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Joseph E. LeDoux

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This download [Magazine] Scientific American Mind. Each growth did requested by at least three Programme Committee Orders. The type enabled to send 15 apps. Mollywood Hollywood sought their state use. The Frontier in American Culture. University of California Press, Kentucky and Missouri imposed been in December The Capital had associated to Richmond May Experimental philosophers have tried to resolve the debate by asking study participants whether they agree with descriptions such as the following: Imagine a universe in which everything that happens is completely caused by whatever happened before it.

So what happened in the beginning of the universe caused what happened next and so on, right up to the present. If John decided to have french fries at lunch one day, this decision, like all others, was caused by what happened before it. When surveyed, Americans say they disagree with such descriptions of the universe. From inquiries in other countries, researchers have found that Chinese, Colombians and Indians share this opinion: individual choice is not determined.

Why do humans hold this view? One promising explanation is that we presume that we can generally sense all the influences on our decision making— and because we cannot detect deterministic influences, we discount them. Of course, people do not believe they have conscious access to everything in their mind. We do not presume to intuit the causes of headaches, memory formation or visual processing. But research indicates that people do think they can access the factors affecting their choices. Yet psychologists widely agree that unconscious processes exert a powerful influence over our choices.

In one study, for example, participants solved word puzzles in which the words were either associated with rudeness or politeness. Those exposed to rudeness words were much more likely to interrupt the experimenter in a subsequent part of the task. When debriefed, none of the subjects w w w.

That scenario is just one of many in which our decisions are directed by forces lurking beneath our awareness. Thus, ironically, because our subconscious is so powerful in other ways, we cannot truly trust it when considering our notion of free will. We still do not know conclusively that our choices are determined. Our intuition, however, provides no good reason to think that they are not.

If our instinct cannot support the idea of free will, then we lose our main rationale for resisting the claim that free will is an illusion. Is Consciousness Just a Brain Process? Though a young movement, experimental philosophy is broad in scope. Its proponents apply their methods to varied philosophical problems, including questions about the nature of the self.

For example, what if anything makes you the same person from childhood to adulthood? They investigate issues in ethics, too: Do people think that morality is objective, as is mathematics, and if so, why? Akin to the question of free will, they are also tackling the dissonance between our intuitions and scientific theories of consciousness. Scientists have postulated that consciousness is populations of neurons firing in certain brain areas, no more and no less. To most people, however, it seems bizarre to think that the distinctive tang of kumquats, say, is just a pattern of neural activation.

Our instincts about consciousness are triggered by specific cues, experimental philosophers explain, among them the existence of eyes and the appearance of goal-directed behavior, but not neurons. The problem is that insects very likely lack the neural wherewithal for these sensations and emotions. What is more, engineers have programmed robots to display simple goal-directed behaviors, and these robots can produce the uncanny impression that they have feelings, even though the machines are not remotely plausible candidates for having awareness.

In short, our instincts can lead us astray on this matter, too. Maybe consciousness does not have to be something different from— or above and beyond— brain processes. Philosophical conflicts over such concepts as free will and consciousness often have their roots in ordinary intuitions, and the historical debates often end in stalemates. Experimental philosophers maintain that we can move past some of these impasses if we understand the nature of our gut feelings. This nascent field will probably not produce a silver bullet to fully restore or discredit our beliefs in free will and other potential illusions.

But by understanding why we find certain philosophical views intuitively compelling, we might find ourselves in a position to recognize that, in some cases, we have little reason to hold onto our hunches. Edited by J. Knobe and S. Oxford University Press, Fiala, A. Arico and S. Edited by E. Slingerland and M. Because this aspect of mind is, by definition, not accessible to introspection, it has proved difficult to investigate.

Today the domain of the unconscious — described more generally in the realm of cognitive neuroscience as any processing that does not give rise to conscious awareness— is routinely studied in hundreds of laboratories using objective psychophysical techniques amenable to statistical analysis. Let me tell you about two experiments that reveal some of the capabilities of the unconscious mind.

Here he explored the extent to which a simple sum or an average can be computed outside the pale of consciousness. Adding 7, 3, 5 and 8 is widely assumed to be a quintessential serial process that requires consciousness. In the experiment, subjects saw four numbers for milliseconds and had to judge quickly whether their average exceeded 5.

Masks with hash marks ensured that the four cued numbers were not consciously seen. The unconscious was nonetheless able to estimate the average. Volunteers had to indicate as quickly as possible whether or not the average of the four projected numbers exceeded 5. Every trial was preceded by a hidden cue that could be valid or invalid.

The cue consisted of a very brief flash of another set of four numbers whose average was either smaller or larger than 5 [see illustration below]. These were preceded and followed by hash marks at the location of the flashed numbers. The marks effectively masked the cue so that no subject ever consciously saw this quartet. Forcing them to guess whether the average of the four hidden numbers was less than or greater than 5 did not work either: they were at chance. If the implicit cue was valid, the response to the target was consistently faster than if the cue was invalid.

In the illustration, the mean of the four invisible cues 3. It is unlikely that it does so following the precise, algebraic rules children learn in grade school. Instead it may rely on heuristics: for example, for each number larger than 5, increase the probability of pushing the greater than 5 button. This is just the latest in a flurry of experiments demonstrating so-called ensemble coding, the ability of the mind to guesstimate the dominant emotional expression of a crowd of faces or the approximate size of a bunch of dots even though the individual faces or dots are not consciously perceived.

Deouell of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem set out to test the extent to which the unconscious can integrate all the information in any one picture into a unified and coherent visual experience. A series of rapidly changing, randomly colored patterns was flashed into one eye while a photograph of a person carrying out some task was slowly faded into the other eye.

For a few seconds, the picture is completely invisible, and the subject can see only the colored shapes. Because the images become progressively stronger, eventually they will break through, and the subject will see them. The unconscious mind can tell if there is something amiss in these doctored images.

The fascinating aspect of the Mudrik study is that the time to become visible depends on the content of the image. Realistic scenes that depict a woman placing a pizza into an oven, a boy taking aim with a bow and arrow, or a basketball player dunking a ball into a hoop took 2.

That is, the unconscious mind detected something incongruent about these pictures: a woman puts a chessboard into the oven, the cocked arrow is replaced by a tennis racket, and the basketball becomes a watermelon. The psychologists made sure that both congruent and incongruent images were truly invisible and could not be distinguished from one another when masked in this way. This discovery implies that the unconscious can recognize something is amiss in these images, that the object handled by the person in the image is not appropriate to the context. How the mind recognizes that something is wrong is puzzling.

Maybe because the vast and tangled neural networks of the cerebral cortex that encode images have learned that certain objects go together but others do not akin to the software programs —bots —that Google and other search engines employ to trawl the Internet to list all images, sentences and Web pages so when you search for them they are readily accessible. Given the sheer infinite number of possible pairings of objects and context, is this solution likely to be done by the brain?

Or maybe the masking techniques suppress visibility of the image but do not fully eliminate conscious access to them? Only more research will tell. In this way, we shall ultimately know the capabilities of the cognitive unconscious and the truly essential function that consciousness plays in our life. Deouell in Psychological Science, Vol. Filip Van Opstal, Floris P. That is, they are interested in shaping real-world 3-D objects that nonetheless appear to be impossible.

Unlike classic monuments—such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. Penrose attended a lecture by Escher in and was inspired to rediscover the impossible triangle. In the Penroses sent a copy of the article to Escher, who incorporated the effect into Waterfall, one of his most famous lithographs right.

Dutch artist M. Escher, for instance, depicted reversible staircases and perpetually flowing streams. These effects challenge our hard-earned perception that the world around us follows certain, inviolable rules. They also reveal that our brains construct the feeling of a global percept— an overall picture of a particular item— by sewing together multiple local percepts. The left-hand part of the figure appears as three shiny oval tubes. The right-hand part looks corrugated, with three alternating pairs of shallow matte ridges and grooves. Determining the direction of the apparent illumination falling on the figure is difficult: it depends on whether we interpret the light as falling on a receding or an expanding surface.

Further, determining the exact position and shape of the transition region near the center of the arch is maddening, because the local 3-D interpretations defy the laws of illumination. This photograph below shows the artist holding the sculpture Upside Down, built in Other views of the crazy crate show the method behind the madness above center and right. Notice that the illusion works only from a specific vantage point.

At any other angle, the illusion fails. Scientists refer to this as the accidental view, but there is nothing accidental about it. How did they do that? A photograph taken from another angle below right reveals the trick. Depending on your vantage point, Three-Bar Cube can appear to be a cube, a solid structure or an impossible triangle. Depression alone affects an estimated million people worldwide. Attendees will debate the definitions of mental disorders, financial interests in the refinement of both diagnoses and drugs, and controversial new therapies, among other topics.

Heidelberg, Germany www. Walks take place in several locations around the world www. Her lab has also found a molecule that guides C. Washington, D. Notably, she will discuss the differences between the right and left sides of the brain, tactics to minimize the effects of a stroke, and the experience of being both a patient and a doctor. Seattle www. Recent evidence suggests we possess specific neural circuitry dedicated to experiencing the pain of others. Attendees will discuss why empathy exists, advances in understanding the neural basis of altruism, and the ways in which society affects our empathetic tendencies.

Bloomington, Ind. Conference attendees will also delve into the potential benefits of energy psychology, which includes the alternative therapies of acupuncture and hypnosis, to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and addiction problems. Hilton Head Island, S. In his lecture entitled The Psychology of Meditative Thinking, James Mitchell, an instructor at University of California, San Francisco, will explain how mindfulness meditation can improve overall health, reduce stress levels and create a calmer state of mind.

San Francisco www. One night Newman dreamed that he was reflecting on the problem when Nash appeared. The sleeping Newman related the details of the conundrum to Nash and asked if he knew the solution.

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Nash explained how to solve it. Newman awoke realizing he had the answer! He spent the next several weeks turning the insight into a formal paper, which was then published in a mathematics journal. We continue focusing on all the same issues that concern us while we are awake. For decades scientists have puzzled over how dreams could display such diverse characteristics.


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Research is beginning to suggest that dreams are simply thought in a different biochemical state. Dreams can be especially helpful for problems that require creativity or visualization to solve. By thinking about specific dilemmas before bed, we can increase our chances that we will dream a solution. Dreams may seem bizarre or nonsensical because the chemistry of the sleeping brain affects how we perceive our own thoughts, but we nonetheless continue focusing on all the same issues that concern us while we are awake.

This unusual state of consciousness is often a blessing for problem solving— it helps us find solutions outside our normal patterns of thought. By following a few simple steps, we can even harness this power, encouraging our sleeping brain to ruminate on particular concerns. It is for everything. Nevertheless, theorists have long offered one-function explanations for dreaming.

Sigmund Freud believed that dreams primarily express repressed wishes, namely, infantile sexual and aggressive impulses. Other psychoanalysts thought they had more to do with narcissistic strivings or compensation for feelings of inferiority. More recently, psychologists have posited that dreams simulate threats or help to consolidate memories.

All these theories characterize some dreams, but none of them can account for every type. Just as waking thought can drift between reminiscing, planning, rumination, and so on, dream cognition seems to encompass many modes of thought. Most early theorists assumed that the dreams we remembered constituted all dreams. Several hypotheses supposed that people experienced dreams when some specific situation triggered a set of distinctive feelings — the desire for sex, say, or a bruised ego.

Modern engineers Paul Horowitz and Alan Huang dreamed designs for laser-telescope controls and laser computing, respectively. Innumerable artists and filmmakers have depicted images that came to them in their sleep. Jekyll and Mr. Yet dreams so often seem incoherent, bizarre or even trivial. We search intensely for our brother in an endless maze of corridors because we must give him a yellow package. But when we find him, we have forgotten the package — which we are certainly not holding any longer— and anyway he is now a neighbor, not a brother.

The two sleep researchers discovered that human slumber consists of approximately minute cycles, each one containing a period of rapid eye movement REM and heightened brain activity—about as much activity as when we are awake. When the scientists awakened people near the end of each REM period, the sleepers recounted an average of almost five dreams per night. Within the past two decades positron-emission tomography PET scans have allowed us to see which brain areas are involved in dreaming. Parts of the cortex associated with visual imagery and the perception of movement become activated even more dramatically than when we are awake, as do some deep brain areas associated with emotion.

