Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people

August 22, 2012

From International Journal of Music Education

Recent advances in the study of the brain have enabled us to get a better understanding of the way that active engagement with music may influence other development.  This paper considers the effects of music on intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. It outlines how extensive active engagement with music can induce cortical reorganization. This may produce functional changes in how the brain processes information. Processing of pitch in string players is characterized by longer surveillance and more frontally distributed event-related brain potentials attention. Drummers generate more complex memory traces of the temporal organization of musical sequences. Compared with non-musicians, string players have greater somatosensory representa­tions of finger activity, the amount of increase depending on the age of starting to play. Clearly, the brain develops in very specific ways in response to particular learning activities and the extent of change depends on the length of time engaged with learning. The extent of musical engagement and its nature will be a factor in the extent to which transfer can occur to other areas. This overview provides a strong case for the benefits of active engagement with music throughout the lifespan.


Children having children? Religion, psychology and the birth of the teenage pregnancy problem

April 5, 2012

From History of the Human Sciences

In recent years the phrase ‘children having children’ has been used by politicians, academics, policy focussed NGO’s and Children’s charities to describe the worrying trend in the UK of rising teenage parenthood. This expression is not exclusively British and has been a recurring theme in the public discussion of ‘teenage pregnancy’ in the USA. Five decades after London County Council officers began separating ‘pregnant children’ from older women who conceived out of wedlock, governmental concern with ‘children having children’ persists.  This article explores government work with ‘unwed mothers’ and identifies the shifts associated with the ascent of governmental concern with ‘teenage motherhood’. There is much debate regarding young people’s bodily and mental ‘maturity’ in relation to parenthood. Much consideration fails to acknowledge the historical and cultural contingency of contemporary western notions of ‘teenage’. This article suggests as long as contemporary scientific claims regarding young people’s maturity go unchallenged, the ‘problem’ of teenage parenthood will persist.


Contracts in the classroom: An unconventional promising grading system

January 17, 2012

Use of contract grading to improve grades among college freshmen in introductory psychology

From SAGE Open

While contracts are an indispensable tool in the modern workplace, this study has found that they may also be very effective in contemporary classrooms. Students designed their own course based on a contract and this lead to both higher grades and higher student satisfaction than traditional points-based courses. A total of 40 college freshmen enrolled in one introductory psychology course to a traditional or contract grading system. Those assigned to the contract system signed a contract at the beginning of the semester in which they indicated what grade they were aiming to receive and specified which assignments they would complete to receive that grade. Students who wanted to receive a better grade had to complete more assignments and receive a higher score on exams than those aiming for a lower grade. Though the instructor and course materials were identical for both sections, at the end of the semester, the group of students who were graded contractually were three times more likely to earn an A grade, one third as likely to fail or withdraw from the course, perceived a higher degree of control over their grade, and consistently rated their own effort, their instructor, and the course overall more favorably.


Why is the vampire Edward Cullen from Twilight desirable despite being an extreme psychopath?

May 5, 2011

A boyfriend to die for: Edward Cullen as compensated psychopath in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight

From Journal of Communication Inquiry

This study looks at the male lead character Edward Cullen in the hugely popular Twilight novel and movie. It recognizes that this role is one of a “compensated psychopath” (CP)—an extreme psychopath who is able to pass for functional in society. The popularity of the role may be understood for the movie viewers in part as it is played by the heartthrob Robert Pattinson, but the idealization of Edward as a top boyfriend by the female lead character and also avid girls around the globe reading or watching, considering he is a dangerous vampire is largely uncriticized.

The article describes the romantic male vampire phenomenon in contemporary American culture and discusses the concept of the “compensated psychopath”. Discourse analysis is also used to identify coded terms and phrases that have connotative meaning, The importance of taking popular culture portrayals seriously is outlined arguing that it would be easy to dismiss Twilight as only harmless entertainment. Although Edward Cullen may be purely fictional, the power of story, of mass media, to influence viewers and readers, is well established in academic literature. The idealization of Edward is troubling as it flies under the radar of contemporary concern for girls’ psychic and physical well-being.


%d bloggers like this: