Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | March 30, 2012

Friday Five – March 30, 2012

It seems somewhat odd to actually be posting on a Friday. Things have been a bit off the past few weeks. But now, things are starting to get back to normal. (Or as normal as they can be on a college campus heading into the final quarter of the semester and registration for fall classes.)

This week’s links cover a range of topics selected based on my own interests and also things covered in different classes in the last week or so. I hope you find something of interest in this selection.

Psychology Today: Redirect (Timothy D. Wilson, PhD.) – March 26, 2012

Hey PSY102 students, remember how I mentioned in class on Wednesday that fear appeals often ineffective at changing behavior? In this post in his Redirect column, Timothy Wilson talks about the ineffectiveness of Scared Straight programs in changing the behavior of troubled teens. In fact, much of the evidence suggests that these programs actually increase criminal activity of the teens sent to the programs.

Psychology Today: The Almost Effect (Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.) – March 27, 2012

Although this post by Joseph Nowinski in The Almost Effect was not written specifically with college students in mind, I think students could examine their (or their friends’) drinking behavior in terms of this post (and in light of the link from February 24th about sensible alcohol consumption among college students). The post discusses the grey area between normal social drinking and problematic alcohol use. Those in the middle, the almost alcoholic as Nowinski labels them, may overlook their own behaviors as problematic.

New York Times: Health (John O’Neil) – March 26, 2012

I was drawn to this article because a good friend of mine recently commented that he does not like being a passenger when another friend, who has ADHD, drives.  Although the article doesn’t specifically address the issues my friend has with our other friend’s driving, it does discuss how learning to drive can be particularly difficult for teens with ADHD.

PsyPost (University of California at Davis) – March 26, 2012

I brought up this link in my Social Psychology course this week. We were covering the topic of aggression, and I was explaining how different interventions have been designed to model non-aggressive behavior. This link discusses the Coaching Boys into Men program designed to educate male high school athletes to recognize and intervene to stop dating violence.

Psychology Today: Finding the Next Einstein (Jonathan Wai, Ph.D) – March 25, 2012

One of my favorite courses to teach is Statistics, both at the basic and more advanced undergraduate level. As a student, I loved statistics. And these facts make me “odd” in current American society. I see it in my own students when I teach, and as this post points out, it has become o.k. to be bad at math in our society. When exactly did this happen? I’m not sure, I’ve seen it in my students since I started teaching statistics some 12 years ago.

From a psychological standpoint, the key to getting the United States to succeed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines doesn’t simply rest on increasing students in these programs, it rests on changing our cultural attitude about math. How are students going to choose to enter the STEM disciplines if they are raised in a culture that says “Math is hard, but that’s o.k., we all suck at it, so it doesn’t really matter”?


  1. Coaching Boys into Men:
    I think this article has a lot of great factors to it. Some boys were not raised properly on how to treat women and I believe thats wrong. For these coaches to take time and teat the young men how to treat women is an awesome program. I truly think that as a coach you should take on this role because a lot of athletes do look up to their coaches for many different reasons. Its wonderful that the boys who have gone through this program are now more likely to treat women right, and stop the disrespect from other male peers. Bullying is a huge issue nowadays and most of the time the bullying is taken to the next level where someone gets hurt, or their feelings get hurt. Coaches on the East Coast should start to do this in middle school and follow it through high school.

    Why Is It Socially Acceptable To Be Bad At Math:
    This article caught my eye because I am a person who is not strong in her math skills. But when they raised the question “If it’s socially acceptable to be bad at math” I started to really think about it more. I do recall hearing many different people saying that are bad at math, so it kinda helped me come to terms with it. I hate that I’m not a strong math student but I know if I really want to be better at it there is plenty of help out there. When the author of the article states how he would not say he is bad at reading I couldn’t help but laugh. He is right if a person did admit to being bad at reading most people would think he is stupid. I also liked how the quote at the beginning of the article is from the first lady of the United States.

  2. One of the biggest issues with the perception of math is the nature of the math that we’re talking about. The vast majority of adults today were taught mathematics in a procedural, decontextualized manner as an end unto itself rather than as a tool we use to make sense of the world and situations in it. Only the kids who were able to do those first 30 ‘naked number’ problems well had the patience and tenacity to get to the application problems at the end of the section of the textbook. And that’s where the real meaning starts to get made.

    Procedures are important, but if they are always the first thing we learn before we think about why we might do them, people don’t see the point, get turned off, and it fosters poor attitudes towards math. In my work teaching future teachers, the elementary teacher candidates I work with can often point to that specific point in time when we started doing 1-31 odd, the same problem repeated with numbers changed and no meaning-making, as the moment they started to hate math. I suspect that’s why Dr. Stuart enjoys statistics so much better than the dreadful, procedurally-based Algebra I class we sat in many years ago. By their nature, statistical analyses make and have meaning.

    Changing the ways in which we teach math, situating the content in real-world applications and emphasizing thinking and reasoning over speed and process, would be a significant step in changing this perception in the United States.

  3. -Learning to drive with A.D.H.D: This article speaks about the dangers of driving both as a teen and a teen with A.D.H.D. According to studies done by Russel A. Barkley, young drivers with A.D.H.D are two to four more times likely to get in to an accident than their counterparts without the condition. That’s also just about as bad as an adult who is legally drunk. The conclusion is that in general, people with A.D.H.D. should drive unless absolutely necessary.

    – Why is it socially acceptable to be bad at math?: This article implies that the reason Americans have no shame in admitting to being bad at math is due to seeing people struggling with math on national television. The example used was the show “are you smarter than a fifth grader” where we find it funny when a contestant has to “peek” at the fifth graders answer for a basic geometry question. The author of the article, Jonathan Wai, says “When we don’t find it funny, maybe then it means as a society we’ve started to value the importance of being math literate”.

  4. “Why Is It Socially Acceptable To Be Bad At Math?” is a good article because when I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in my first college math course, everyone said that it was perfectly okay, even normal to do so. Looking around my calculus class now, I see people who say that the problems we are doing are hard and then go on to finish them very quickly and with a great deal of skill. Being bad at math has to me become a badge of honor for the people who aren’t good at it. I know for a fact that when I say that I like math people look at me like I’m insane. Being math literate is probably one of the best things anyone can do with their lives.

    “Coaching Boys into Men” is a great way to stop something that is becoming a serious problem in many relationships all across America. There has been a rise in domestic abuse awareness and I believe that abuse starts as early as high school relationships. Nipping bad habits in the bud is a great way to begin fighting the next generation or abusers.

  5. “Scared Crooked: Do Scared Straight Programs Work?” is an interesting article that brought up points that I definitely did not expect. Scared straight programs bring at-risk teens into prisons to show them where they will end up if they continue their bad behavior. I have watched the A & E show and it did appear to me that the program worked, however, after reading the article, it is apparent that the program only seems like it works because they only feature a few of the teens. Mostly the ones that they feature are those who end up getting their lives back in order. The article also brings up studies that have shown that scared straight programs actually increase the likelyhood of a teen causing more trouble. This leads me to believe that something should be done about these programs. TV series are leading people to believe that the program works and then possibly hurting their children more in the end.

    “Almost Alcoholic: Could Your Drinking be a Problem?” is another article that brings up important information. Many people are deffinitely found in the almost alcoholic category, however it is unlikely that they will see any problem with it because they are not considered alcoholics by others. Almost alcoholics do not believe that they are hurting themselves or others, when they possibly are causing health problems or neglecting loved ones because they are drinking. Another problem that comes along with people not being aware of the “almost alcoholic” category is that doctors may miss an important risk factor in an examination if the drinking is not brought up.

  6. Why Is It Socially Acceptable To Be Bad At Math?
    I found this article to be interesting, because I always joke about how horrible I am at math. Math has never been an easy subject for me. even simple math such as adding I’m horrible. Maybe it is socially acceptable to be bad at math since it’s so hard and so many different ways to do it, but with reading, the letters will always be the same.