In contrast, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is less engaged during dreaming; this area is associated with volitional action and the evaluation of what is logical and socially appropriate. These PET results fit the characteristics of dreams well; dream reports almost always contain visual imagery and often involve movement.

We will return to this point when discussing problem solving. Evolutionary psychologists were w w w. Our eyes can be closed, however, as we do not need to monitor our visual environment during sleep. And our bodies can be paralyzed, as is normal during REM sleep, because we do not need to move — in fact, we should not move until we awaken. More recent findings hint at a special role for REM sleep in memory consolidation. Studies of rats learning to navigate mazes have found that during REM sleep, brain activity mimics that of the awake rodent training in the maze, which suggests that circuits may be reinforced during REM sleep.

In humans, too, research supports the role of REM sleep in memory. In psychologists at the University of California, San Diego, examined whether REM facilitated more than just memory when learning. They gave their subjects a test that required creative REM Awake problem solving and then dropped hints about the answers. The REM sleep group showed the most improvement on their creative solutions to the previously presented problems. The students were shown a combination of images, each representing a probability of sun or rain.

The students did not know the meaning of the images, but they attempted to figure them out through trial and error by predicting an overall chance of sun or rain and getting feedback on their answers. In addition, their heightened performance, as well as their ability to explicitly articulate that they had grasped the general rule, was correlated with the amount of REM sleep they had gotten.

Further research confirms that REM sleep aids in problem solving. In a series of ongoing studies in the same Harvard lab, postdoctoral researcher Erin Wamsley asks subjects to navigate a virtual maze. Here positron-emission tomography scans show the brain during REM sleep left and while awake right. Activity is indicated by the color spectrum, with red indicating the most active areas and blue the least.

Sleep on It Evolution, then, may help elucidate why certain brain areas are more or less active when we sleep. The pattern of activity explains why dreams have the characteristics they do —visually rich and logically loose. Knowing that our prefrontal cortex is active when we encounter a social prohibition does not explain away the subjective debate we experience when deciding how to respond. Brain researchers finally grasped this fact after a two-decade lull and in the past few years have begun studying dreams seriously again.

In addition, when she wakes or interrupts them to ask what they are thinking or dreaming, the theme is often the maze — but only when this thinking occurs in REM sleep do subjects fare better the next time they tackle the real maze. Because REM sleep is the stage during which dreams occur, these sleep studies imply that dreaming might have something to do with creative problem solving.

Mounting experimental evidence, as well as countless anecdotes of solutions that popped up during dreams, supports this idea. The first study on dreams and objective problem solving was conducted more than a century ago. In Charles M. Child of Wesleyan University asked college students whether they had ever addressed a problem in a dream. One third said they had. The students reported playing a chess game, solving an algebra problem, detecting a bookkeeping error and translating a passage from Virgil while slumbering.

In sleep researcher William Dement of Stanford University asked of his students to spend 15 minutes a night trying to solve brainteasers, making sure that they fell asleep with an unsolved problem on their mind. Students reported having 87 dreams, seven of which solved a brainteaser. Yet these brainteasers may be beyond the ability of some subjects, and they are also not of great personal import. He surmised that students lost motivation quickly on problems of little relevance to their lives.

Therefore, in my own research Brain areas that restrict our thinking to the logical and familiar are much less active during REM sleep. Such disinhibition is a crucial part of creative thought. I asked students to select their own objective problem. They recorded their dreams for a week and noted the ones they thought addressed the issue or contained a satisfactory solution. Two research assistants also judged whether the dreams focused on or solved the problems. Half of them had dreams they felt touched on their concern, and one third dreamed a solution to it.

Judges rated only slightly fewer dreams as tackling or solving problems. Although a number of the problems had to do with homework or mundane tasks such as rearranging furniture, some of the most interesting solutions came up in dreams about major life decisions. We look for a safe place on the map, indicated by a light. The lights seemed to be farther west.

