Question 1: Environmental Effects on Language Development
a) What is the “word gap” and why does it matter?
The word gap is the difference between the number of words that toddlers from low, middle and upper-class background hear from their caregivers, especially their parents. The interview said that toddlers from lower class families hear as little as 30 million words before they reach age three. The word gap matters because for example it can affect children’s performance on vocabulary tests and their level of language development for many years to come.
b) Why does SES (socioeconomic status) influence children’s’ language environment?
Socioeconomic status influences children’s language environment because of differences in parenting styles and the learning done at home. The cause of the differences is that low-income parents do not know about the impact they have on their children’s vocabulary and cognitive development, which affects their language development. The interview also talked about, how low-income parents are less likely to interact with and to teach their children, due the many reasons, including the pressure of making ends meet.
c) Explain why the word gap is not simply about vocabulary.
The word gap is not simply about vocabulary, because it can lead to lower levels of comprehension and learning in school and other areas, right from the point when children begin their education. The word gap affects comprehension levels in every area. The word gap come from limited interactions between parents/caregivers and toddlers which affects their language skills and how their brain develops.
d) The most common medical issue that US healthcare providers treat in the infant/child population are ear infections – often somewhat aggressively (i.e., with repeated surgical insertion of Eustachian tubes to drain fluid and/or antibiotics). Why do ear infections present such a threat to infant and child development?
Ear infections present a major challenge to child development because it can affect their hearing which can affect their ability to learn new vocabulary, and language. This can affect their ability to process information even in years to come.
Question 2: Moral Reasoning & Cognitive Development
a) What do the authors mean by “identification with all humanity”?
Identification with all humanity means developing a deep sense of caring for all people, simply because they are humans regardless of differences such as nationality, race, and religion, etc.
b) Why did the historical emergence of the construct of “one humanity” only emerge recently?
The construct of one humanity only emerged recently because the differences and uniqueness of people, for example, skin color, body structure, and religious view were viewed as indications of differences in value, and superiority or inferiority. As a result, these differences were used to unfairly justify the differential treatment of different groups.
c) Speculate as to whether the current US political climate might either undermine or enhance the development of an identification with all humanity.
The current U.S. political climate will undermine the development of the identification with all humanity content. The current political climate has become very fearful of those who are different and unfortunately it does not view all groups, especially race, ethnicity, nationality, or religious groups as equals and equally important.
Next, consider the expression on the t-shirt below, and relate it to concrete operational thinking. Explain why concrete thinkers may be less likely to develop an identification with all humanity, and conversely why formal thinkers might be more likely to
Concrete thinkers are logical and systematic thinkers, they are rule oriented and they do not think abstractly. Concrete thinkers are less likely to identify with the concept of all humanity because they tend not to see or understand big picture ideas. They might think of equal rights might actually be like a pie. Formal thinkers can think abstractly and are able to understand some big picture concepts. Formal thinkers are more likely to identify with the concept of identification with all humanity because they understand that if all people have equal rights then, ALL people have EQUAL rights.
Question 3: Adult Intimate Relationships
a) In the introduction, the authors explain that healthy relationships have a “relational focus.” What do they mean by this?
The relational focus is the consideration of the other partner, which requires the two people to avoid competing to win, shift blame, and being the only one heard all the time. Relational focus allows the people to accommodate the wishes, needs, and views of others and negotiate and reach a compromise, which will help build a healthy relationship.
b) What did the researchers hypothesize about pronoun use (me vs. you vs. we) and relationship satisfaction?
Using the pronouns “me” makes the other person in the relationship feel left out. When using the pronoun “you,” especially when pointing out errors, the other feels victimized and unappreciated. However, when one uses the word “we,” even if they were right, the other feels accepted and accommodated, which cultivates relationship satisfaction.
c) Why did the researchers think pronoun use should matter?
The researchers think that the use of pronouns matters because they make a difference when referring to the other person, oneself, or indicating shared responsibility. For example, when there is a problem, asking what “we” can do about this problem, is different than saying what can “you” do about this problem. The “you” creates the impression that neither one is supporting the other. In a relationship, the change of the words can either trigger peace and satisfaction or start a conflict.
d) Read the discussion and explain what the researchers concluded regarding you-statements and relationship satisfaction.
The researchers said that you-statements often strain or lower relationship satisfaction because they often sound like accusations or labeling the other. As a result, the person referred to with you-statements feels unappreciated, and their levels of relationship satisfaction decreases.
Question 4: Becoming a Parent in Early Adulthood
a) What is the overall relationship between child-rearing and life satisfaction?
The overall relationship between child rearing and life satisfaction is generally negative because of the unexpected work that parents face, and because parents may feel isolated due to the duty of parenting, especially when the children are zero to five years old. For example, not being about to go out as often.
b) How do psychological researchers like Dan Gilbert and TEDtalkers Griscom & Volkman translate or explain this somewhat worrisome relationship?
The explanation for this relationship is simply put that parents have unrealistic expectations about parenting, which makes them feel like they have failed. For example, the sometimes uncontrollable moods and behaviors their children can make parents feel as though they are not in control.
c) According to Gilbert, why are parents likely to report raising children as one of
Life’s greatest rewards when in fact it significantly detracts from life satisfaction?
Despite the challenges of parenting, it has many upsides and can cause a lot of satisfaction and joy for parents. Parenting offers a sense of achievement that is significant and memorable in the long-run. Parents develop deep emotional attachments with their children which are powerful, meaning, and rewarding.
d) In what major way did parenting change in the last generation?
The major change in parenting over the last generation was that children stopped working. Parents are also uncertain about what to prepare their children for, and most try to control the emotional outcomes of their children, which is an elusive and usually unattainable goal.
e) Why has this change undermined the joy of parenting?
This change has undermined the joy of parenting because children have become major economic burdens. Parents have taken on the responsibility of making a future for their children, instead of children working for it themselves. As a result, they spend less time with them due to work and school. Parents have also taken on the burden of trying to ensure their children’s overall life happiness satisfaction which is a great idea or wish but hard to sometimes attain.
Question 5: Wisdom
a) How do the authors define “cognitive mechanics” and why do these decline in old age?
The authors define cognitive mechanics as the mental functions influenced by the evolution of the human mind, for example, attention levels, sensory input, categorization, and comparison. According to the authors, cognitive mechanics decline due to the decrease in processing capacity of the human brain.
b) How do the authors define “cognitive pragmatics” and why do these increase in old age?
Cognitive pragmatics refers to the mental capacities, structures, and processes responsible for the use of language and interpreting meaning in communication. These abilities increase in old age because the older the person is the more they will have accumulated content, experiences, and culture-dependent information, which are used to make meaning out of things.
c) How is “wisdom” related to the “cognitive pragmatics”?
Wisdom is related to cognitive pragmatics because of the experiences and culture-dependent information that has accumulated over the years of someones life, and this is used during the process of interpreting and creating meaning out of things.
d) The authors argue that aging does not guarantee wisdom. What circumstances must be present in order for individuals to acquire wisdom as they age?
The circumstances that need to be present for older people to acquire wisdom as they age include having non-compromised mental functions including cognitive mechanics, which can be lost due to mental health illness. Other circumstances required include specific expertise, for example, being a skilled worker or trades person. Other factors include education and having knowledge in various areas, which is cultivated as wisdom.