Tag Archives: Science Daily

Arizona State University study: In race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white

1 Jan

Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids. It is worth reviewing that post. http://drwilda.com/tag/class-segregation/

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/http://drwilda.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

U.S. News reported in the article, Study Finds Students Underperform in Schools With Large Black Populations:

As concerns mount over the resegregation of the nation’s public schools, a new federal study shows that black and white students at schools with a high density of black students perform worse than those at schools with a lower density of black students.

The report, released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, sheds new light on the achievement gap between white and black students and bolsters policymakers’ fears about the ramifications of increasingly segregated schools….http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/09/24/study-finds-students-underperform-in-schools-with-large-black-populations

Perceptions about race are often rooted in perceptions about class with many viewing Blacks no matter their economic status as lower class.

Science Daily reported in In race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white:

Recent race-related events in Ferguson, Mo., St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, Charleston, S.C., and New York City — all point to the continuing need to study and understand race relations in modern America. These events show how race and stereotypes are intertwined and can lead to explosive situations and protests.

Now, three Arizona State University researchers have approached this problem by asking, why do white Americans’ stereotypes of black Americans take the particular forms they do? The answer, surprisingly, may have little to do with race, per se. Instead, many predominant race stereotypes reflect beliefs about how people from different environments, or ‘ecologies,’ are likely to think and behave.

In “Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes,” published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ASU doctoral students Keelah Williams and Oliver Sng, together with Steven Neuberg, an ASU Foundation Professor of Psychology, conducted a series of five studies examining the stereotypes people hold about individuals who live in resource-poor and unpredictable (‘desperate’) environments as compared to those who live in resource-sufficient and predictable (‘hopeful’) environments.

Research shows that desperate and hopeful environments tend to shape the behavior of those living within them by altering the costs and benefits of different behavioral strategies. Desperate ecologies tend to reward ‘faster,’ present-focused behaviors whereas hopeful ecologies tend to reward ‘slower,’ future-oriented behaviors.

Because ecology shapes behavior, the authors argue, social perceivers are likely to use cues to another’s ecology, or environment they come from, to make predictions about how that person is likely to think and behave. Indeed, research participants stereotyped those from desperate environments as relatively faster — as more impulsive, sexually promiscuous, likely to engage in opportunistic behavior and as less invested in their education and children, than individuals from hopeful ecologies….

“In America, race and ecology are somewhat confounded — whites are more likely to live in relatively hopeful ecologies, and blacks are more likely to live in relatively desperate ecologies,” said Williams. “We wanted to examine whether Americans were actually using race as a cue to ecology, and if so, whether providing ecology information independently from race information would lead people to decrease their use of race stereotypes.”

To assess the relationship between ecology and race stereotypes, the researchers first examined participants’ stereotypes of individuals from desperate and hopeful ecologies (with no race information provided) and compared these responses to participants’ stereotypes of blacks and whites (with no ecology information provided). The patterns were identical — stereotypes of blacks mirrored stereotypes of individuals from desperate environments, and stereotypes of whites mirrored stereotypes of individuals from hopeful environments….                                                 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151229204648.htm

Citation:

In race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white

Date:           December 29, 2015

Source:         Arizona State University

Summary:

Recent race-related events in Ferguson, Mo., St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, Charleston, S.C., and New York City — all point to the continuing need to study and understand race relations in modern America. These events show how race and stereotypes are intertwined and can lead to explosive situations and protests. Now, three researchers have approached this problem by asking, why do white Americans’ stereotypes of black Americans take the particular forms they do?

Journal Reference:

  1. Keelah E. G. Williams, Oliver Sng, Steven L. Neuberg. Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201519401 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1519401113

Here is the press release from Arizona State University:

Researchers find that in race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white

Department of Psychology College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

December 28, 2015

Recent race-related events — in Ferguson, Missouri; St. Louis; Baltimore; Chicago; Charleston, South Carolina; and New York City — all point to the continuing need to study and understand race relations in modern America. These events show how race and stereotypes are intertwined and can lead to explosive situations and protests.

Now, three Arizona State University researchers have approached this problem by asking, why do white Americans’ stereotypes of black Americans take the particular forms they do? The answer, surprisingly, may have little to do with race, per se. Instead, many predominant race stereotypes reflect beliefs about how people from different environments, or “ecologies,” are likely to think and behave.

In “Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes,” published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ASU doctoral students Keelah Williams and Oliver Sng, together with Steven Neuberg, an ASU Foundation Professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, conducted a series of five studies examining the stereotypes people hold about individuals who live in resource-poor and unpredictable (“desperate”) environments as compared with those who live in resource-sufficient and predictable (“hopeful”) environments.