Solution: I woke up and realized that my two clinical schools are both in Massachusetts, where I have spent my entire life and where my parents live. Both industrial programs are far away, in Texas and California. This is because originally I was looking to stay close to home, and there were no good industrial programs nearby.

I realized that there is a lot wrong with staying at home, and funny as it sounds, getting away is probably more important than which kind of program I go into. Recall that the brain areas that usually restrict our thinking to the logical and familiar are much less active during REM sleep.

There the ill tried to have dreams that would tell them how to cure their malady.

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Similarly, the high activity in the visual areas of the sleeping brain allows it to visualize solutions more readily than in waking thought. My research confirms that dreamed solutions tend to have unusual visual characteristics. Through the late s If you want a more elaborate process, add these steps to your incubation routine: 6.

I scoured the existing literature on dreams, professional biographies and history books for examples of problemsolving dreams, and I queried working professionals as to whether they had ever had dreams that were useful in their jobs. Certain patterns emerged. Well over half of the visual artists said they had used dreams in their work. About half of fiction writers had. Deirdre Barrett. Crown Random House , Cai, S.

Mednick, E. Harrison, J. Kanady and S. Ina Djonlagic et al. Erin J. Within the sciences, inventors, engineers and others who benefit from visualizing problems in three dimensions were likelier to report helpful dreams. Some dreamers even had multiple examples of having awakened with a solution and had developed an explicit bedtime incubation routine. In my present study, for which I reported preliminary results in June at the International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference, I investigated how dream-based problem solving might benefit working men and women more broadly.

Professionals aged 21 to 69 attempted to solve real work-related problems in their sleep. These subjects seemed to dream about their problems with the same frequency as the college students I had observed in ; however, they reported less than half the number of solutions as compared with the students. Also keep a pen and paper— and perhaps a flashlight—alongside it. Note whether you recall any trace of a dream and try to invite more of the dream to return.

Write it down. A significant number of them, however, report having a useful dream after only one week of incubation practice. A year later I was unexpectedly seated next to Nash at a dinner party. I asked him about the incident, which he remembered well. Solutions frequently came from a dream character— one computer programmer got repeated nocturnal lessons from Albert Einstein — and people had trouble taking full credit for what their dreaming mind had done.

This tendency fits brain findings for REM sleep in which the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, associated with perceptions of volition, is less active.

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But we need not wait passively for inspiration to strike. We spend almost a third of our lives asleep — and almost a third of that time dreaming. My research suggests that in a short amount of time, people can learn to focus their dreams on minor problems and often solve them [see box on opposite page]. As for the bigger concerns, surveys find that all kinds of mysteries can be revealed in dreams—two Nobel Prizes resulted from dreams, after all. But even if you choose to leave your sleeping brain alone, pay attention: after nodding off, your brain in its altered state of consciousness is very likely already hard at work.

M Unlocking the Lucid Dream Becoming aware of your sleeping self could relieve anxiety or tap the creative unconscious By Ursula Voss I moved my eyes, and I realized that I was asleep in bed. Then I thought to myself how nice it would be to gallop through this landscape. I got myself a horse … I could feel myself riding the horse and lying in bed at the same time.

This particular sleeper was having a lucid dream, in which the dreamer recognizes that he or she is dreaming and can sometimes influence the course of the dream. By measuring the brain waves of lucid dreamers, my colleagues and I are gaining a better understanding of the neural processes underlying this state of consciousness that exists between sleep and waking. In addition to providing clues about Waking Frequencies during Sleep Most people report having a lucid dream at least once in their life, and a small fraction of us have them as often as once or twice a week.

Some individuals even develop routines to increase their chances of having a lucid dream [see box on opposite page]. The process of recall is notoriously prone to distortion; for example, some people may confuse lucid dreams with the transient hallucinations that occur while falling asleep or waking up. In sleep researcher Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University and his colleagues figured out a way to prevent such misinterpretation.

Unlike the rest of the body, the eye and its movements are not inhibited during sleep. These signals are easily distinguished from the rapid eye movement REM that occurs randomly during regular dreams. We still use this method today. After a sleeper has signaled with eye movements that a lucid dream has started, researchers can investigate the corresponding brain activity using electroencephalography EEG. In an EEG recording, electrodes attached to the skin of the head pick up the oscillating electrical signals that indicate that thousands or millions of neurons are firing in synchrony.

In my team and I decided to take a closer look at the brain activity of lucid dreamers. We tend to generate these high-frequency waves when we concentrate on a particular object. In addition to the frontal lobe, other regions of the cerebral cortex—the rippled mantle on the surface of the brain—play a major role in lucid dreaming.

Parts of the brain tend to work together more intensely during lucid dreaming than in other dream phases. Lucid dreaming is useful for treating chronic nightmares and perhaps even anxiety. Becoming aware may create emotional distance. Another striking feature in our study involved coherence—a rough measure of how coordinated the activity is in various areas of the brain.

Coherence is generally slightly decreased in REM sleep, but not during lucid dreams. In lucid dreams, however, the party guests tend to converse with one another, and the overall background noise decreases. Beyond Fantasies Until recently, most experts thought of lucid dreaming as a curiosity— a fun way to act out wishful thinking about flying or meeting celebrities. Am I Dreaming? L ucid dreams cannot be willfully induced, but you can increase the likelihood that you will have one. People who practice these techniques regularly are able to have one or two lucid dreams per week.

When this habit becomes ingrained, you may find yourself asking the question in a dream — at which point your chances of realizing you are dreaming skyrocket. You may carry the habit of checking for these dream signs into sleep, where they could alert you to the fact that you are dreaming. Studies show that this practice makes you more aware of your dreams in general, and people who are more aware of their dreams are more likely to have a lucid dream.

And if you suddenly notice that you are dancing with the movie star you hoped to meet, you might just realize you are having a dream and be able to take control of what happens next. Chronic nightmare sufferers often find their only source of relief is learning how to take control of their dreams. A study in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in October found that those who learned how to increase their frequency of lucid dreams reported fewer awful dreams afterward, although the exact mechanism underlying the relief is unclear. Beyond therapeutic applications, lucid dreaming may also facilitate the learning of complicated movement sequences.

In dreams, we are all capable of unusual actions. We can fly, walk through walls or make objects disappear. According to sports psychologist Daniel Erlacher of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, athletes can internalize complex motor sequences, such as those needed in the high jump, more quickly after targeted lucid-dream training.

A small study last year at Liverpool John Moores University in England suggests that lucid dreams are good for creative endeavors such as inventing metaphors but not for more rational exercises such as solving brainteasers. Indeed, some of the subjects found their dream characters to be surprisingly helpful. We still have much to learn about lucid dreaming. For example, we do not know under what circumstances these dreams appear most frequently or how to induce them more reliably. Stephen LaBerge. Sounds True, Inc. Allan Hobson in Sleep, Vol. The host parents had rented a petting zoo for the day, and kids jumped gleefully in a bouncy castle out in the driveway.

On the terrace, a few parents chatted beside an alluring spread of bagels, coffee and fruit. Most of the kids at the party attend the same preschool. Decades of research have demonstrated that their innate curiosity leads them to develop their social, emotional and physical skills independently, through exploration— that is, through play. The trend among preschools, however, is to engage children in activities that look more and more like school for older kids. Preschools are increasingly turning away from play-based learning to lectures and testing.

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Placing heavy emphasis on academics early in life is not only out of line with how young brains develop, it might even impede successful learning later on. When the standards were last updated, in , children were suddenly expected to demon- this year. The researchers showed two groups of children a toy that played music in response to a particular sequence of actions. With one group, an experimenter demonstrated several lengthy sequences of actions that made it play music; with the other, she pretended not to know how it worked. The kids in the first group imitated the experimenter.

Although they successfully got the toy to play music, they did not figure out that only two actions embedded in the sequences were needed to produce sounds. In a similar study also published this year, developmental psychologist Laura Schultz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her colleagues showed two groups of children a toy that did a number of things, including emitting squeaks.

When left to play with it, the group for whom the experimenters demonstrated how to make it squeak could only make it squeak. The group given the toy without any direct instruction, however, made it squeak and discovered its other features, too. Such expressions of inquisitiveness reveal how children investigate their world.

Running around in circles, playing with blocks and climbing on a jungle gym may seem like exercise or goofing off to an adult, but several studies have shown that children infer a basic sense of physics through these activities. In a University of Kansas study in , psychologists Betty Hart, Todd Risley and their collaborators tracked 42 families with one- and two-year-olds and recorded every verbal interaction between parents and children.

They found no instances of direct teaching among the kids who went on to develop the widest vocabularies and richest use of language. As Peter L.

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Mangione, co-director of the Center for Child and Family Studies at WestEd in San Francisco, a nonprofit public research and development agency, puts it, A report by the Alliance of Childhood found an average of 20 to 30 minutes a day of testing and test preparation among kindergarteners in Los Angeles and New York. Not direct teaching. So why the shift to direct instruction at preschools today? The law passed by Congress in known as No Child Left Behind encouraged preschools to include more direct instruction in their curricula by mandating standardized tests in math and reading for all public school third graders.

Schools failing to meet certain benchmarks face stiff penalties. Consequently, teachers in the earlier grades come under pressure to prepare kids for the coming high-stakes assessments. Children enrolled in the federal Head Start preschool program for underprivileged children are also assessed as a result of No Child Left Behind. Stipek was right: a report by the Alliance for Childhood, an international NGO promoting healthy child development, found an average of 20 to 30 minutes a day of testing and test preparation among kindergarteners in Los Angeles and New York. He lives in Los Angeles.

Gopnik says the preschool teachers with whom she speaks regularly tell her they know that play is best for their small charges, but they feel squeezed between two sides. It might seem ironic that this shift toward direct instruction and earlier introduction of academics is most visible among the children of some of the best-educated parents, at a time when American society as a whole is the best educated it has ever been— especially given all the science supporting play-based learning.

But Gopnik points out that with many affluent people moving far away from family members when they enter adulthood and most women entering the workforce right away, fewer new parents have taken care of nieces, nephews and cousins, as they did in earlier times, before raising their own children. They may have no experience with the very young. Not having seen what a three-year-old is like, they think they should put children in situations that are more academic.

Soon after I sit down on a small, blue stool to observe the children, someone offers me an espresso. But in the first few minutes of observation, it is clear that direct instruction is part of the program. One five-year-old boy is quizzed on the human skeleton. A girl pores over flash cards of words composed of two consonants surrounding the letter a. She sounds them out slowly with the help of a teacher, who repeats the sounds more quickly and more closely together.

Another girl aged four or five, in a long magenta skirt and a sequined T-shirt, assembles a puzzle that forms a map of Asia. After putting the largest piece on the floor in front of her, she approaches a teacher for direction. The girl digs through the puzzle pieces and places Vietnam on the floor. I nuked them many years ago, when they went to a tabloid format and hired on Alan Alda as a presenter and spokestwat. Am I missing something — I thought the ever increasing CO2 generated heat was going to rain death and destruction on us all with never ending EL Nino conditions.

Almost all cyclonic activity I remember is associated with La Nina events here. As for ever increasing strength Teacy was equal to Yasi and completely destroyed Darwin on Christmas Eve Maybe a change in font would be more useful than new glasses. Sci Am has become a disaster, I occasionally refer back to the old classic issues I have on PDFs, and note with sadness how far it has fallen.

They have earned my undying respect. SA has sadly become, as one commenter aptly titled it, a tabloid. You would think there would be enough real science out there to fill their pages…. Perhaps Robinson suffers from protanopia like I do — low red visual sensitivity — which reduces the contrast between red and black. As a result the thin lines ,not being so easily visible, appear like a 2. I thought it was initially as well! The Sci Am article seemed interesting and neutral.

It is news that some researches want a new category and the article reports other criticisms of the current 5 point scale. I canceled my sub to Sci Am some twenty odd years ago when it changed from being a long established and distinguished scientific journal to an unrecognizable, pseudo-scientific, politicized, editorializing, slanted, opinion and agenda driven pop-tabloid.

