All posts tagged: Children

Regrets and how children to make better decisions

Regret gets a bad press. It is a painful emotion experienced upon realising that a different decision would have led to a better outcome. And it is something that we strive to avoid. In sharp contrast, our recent research on children’s decision making emphasises that the ability to experience regret is a developmental achievement associated with learning to make better choices. The results of this research suggest a different, more functional relationship between regret and decision making. How does one go about studying regret in children, given that they may not have the term “regret” in their vocabularies? Developmental psychologists ask children to make simple choices between two options. Outcomes are engineered so that once they have received a small prize associated with their choice, they see that they could have obtained a better prize had they chosen the other option. Using this task, the ability to experience regret can be tested for by asking children to express how they feel about the outcome of their decision on a child-friendly rating scale before and then …

Why people nearing the end of life need the same protection we offer children

Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man (from As You Like It) famously and effectively portrays humans in deep old age as returning to infancy. But in many societies, the approach to end of life care requires us to continue as active and responsible citizens for as long as our mental capacities allow – to make choices about what kind of care we want, and where. In anticipation of losing capacity, people are urged to act responsibly and make preferences known in advance while they are still able. This approach to policy has not of course prevented a series of elder care scandals in hospitals and care homes in Britain. That is because these scandals were not about lack of choice, but about neglect and abandonment: patients not turned over in bed, food being left out of reach, residents not helped to the bathroom. Those with complex interacting conditions (typical of those without …

Clean eating can damage children’s health

Clean eating seems ideal for parents who want to establish their children’s healthy habits early on. It’s no surprise really: “clean eating” is the perfect buzz term for parents who are faced with supermarket shelves full of baby and toddler food which is high in sugar content and low in nutritional value. But while some clean eating plans are focused on a balanced diet – with less processed and more whole foods – others are extreme. Some advise cutting out things such as gluten, or whole food groups, such as grains and dairy – all the while advising us to consume so-called “super-foods” to maximise health and well-being. There’s a reason why it’s called a “balanced” diet, and subscribing to any extreme nutritional plan can adversely affect child health on multiple levels. Excluding major food groups from our diet at any age can lead not only to inadequate calorie intake, but potentially malnutrition, and deficiencies in minerals and vitamins. Food groups Gluten – a protein found in cereals like wheat, rye and barely – appears …

skeptic society The English Character

The English Character

This is a small essay wrote somewhere in early 2011, but still relevant today, it’s reflection on Geoffrey Gorer and Mr Frank Field’s work. IN THE early 1950s a sociologist called Geoffrey Gorer set out to solve the mystery of England’s “charactter”. To be precise, how had the English gone from being a thoroughly lawless bunch—famed for truculence and cruelty—to one of the most orderly societies in history? Just over a century before, he noted, the police entered some bits of Westminster only in squads of six or more “for fear of being cut to pieces”. Popular pastimes included public floggings, dog-fighting and hunting bullocks to death through east London streets. As late as 1914, well-dressed adults risked jeering mockery from ill-clad “rude boys”, and well-dressed children risked assault. Yet by 1951, when Gorer surveyed more than 10,000 men and women, he could describe an England famous worldwide for disciplined queuing, where “you hardly ever see a fight in a bar” and “football crowds are as orderly as church meetings”. In a book, “Exploring English …