effect.

It argues strongly for the play-based program that Ontario's new all-day junior and senior kindergarten program will be using, and it makes me wonder: have any studies been done on the success rates of children who go to JK, versus those who start in SK? I mean, this is an American article, and it makes no distinction between preschool as I think of it (ages two and three) and preschool as Americans tend to think of it (ages three and four, leading into kindergarten at age five.)

In any case, a very interesting article.
velvetpage: (Default)
This is an excellent, excellent post. I'd be surprised if anyone didn't see themselves in here at some point in their lives.

http://issendai.livejournal.com/572510.html
velvetpage: (punctuation saves lives)
http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/2009/09/how-normal-is-weird.html

Basically: if most psychology studies are done on American (or at least WEIRD - Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) undergraduate populations, how applicable are their findings to other people whose environments and culture are possibly very different?
velvetpage: (Default)
First, there's Good books? It's a humanist seeking to find books to enrich his child's life and give him skepticism in the face of his mother's deep beliefs.

Then there's this, where the author argues that children need a basis in faith before they are able to accept uncertainty.

I have a rebuttal forming for the second, but I don't have time for it now so I'll come back later. I suspect my rebuttal will involve concept from this video, first seen on Piet's journal and since spreading rapidly on my friends list:

velvetpage: (cat in teacup)
In this article, the original Milgram studies (about how far someone can be induced to follow instructions even when causing pain to another person) are discussed and analyzed.

I've read about these studies before, of course. But this was a new take. Two important points came out of this article for me. The first was that one-third of participants chose to stop at the point where the subject asked to be let out, saying they didn't want to do it anymore; their decision was that the subject's right to refuse to continue trumped the experimenter's right to make them continue. That's an issue of human rights, and seeing the subject of the experiment as a human being who has those rights. The other was the issue of responsibility. People who stopped were taking personal responsibility for the pain they inflicted; people who didn't stop were putting that responsibility onto their superiors.

I think - and of course, I can't be sure, because I've never been tested this way - that I would have stopped either at 150 volts, or shortly thereafter if I were off-balance enough to not process what was happening quickly. Both of the reasons above hit home for me. I believe in human rights, and I believe in accepting personal responsibility. The hardest situations for me to deal with are usually the ones where my perception of my personal responsibility is beyond my means of actually influencing events. For example, I felt extremely guilty for letting down my teaching partner when it came to preparing for the grade five graduation, even though I had realistically done all that I could before I went away (in fact, I was the one pushing HER to get things done the two weeks before I went away, so that as little as possible would be left for her and my supply) and all that I could the day I was back before the graduation. In situations where the course of action that represented accepting responsibility was crystal-clear, as it would be in that experiment (pull the switch or don't) I wouldn't have that problem. It would be within my power to stop.

In any case, an interesting article.

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