benxx001: November 2011 Archives

Your baby..... can't read

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From our readings in the book, there has been a general trend of increased IQ every generation also know as the Flynn effect. This increase may also stem from the fact that there is also an increase in the amount of technology present in our every day lives that might have helped us become smarter. Today more students are taking more rigorous course and standardize test to get into elite schools than before. Some parents might do what-ever they can to give their child an edge; but how young is too young? You may have seen some infomercials about products that claims that your baby can learn to read or become smarter by purchasing there DVD and flashcard sets. However, before you do, you might want to do some research on the claims presented.

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One very important principle from the six scientific principle of scientific thinking that should be considered in this case is "extraordinary claim." Although the company show testimonials of parents claiming that their baby can read, research show no evidence to back this up. One study show that "each hour per day of viewing baby DVDs/videos was associated with a 16.99-point decrement in CDI (Communicative Development Inventory) score" (Zimmerman, 2007). Consumers should also consider other explanations as well- ruling out rival hypothesis. The system eposes the child to the DVD's and drills them on flashcards which could actually cause the child to memorize the "images" of the word instead of reading the words themselves.
Further more, most IQ test for young children assess sensory abilities, thus has very little association with intelligence (Lilienfield, pg. 332). Additionally the reliability of an IQ is not reliable prior to age two. Genetics plays a role in "smartness" but environmental influences also affect these babies. I feel that if you really want your child to be smart you just can't take the easy way out and depend on a set of DVD's and flash cards to do that. Actively engaging, interacting and encouraging the baby might be a better solution.

Zimmerman F.J., Christakis D.A., Meltzoff A.N. Associations between Media Viewing and Language Development in Children Under Age 2 Years (2007) Journal of Pediatrics, 151 (4), pp. 364-368

Is Seeing Believing

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"Our brain picks and chooses among the types of sensory information it uses, often relying on expectations and prior experiences to fill in the gaps and simplify processing" (Lilienfeld, 2010). This automatic processing we do everyday of our lives helps us makes sense of the world, however this is also our downfall in that we can easily be fooled by our own brain. This is probably why we are so fascinated by magic shows and illusions. What we think we see and thus believe is dependent on sensation and our perception. Therefore, an illusion can deceive one or both of these to make you believe something that may or may not be real or possible.

Practically every stimulus around us goes through our main sense organs (vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste). From there it undergoes transduction into electrical signals that is sent to the brain, but this is the point where brain processing can go astray. What the brain "thinks" it sees, hear, feel, smell, and/or taste is based on our past experiences; it uses these experiences to interpret the information we can understand.

It is from that information that our perception can, in turn, physically change our response or make us feel or believe something that was caused by the stimulus/stimuli. In addition our perceptions results from multiple senses that affect each other, like our vision and smell, which can make food look appetizing or make us feel sick. Sometimes the brain's false perception could be a good thing. Other times, our perception can also fool us.

The concept of perception is important to understand as this can be used to fool us, such as in magic shows and optical illusions or in the vast amount of advertisements we are bombarded by every day. For those of us that have taken and intro psych. class or understand this concept, it can help us think more carefully and therefore, hopefully, help us avoid being tricked and taken advantage of.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by benxx001 in November 2011.

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