Research shows that desperate and hopeful environments tend to shape the behavior of those living within them by altering the costs and benefits of different behavioral strategies. Desperate ecologies tend to reward “faster,” present-focused behaviors whereas hopeful ecologies tend to reward “slower,” future-oriented behaviors.

Because ecology shapes behavior, the authors argue, social perceivers are likely to use cues to another’s ecology, or environment they come from, to make predictions about how that person is likely to think and behave. Indeed, research participants stereotyped those from desperate environments as relatively faster — as more impulsive, sexually promiscuous, likely to engage in opportunistic behavior and as less invested in their education and children, than individuals from hopeful ecologies.

But why are these ecology-driven stereotypes relevant for understanding the content of race stereotypes?

“In America, race and ecology are somewhat confounded — whites are more likely to live in relatively hopeful ecologies, and blacks are more likely to live in relatively desperate ecologies,” said Williams. “We wanted to examine whether Americans were actually using race as a cue to ecology, and if so, whether providing ecology information independently from race information would lead people to decrease their use of race stereotypes.”

To assess the relationship between ecology and race stereotypes, the researchers first examined participants’ stereotypes of individuals from desperate and hopeful ecologies (with no race information provided) and compared these responses to participants’ stereotypes of blacks and whites (with no ecology information provided). The patterns were identical — stereotypes of blacks mirrored stereotypes of individuals from desperate environments, and stereotypes of whites mirrored stereotypes of individuals from hopeful environments.

“However, when provided with information about both the race and ecology of others, individuals’ inferences about others reflect their ecology rather than their race,” Williams said. Black and white targets from desperate ecologies were stereotyped similarly, and black and white targets from hopeful ecologies were stereotyped similarly.

“In thinking about black and white individuals from hopeful and desperate ecologies, information about the individuals’ home ecology trumped information about their race,” Williams said.

The researchers stress that these findings shouldn’t be taken to imply that race is unimportant, or that stereotypes about people from desperate ecologies are the only source of racial prejudices. Moreover, the researchers note several important caveats for interpreting their findings.

First, said Neuberg, “although in present-day America blacks are more likely than whites to be from desperate ecologies, and whites are more likely than blacks to be from hopeful ecologies, this association between race and ecology is far from perfect, meaning that race is an imperfect cue to ecology. Second, even stereotypes that do possess meaningful kernels of truth are rarely perfect representations of any particular individual. Third, because people are biased to exaggerate perceived threats, stereotypes of those from desperate ecologies are likely to be more extreme than is warranted by the actual behaviors of people living within those ecologies.”

Findings of this study have potentially important implications for understanding the content of race stereotypes in America.

“Race stereotypes have far-reaching consequences,” said Williams. “Stereotypes about groups can lead to negative prejudices and discrimination directed towards members of those groups. If we can understand why American race stereotypes take the particular forms they do, we may be able to find new ways of reducing racial prejudices and discrimination.”

The research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Arizona State University Foundation for a New American University.

Discoveries Department of Psychology College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Psychology Research Social Science

Skip Derra

Associate Director , Media Relations & Strategic Communications

480-965-4823 skip.derra@asu.edu

The best way to eliminate poverty is job creation, job growth, and job retention. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between Education and Poverty http://www.adb.org/documents/assessing-development-impact-breaking-cycle-poverty-through-education  For a good article about education and poverty which has a good bibliography, go to Poverty and Education, Overview http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2330/Poverty-Education.html  There will not be a good quality of life for most citizens without a strong education system and an economic system which produces jobs. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education and job opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education and job creation, we are the next third world country.

Related:

Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/11/micheal-pettrillis-decision-an-ed-reformer-confronts-race-and-class-when-choosing-a-school-for-his-kids/

The role economic class plays in college success

http://drwilda.com/2012/12/22/the-role-economic-class-plays-in-college-success/

The ‘school-to-prison pipeline

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/27/the-school-to-prison-pipeline/

Trying not to raise a bumper crop of morons: Hong Kong’s ‘tutor kings and queens’
http://drwilda.com/2012/11/26/trying-not-to-raise-a-bumper-crop-of-morons-hong-kongs-tutor-kings-and-queens/

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Is there something really wrong with a society with depressed preschoolers????

1 Jul

 

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi read this article from Science Daily, Brain Differences Seen in Depressed Preschoolers:

 

 

 

A key brain structure that regulates emotions works differently in preschoolers with depression compared with their healthy peers, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

 

The differences, measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), provide the earliest evidence yet of changes in brain function in young children with depression. The researchers say the findings could lead to ways to identify and treat depressed children earlier in the course of the illness, potentially preventing problems later in life. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701172022.htm

 

Really. We have depressed preschoolers? Should one have experienced more about life before developing a negative opinion of it?

 

The National Institute of Mental Health in the Depression in Children and Adolescents (Fact Sheet) estimates about “About 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18.”

 

About 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18 according to the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Girls are more likely than boys to experience depression. The risk for depression increases as a child gets older. According to the World Health Organization, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability among Americans age 15 to 44.

 

Because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child who shows changes in behavior is just going through a temporary “phase” or is suffering from depression.

 

PDF

 

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-children-and-adolescents/index.shtml

 

Statistics for the numbers of preschoolers who exhibit depression are hard to come by, but researchers are beginning to study the issue.

 

Pamela Paul reports in the New York Times article, Can Preschoolers Be Depressed?

 

But generally speaking, preschool depression, unlike autism, O.D.D. and A.D.H.D., which have clear symptoms, is not a disorder that is readily apparent to the casual observer or even to the concerned parent. Depressed preschoolers are usually not morbidly, vegetatively depressed. Though they are frequently viewed as not doing particularly well socially or emotionally, teachers rarely grasp the depth of the problem. Sometimes the kids zone out in circle time, and it’s mistaken for A.D.H.D., “because they’re just staring,” explains Melissa Nishawala, the child psychiatrist at N.Y.U. “But inside, they’re worrying or thinking negative thoughts.” More often, they are simply overlooked. “These are often the good kids who tend to be timid and withdrawn,” says Sylvana Côté, a researcher at the University of Montreal who studies childhood mood and behavioral disorders. “It’s because they’re not the oppositional, aggressive children who disrupt everyone in class that their problems go undernoticed.”

 

Many researchers, particularly those with medical training, are eager to identify some kind of a “biologic marker” to make diagnosis scientifically conclusive. Recent studies have looked at the activity of cortisol, a hormone the body produces in response to stress. In preschoolers who have had a diagnosis of depression, as in depressed adults, cortisol levels escalate under stressful circumstances and then fail to recover with the same buoyancy as in typical children.

 

But in adults, cortisol reactivity can be an indication of anxiety. Other research has found that in young children, anxiety and depression are likewise intertwined. At Duke, Egger found that children who were depressed as preschoolers were more than four times as likely to have an anxiety disorder at school age. “Are these two distinct but strongly related syndromes?” asks Daniel Pine of the N.I.M.H. “Are they just slightly different-appearing clinical manifestations of the same underlying problem? Do the relationships vary at different ages? There are no definitive answers.”

 

Further complicating the picture is the extent to which depressed children have other ailments. In Egger’s epidemiological sample, three-fourths of depressed children had some additional disorder. In Luby’s study, about 40 percent also had A.D.H.D. or O.D.D., disruptive problems that tend to drown out signs of depression. Though it looks as if only the children with depression experience anhedonia, other symptoms like irritability and sadness are shared across several disorders. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29preschool-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

There is no one single cause of depression.

 

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says this about the causes of depression:

 

 

Depression has no single cause. Both genetics and the environment play a role, and some children may be more likely to become depressed. Depression in children can be triggered by a medical illness, a stressful situation, or the loss of an important person. Children with behavior problems or anxiety also are more likely to get depressed. Sometimes, it can be hard to identify any triggering event. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/Depression_Resource_Center/FAQ.aspx

 

 

Moi would theorize that these preschoolers are picking up stressors form unhealthy family situations and an unhealthy society.

 

 

Everyone would probably have some thoughts about what makes a good society or a healthy society. Here are some thoughts from Professor Patrick W. Jordan about THE GOOD SOCIETY FRAMEWORK:

 

 

Relationships – the quality of people’s social, family and interpersonal relationships; the extent to which society is coherent and harmonious.

Economy – people’s degree of economic prosperity and spending power;the extent to which jobs are rewarding and offer potential for growth and development.

Environment and Infrastructure the pleasantness and sustainability of the natural environment; the degree to which the built environment is pleasant and functions well and extent to which the infrastructure is effective and efficient.

Health whether people have access to good healthcare and healthy food; whether work, home and public environments are generally safe.

Peace and Security whether crime is low and people feel safe in their homes and public areas; whether or not society is affected by war or terrorism.

Culture and Leisure whether there is a rich and rewarding culture, both high’ and popular’; whether there are opportunities to participate in rewarding leisure activities.

Spirituality, Religion and Philosophy whether there is access to religious and spiritual teachings and the opportunity to practice one’s religion of choice; whether there is access to philosophical teachings and ideas about how to live.

Education whether there is education that enables people to function effectively in society; whether the education is intellectually enriching.

Governance whether there is democracy, fairness and freedom of expression; whether justice is transparent and consistent, and whether society is governed with compassion and equality.                                                                            http://www.une.edu.au/faculties/professions/Resources/goodsocietyframework.pdf

 

Given Professor Jordan’s framework for a healthy society, one might ask how the U.S. is doing? Like the canaries in the mineshaft who die when overcome by poisonous gases, maybe the depressed preschoolers are telling us.

 

 

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