It has never recovered. Well, that is what Sci Am has been all about for a very long time. From respected journal to trashy sheet in less than years. I cancelled my subscription in the mids. Up to the earlys, they used to interview luminaries like Kuhn, or Murray Gell-Man, and others. Their articles were by prominent scientists in their fields.

Op-Eds by Lisa Feldman Barrett

Then one day, when I received an issue where their interview was of Jeremy Rifkin, I decided they had definitely changed, and for the worse. DirkH: You have to recognize that you have been misled before it dawns you you that you need help. I an too trusting. Operationally difficult to calculate with much precision, but perhaps a better guide to potential destructiveness to a stretch of land. While Wilma in had a stupidly low central pressure mb , the winds dropped from mph to below hurricane strength in the space of less than 15 miles during that period of intensity.

Katrina was packing a much smaller punch than that at landfall, but was so large that the hurricane-force winds stretched well over miles from the centre and brought a massive storm surge. When I got the distinct sense that I was getting a lecture and not straight science, I dumped it. I used to read Scientific American before it became a tabloid… By the way was hurricane Camille a Cat 6 hurricane?

Yep…big hurricanes…unprecedented…. Posited on the basis of more heat means more energy to dissipate — as simple as that. Of course in the cold hard light of day, this is a gross oversimplification as it is extremely difficult to determine exactly how climate translates to specific weather in any particular place. Category six Hurricanes? It had a central pressure at landfall lower than Camille. I religiously read SA in the library at Uni in the 80s. When employed in the 90s I got my own subscription. As a business owner in the late 90s I got a subscription for my staff room as well.

Then, I noticed what you all point out. As a consultant I just bought the occasional copy from the news stand. Then just a few articles online. Here is a useful link to the NHC breakdown of damages likely expected for each category of hurricane. Probably due to rounding. I stopped paying attention to Un-scientific American after the professor Bjorn Lomborg incident where they spent 10 pages trashing him, then refused to allow him to respond to their allegations, and threatened him with litigation.

However the last one I remember reading was about the formation of the Mississippi Embayment, which is clearly visible on any geologic map of the US. This was about 4 years ago. Sadly not much since then. Another ex-SA reader here. This is the citation and a very short abstract: De Jager, Peter. Abstract: Evaluates the Year Y2K computer problem and the amount of time left to fix it. Decades ago digital real estate was scarce: computer memory was expensive, and typical punch cards were only 80 columns wide. People also rationalized the shortcut by citing the efficiency of reduced keystrokes.

Of course, the absence of standards played an enabling role, and many of us truly believed incorrectly so that the software we were writing would long be retired before the new millennium. Thanks to sheer inertia and lingering Tea Party logic why store more than two digits when the century stays the same for such a long time together? I suspect that most of the Gentle Readers here may not know a lot about everything but instead a lot about a narrow subject. But, here is the rhetorical question: When the house of lies finally collapses, will the entire editorial staff be terminated?

Probably not.


  1. pressure ulcer research.
  2. Stochastic Methods in Biology: Proceedings of a Workshop held in Nagoya, Japan July 8–12 1985.
  3. Download [Magazine] Scientific American Mind. Vol. 16. No 4 2005.
  4. Bottom-Up Self-Organization in Supramolecular Soft Matter: Principles and Prototypical Examples of Recent Advances;
  5. Convert to and from PDF.
  6. Publications by Brian Hayes!

But instead of continuing as just another left wing propaganda rag actually become something respectable, unlike Newsweek. It breaks my heart that something respected and valuable has become just another empty leftist echo. I remember when it was of value to us interested laymen. I purchased a newsstand copy in Calgary Airport on the way baq to Iraq. The safety card was more informative. In what may sound like a page from the script of the rock-band spoof Spinal Tap with its reference to a beyond-loud electric guitar amplifier volume 11, there is actually talk of adding a sixth level to the current Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, on which category 5 intensity means sustained winds higher than miles per hour kilometers per hour for at least one minute, with no speed cap.

I wonder what Spinal Tap would say about this? The degeneration of SciAm is sad. Gave up on it long ago, when I found I could not be sure that the very next issue might feature BatBoy.