Categories
Science

Parenting Styles, Childhood Playing Style Preferences, and Adulthood Trauma

Although Baumrind’s classification of  parenting styles has been criticized as ethnocentric and not reflecting of broader cultural values,(authoritarian practices are not associated with negative outcomes in certain contexts/populations) I’m curious to know, within a specific cultural context wherein Baumrind’s classifications could hold true, if parenting styles affect a child’s tendency to gravitate towards certain playing styles. 

Play and peer interaction play an important role in childrens’ social and emotional development.

The four types of play are:

Solitary independent play- kids actively playing by themselves.

Parallel play- a type of play in which children are playing next to one another, but not interacting.

Associative play- play that involves interaction with peers and sharing, but has no overall structure or goal.

And finally, cooperative play, which is play in which there is interaction, as well as a shared goal amongst the children.

For example, I would imagine psychological control and power assertion methods (authoritative for all intents and purposes) of parenting strategies would implant a sense of mistrust for others in the child. This may lead to the child becoming “difficult” and non-cooperative in classroom settings like in pre-school, where the children are meant to interact in the different types of play dynamics. 

I’d hypothesize that solitary and parallel play would be the highest likelihood naturally occurring playing styles for children with authoritative parents who utilize harmful psychological and power control means to discipline and raise their child. A child who doesn’t trust their caregiver surely won’t trust other people (I say people because as children, we always felt we were grown enough to do whatever we wanted, and viewed ourselves as equally as mature as our elders). I think with that in mind, children may not make the association that other children may behave towards them in a similar fashion as their parents, because the dynamic is established where we always feel as though we’re “mature” enough, making adult and child behavior (other people’s behaviors) indistinguishable. Likewise, the associated psychological effects of exposure to these parenting styles may lead the child to feel anxiety towards others because they think the behaviors of others will invoke the same negative feelings and cognitive stress as dealing with their parents invokes. This would hypothetically only hold true if the child is unable to distinguish between adult and peer behavior and perceptions. If that’s not the case, then perhaps under other circumstances, children with authoritative parents may be comfortable engaging in associative or even cooperative play with their peers, and even find solace in the social interaction as a means of establishing healthy relationships.

I’m curious to know how much deeper parenting styles affect the psychological development (social and cognitive) of children, even throughout their lives. It’s apparent that certain parenting styles would lead to attachment issues and traumatic perception of experiences (people are diagnosed with PTSD all the time for childhood trauma associated with caregiver abuse). Perhaps further study into these early associations between children’s preferred style of play and caregiver parenting styles can shed some light on how to deal with adulthood trauma, attachment issues, self-esteem and confidence issues, and anxiety issues. 

Categories
Economics Science

On Social Epidemiology, Healthcare Disparities, and Privitized Medicine

Social epidemiology is the study of causes and distribution of disease. Social epidemiology can show how social problems are connected to the health of different populations. These studies show that health problems of high-income nations differ greatly compared to those of low-income nations. Some diseases are universal, but others, like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, are much more common in high-income countries and are a direct result of a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.

Some theorists differentiate among three types of countries: core nations, semi-peripheral nations, and peripheral nations. Core nations are those that we think of as highly industrialized, semi-peripheral nations are those that are often called developing nations, and peripheral nations are those that are relatively underdeveloped.  While the biggest issue in the U.S. healthcare system is affordable access to healthcare services, other core countries have different issues, and semi-peripheral and peripheral nations face a host of additional concerns.

Health disparities based on gender include how women are affected adversely both by unequal access to, and institutionalized sexism in, the healthcare industry. Women experienced a decline in their ability to see needed specialists between 2001 and 2008, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Feminist sociologist Patricia Hill Collins developed intersection theory, which suggests that we cannot separate the effects of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other attributes. Further information derived from the Kaiser study found that women categorized as low income were more likely to express concerns about healthcare quality.

Many critics point to the medicalization (the process by which previously normal aspects of life are redefined as deviant and needing medical attention to remedy) of women’s issues as an example of institutionalized sexism. Historically and contemporarily, many aspects of women’s lives have been medicalized, including menstruation, PMS, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.

The concepts of socioeconomic status and health overlap in discussions of health with race and ethnicity, since the two are intertwined in the United States. Marilyn Winkleby and her research associates stated that “one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of a person’s morbidity (the incidence of disease) and mortality experience is that person’s socioeconomic status.” This finding persists across all diseases with few exceptions, continues throughout their lifespan, and extends across numerous risk factors of disease.

Research suggests that education also plays an important role in the socioeconomic status picture, not just economics. Some experts note that many behavior-influenced diseases like lung cancer, coronary artery disease, and AIDS initially were widespread across socioeconomic groups, however, once information linking habits to diseases was disseminated, these diseases decreased in high socioeconomic groups and increased in low socioeconomic groups, This shows the importance of education initiatives regarding disease, as well as possible inequalities in how these initiatives effectively reach different socioeconomic groups.

When looking at the social epidemiology of the United States, it’s hard to miss the disparities among races and ethnicities. In 2008, the average life expectancy for white males was approximately five years longer than for black males. An even stronger disparity was found in 2007: in infant mortality, which is the number of deaths in a given time or place, the rate for black people was nearly twice that of white people. Black Americans also have a higher incidence of several other diseases and causes of mortality.

Scoial Epidemiology of Mental Health

The treatment received by those defined as mentally ill or disabled varies greatly from country to country. People with mental disorders (a condition that makes it more difficult to cope with everyday life) and people with mental illness (a severe, lasting mental disorder that requires long-term treatment) experience a wide range of effects. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, the most common mental disorders in the United States are anxiety disorders. The second most common mental disorders are mood disorders; major mood disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymic disorder. Another fairly commonly diagnosed mental disorder is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which statistics suggest affects 9 percent of children and 8 percent of adults on a lifetime basis.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have gained a lot of attention in recent years. The term ASD encompasses a group of developmental brain disorders that are characterized by “deficits in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and engagement in repetitive behaviors or interests.” The National Institute of Mental Health distinguishes between serious mental illness and other disorders. The key feature of serious mental illness is that it results in “serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Thus, the characterization of “serious” refers to the effect of the illness (functional impairment), not the illness itself.

Disability refers to a reduction in one’s ability to perform everyday tasks. The World Health Organization makes a distinction between the various terms used to describe handicaps that’s important to the sociological perspective. They use the term impairment to describe the physical limitations, while reserving the term disability to refer to the social limitation. Before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, people in the United States with disabilities were often excluded from opportunities and social institutions many of us take for granted. This occurred through employment and other kinds of discrimination but also through casual acceptance by most people in a world designed for the convenience of the able-bodied. Ramps on sidewalks, Braille instructions, and more accessible door levers are all accommodations to help people with disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a disability had a higher rate of unemployment than people without a disability in 2010.

Healthcare Systems and Access to Care

U.S. healthcare coverage can broadly be divided into two main categories: public healthcare (government-funded) and private healthcare (privately funded). The two main publicly funded healthcare programs are Medicare, which provides health services to people over sixty-five years old as well as people who meet other standards for disability, and Medicaid, which provides services to people with very low incomes who meet other eligibility requirements. The United States already has a significant problem with lack of healthcare coverage for many individuals. The U.S. Census Current Population Survey of 2013 showed that 18 percent of people in the United States had no health insurance at all. Skyrocketing healthcare costs are part of the issue. Many people cannot afford private health insurance, but their income level is not low enough to meet eligibility standards for government supported insurance. Furthermore, even for those who are eligible for Medicaid, the program is less than perfect. Many physicians refuse to accept Medicaid patients, citing low payments and extensive paperwork.

Many people in the United States are fond of saying that this country has the best healthcare in the world, and while it is true that the United States has a higher quality of care available than many peripheral or semi-peripheral nations, it is not necessarily the “best in the world.” Most peripheral or semi-peripheral and majority of developed countries rely on socialized medicine. Under a socialized medicine system, the government owns and runs the system. It employs the doctors, nurses, and other staff, and it owns and runs the hospitals. Germany, Singapore, and Canada all have universal healthcare. Universal healthcare is simply a system that guarantees healthcare coverage for everybody, as opposed to socialized medicine. People often look to Canada’s universal healthcare system, Medicare, as a model for the system. In Canada, healthcare is publicly funded and is administered by the separate provincial and territorial governments. However, the care itself comes from private providers. This is the main difference between universal healthcare and socialized medicine. Perhaps with recent progressive advances in establishing a Medicare For All program in the United States would aid in minimizing disparities in our healthcare systems. As of now, our current system has failed us, as many Americans lose their lives every year to preventable illness or disease simply due to lack of access to healthcare resources.

Categories
Science

On the Basics of the Psychology of Learning

The brain is infinitely complicated, and one of the most fascinating abilities it holds is the ability to adapt and learn. From the tiniest of animals to humans, we all share an innate ability to adapt through different types of learning. All learned behavior could be categorized as classical, operant, insight, latent, or observational, according to the psychologists who studied these behaviors.

Classical conditioning is learning by associating an environmental stimulus with a natural stimulus. An example of classical conditioning I’ve experienced would be when somebody sees a police officer when they’re in a car. Normally, you wouldn’t mind seeing a police officer, but when you’re in the car and driving and see a cop car parked on the side of the road looking to hand out tickets like free candy, your body develops a fear or panic response. If you weren’t in the car and instead just walking, or saw the officer anywhere else, you wouldn’t be worried. This classical learning involves involuntary behavior such as panic.

Operant learning is conditioning involving voluntary behaviors that are strengthened or weakened by consequences. An example of this would be when you’re speeding on the highway and pass another police officer. Since you’ve gotten so many tickets, the automatic response is to slam on the brakes to avoid getting another. Since then, you’ll have invested in a radar detector, so now when the radar goes off you know by learned consequences that you have to slow down or else you’ll receive a ticket. This is categorized as operant conditioning because you had to learn by consequence to change your behavior (ex. Getting the radar and slowing down when it beeps).

Insight learning is a spontaneous understanding of how to solve a problem, etc. An example of insight learning in my life would be during a difficult anatomy test (on the nervous system!). After forgetting the functions of certain spinal pathways, I had to sit and stare at the multiple choice answer choices for a few minutes until spontaneously I remembered my professor mentioning that some physical sense was tied to a certain pathway, and I knew the answer. Another example would be when I got stuck in the snow with my car; my car’s feeble rear-wheel drive set up was incapable of overcoming the smallest of snow mounds, and I was going to be late for class. After thinking about it, I decided that the power was being cut from the wheels and it was preventing motion. I turned off traction control and viola, I was on my way to school.

Latent learning is hidden learned behavior without showing signs of the knowledge. An example of latent learning in my life would be learning the roads in my neighborhood. After being driven around my neighborhood in a bus all of high school, I sort of picked up the roads and how to get to and from my house. Once I got my first car, I suddenly had a reason to want to know the roads, and I found it very easy to navigate my way around town even though I hardly paid any attention to the geography prior to getting my car.

Observational learning is learning through observing others. An example of observational learning in my life would be my father (a huge car guy, like father like son) driving me around with my mother. When my father would drive aggressively and fast, my mom would always yell at him and get upset. Once I grew up, even though my mother yelled at my father for it (and now, myself) I still drive fast because it’s something I experienced and observed when growing up.

Oftentimes these different learning behaviors are studied using infants or toddlers or rats, which leaves us to wonder if learned behaviors in adult humans with more complicated brains would fall under these clear cut descriptions of how we learn in different ways. Perhaps there are other underlying methods by which we develop new behaviors that we aren’t capable of studying yet.

Source:

Huffman, K. (1991). Learning. In Psychology in action (10nd ed., pp. 205-220). New York:
Wiley.

Categories
Science

On the Neurobiology of Wisdom

Wisdom is conventionally talked about as an abstract characteristic, however, “Is There a Seat of Wisdom in the Brain?” introduces evidence that suggests wisdom may have neurobiological roots. Researchers at the University of California San Diego broke down wisdom into the traits that commonly define it across different cultures such as “empathy, compassion or altruism, emotional stability, self-understanding, and pro-social attitudes, including a tolerance for others’ values.” After breaking it down into these less abstract abilities, the researchers performed a series of studies to monitor blood flow to the brain while performing different tasks related to the aforementioned abilities. Remarkably, they found that the parts of the brain related to the attributes of wisdom use multiple parts of the brain each, encompassing the entire brain. 

I believe the research was credible, involving physical evidence (the monitored blood flow to different regions of the brain). This research is important because it could not only lead to developing strategies to increase a person in their wisdom, but it could also shed some light on the effect of various neurological diseases on a person’s wisdom (the various attributes that commonly define it). In the words of the researchers, “Knowledge of the underlying mechanisms in the brain could potentially lead to developing interventions for enhancing wisdom.” Perhaps in a future society, our understanding of the neurobiological roots of the attributes that make up wisdom will lead us to be more critical thinking, empathetic, altruistic, and emotionally stable.

Works Cited

University of California – San Diego. (2009, April 7). Is There A Seat Of Wisdom In The Brain?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2020, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406192244.htm