    Coaching Boys into Men:
    This article makes a great point about boys looking up to their coaches. Many boys have their first coach at young ages, regardless of whether or not their is a father figure in their lives. A coach is always there, and can make a big impact on how boys view relationship with girls and how they respect them.

  7. Coaching Boys into Men:
    I think this article brings out a lot of interesting ideas. Its very interesting to see how a coach can impact these individuals for the better. Athletes especially due to the sport, act how they act on the field on a daily day basis. they are tough, fast, careless and emotionless. Always want to win. This attitude is great for a sport team but not to treat a lady or even peers, family and friends.If parents fail to teach their son some moral values, then its great a coach can do this. Its a great program that should be used all over the US to educate boys/ men of all ages and all levels before its too late. The boys who have gone through the program are now more likely to treat women with respect and to report or defend any women in danger. I think this is a way to stop bullying and be role models for other followers.

    Why Is It Socially Acceptable To Be Bad At Math?
    i really liked this article. I like math. Some type i love more than other, but in general i like it. But i was better at it when i was younger than i am now. i think it has something to do with the level of math we receive over time. At a young age we start with the basic of adding and subtracting. We are taught some rules that can not be broken, then a couple years later we learn that we was lied to and the rules get broken. It get more and more complex. Over time i forgot the basics because i was sooo used to doing complex problem, and plugging in numbers to the formula to get an answer.
    It becomes socially acceptable to be bad because you only need soo much to survive in the world, unless you have a job/ career that requires you to remain storing the complex problems in your brain. If i don’t need to know the algebra or calculus to own a house, feed yourself and work for a living then why remember?. I think in my opinion, you only store, and remember what you continuously practice.

  8. •Almost Alcoholic: Could Your Drinking Be A Problem?
    This article definetly brings up some good points that drinkers should be aware of. I feel that there are a lot of people that are “almost alcoholics” but they are in denial. Many of these havent had alcohol completley destroy their lives but it is slowly but surely harming them. The perfect example is the father who falls asleep on the coach after drinking a few beers.

    •“Coaching Boys into Men” an effective tool for stopping teen dating violence
    The Coaching Boys into Men program is a great thing. It really can make a difference by preventing boys from being abusive to girls they are dating. In general, coaches need to understand that they have a greater impact on the lives of their players then they think. They truly are role models who can lead kids down the right path. As an athlete, I always look up to my coaches and they do have a great impact in my life.

  9. “Coaching Boys into Men an effective tool for stopping teen dating violence”
    After reading this article, it made me feel a little better that society is trying to show guys how to be gentlemen instead of being complete jerks. I honestly have got to say that sometimes no matter how hard they may try to teach the boys how to be “men”, they just might never change. I’ve been in a couple of relationships where there was lots of verbal abuse coming from the guy. I think it’s the main reason why I’m way more reserved and very much to myself when it comes to “guys”. It’s a scary thought to think that the next guy you may like may be like the other guy you were with. What i did learn from those experiences was never let them put you down. If the guy shows any signs of verbal abuse, don’t get involved because it may lead to physical abuse. I think they should have these programs for teenage girls as well. Coaching the girls to value themselves as young ladies, and not be easy for every guy to get. Nowadays you see more girls disrespect their own bodies, which is the main reason why boys don’t respect them.

    “Learning to Drive with A.D.H.D.”
    I honestly wish i didn’t read this article. I’m about to finally go for my license in a month, and all i read here was that teenagers with short attention spans are more at risk in getting into a car accident then a drunk driver. I’m one of those types where i freak out at anything that comes my way. Altough i’ve been getting better in my driving, i always make sure i never take my eyes off the road. I guess you can say i’m a bit paranoid when it comes to driving. I know it’s no biggy, but i may be the most carfullest driver, but i most certainly do not confide in those who drive next to me. People on the road are ridiculous! That’s what freaks me out the most!!! I just hope i pass my driving test. i really need to start driving!

  10. Almost Alcoholic: Could Your Drinking Be A Problem?

    This article was something i think we can all relate to a little. Alcohol is a big part of American Culture. Whether it is at a party, a cookout, a celebration etc. Alcohol can also be a big health problem and personal problem. When do you know it is a problem is the question. This article really summed it up quite nicely. It broke down the steps really well from normal social drinking to an everyday occurrence affecting your normal lifestyle. It even went through examples of normal people who have problems with drinking. It was interesting to read about and get more knowledge so oneself can never fall under the trap of the addicting poison.

    Learning to Drive With A.D.H.D.

    A.D.H.D is something that can effect a persons everyday life. It affects simple actions such as sitting in a long class to more important situations such as driving. And this is where it gets dangerous. Driving is scary anyways. It is always nerve racking getting behind the wheel for the first time but imaging adding A.D.H.D to the stressors of driving, Serious injury could occur. It is hard to conquer that task.

  11. Learning to Drive with A.D.H.D.
    People who have ADHD cannot pass their drivers test. In this article it talks about how people diagnosed should receive their license later on.With ADHD driving behind the wheel would prove to be dangerous because they are not 100% focused behind the wheel. With certain cases of ADHD some can get nervous and panic making it dangerous for other in front odor behind them.
    Why Is It Socially Acceptable To Be Bad At Math?
    I think we use less math because we don’t use it as much as wee need to. We usually either have to read or listen to something.We rarely apply the types of complicated maths taught in school. The first lady is even trying to enforce more mathematical practices so we could be a lot more educated. This would leave america much more of a well rounded state.

  12. Almost Alcoholics: This is a great article! I myself have done a lot of research on the subject as there has been drinking problems with several family members. I never liked the approach with the solid black and white sides. Some people clearly drink more then just “socially” but aren’t considered alcoholics. This has always been very troublesome for me as i could clearly see people i cared about drinking too much, but any time they were questioned on it they would use the excuse that they don’t fit the criteria of an alcoholic. Very good article i intend to read further into their study.

    Learning to drive with A.D.H.D: I found this article to be quite the stretch. It would seem to me as though they are making this out to be much more of an issue then it really is. First off i didn’t like how they said Driving is the most dangerous thing teens do. Teens do much more dangerous things then get behind a wheel. Also i strongly disagree with the statement that they try to say people with A.D.H.D are more likely to get into an accident then an adult drunk driver. That is completely bogus and would lead some to believe that its safer to drink and drive then to drive with A.D.H.D ? that is quite the stretch. My next door neighbor and best friend growing up have severe A.D.H.D and has been driving fine since he was 16, no accidents, no incidents. I really strongly disagree with the article and the approach they took toward relaying this information. I’m sure A.D.H.D. makes the task of driving a little tougher, but to compare it to drinking and driving is preposterous.

  13. •Learning to Drive with A.D.H.D
    Is a very interesting study about teenagers having ADHD is difficult for them to pass there road test. What also shock me is that they have a 50% chance of crashing compare to a drunk driver. Drunk driving is one of the main reason why for most accidents but no one never took this disorder in a count. Like they say in the study that they wont want to drive until older or not at all some what explains why it is not notice. This make me want to think about myself because Ive failed the road test the first time.

    •Scared Crooked: Do Scared Straight Programs Work?
    In some case these scared straight programs do work. Seeing what road a person is going will lead them can also spark a reality check with them. Taking them to jail,hospital and funeral homes can also have an effect on teengers who need that reality in there face to see where they will end up at. Ive been watch a show like this on MTV that had a young 17 year old girl who was not scared or convince that here path of choice was wrong. Kids like that have to face that reality by them selves to finally realize it. As some say you have to learn to fall to get back up.

  14. […] sense a math theme continuing from last week.  APS provides an overview of a recent study out of Stanford University that the brain activity of […]


%d bloggers like this: