gmusic@nurturingnatures.co.uk

This blog is to critically introduce, and contextualise, new research findings from developmental research, neuroscience, attachment theory  and other areas of psychology that are topical or are likely to whet the appetite of  anyone interested. The aim is to discuss research which will feel relevant and which might even, if lucky, make a...

This blog is to critically introduce, and contextualise, new research findings from developmental research, neuroscience, attachment theory  and other areas of psychology that are topical or are likely to whet the appetite of  anyone interested. The aim is to discuss research which will feel relevant and which might even, if lucky, make a difference to how we approach our work or other areas of our lives.

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The fiver challenge, primary school kids as Alan Sugar acolytes?

 School kids as young as 5 are to be encouraged to become entrepreneurs in a new government initiative announced last week, spearheaded by Lord Young and publicly backed by  David Cameron. Much about this worries me, even if we do need to encourage entrepreneurial spirits and there is a certain logic to the plan. While not a Faustian pact, such initiatives give a very clear message about what we as a society value and maybe more importantly, research shows that encouraging business and money oriented attitudes create a likelihood that children's more prosocial and generous character traits will be toned right down as self-interest and more instrumental motives become stronger.  

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Raising driven immoral kids?

 

A version of this appeared in the Telegraph recently, and can be accessed here 

Are results obsessed, league-table crazed state schools churning out pupils who are less moral than their posh public school counterparts, as headmaster Richard Walden recently claimed.? As so often with misconceived hyperbole, his statement contains a kernel of truth, and indeed raises fundamental questions that need answering.  After all, don’t we all want a more moral society, and to raise our kids to be well-rounded human beings who are not only caring of others, embrace and live by cultural and ethical values and are motivated by more than achievement, status and money?

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Neuromythmakers or neuro-deniers? A response to Zoe Williams (with Sue Gerhardt)

This article is a response to Zoe Williams’ piece in the guardian which can be accessed here.  This piece, which critiqued the use of neuroscience in child protection policy,  has generated considerable controversy. Many letters were published about it, many  upset and surprised that she took this line. Letters can be accessed here

 

Zoe Williams, a journalist whose politics we have generally agreed with,  lines up witnesses for the prosecution against what she sees as inappropriate use of brain science in social policy. She scores some direct hits. Yes, there have been clumsy attempts to grab attention with extreme images of severely neglected shrivelled brains. Yes, some attempts to explain the neuroscience have been crude. But a few examples of bad practice do not invalidate an entire body of rigorous science.

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Risk-taking, crime and life expectancy

An interesting new study by Professor Alex Piquero in Dallas found a strong link between the age at which young people imagine they will die and the likelihood that they will commit crimes. Basically youth who expect to not be alive much past their teens were far more likely to be involved in criminal activity. Indeed those with the least hope for the future offended at higher rates and committed more serious crimes. This was a complex study with a sample of over 1400 offenders who were followed for 7 years.

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Protest, political allegiance, stress, fear and brains

One of the perplexing political questions of the moment is why, instead of more protest about issues such as poverty, unemployment, the lack of job security, as well as maybe climate change and a host of issues that are affecting people’s lives for the worse, we rather see people whose backs are against the wall becoming economically and in other ways  more conservative. hence the increased support for far right parties such as UKIP in the UK. We have often seen extreme political views flourish at times of crisis. 

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Betting, risk-taking, poverty and stress

A forthcoming government document  is about to  report a huge surge in spending on betting and gambling in the poorest areas of Britain. Particularly worrying is the high levels of betting using high speed machines  In the 55 most deprived boroughs of the country there are  2,691 betting shops,  and over £13bn was bet and apparently  £470m of that lost during the, last year. In contrast our 115 richest areas had just 1,258 bookies, even though  the population was the same, and only  £6.5bn was bet with losses of  £231m, within the same 12 months.

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