Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay

In class, while talking about the recognition heuristic, Professor Rettinger showed us a quick clip of two monkeys and their reaction to receiving two different rewards. I found the clip not only amusing due to the fact that the monkey receiving the object that had a lesser value compared to the object the other money received threw a tantrum, but was amazed at how perfectly the video demonstrated the recognition heuristic. I instantly knew I wanted to research more into the topic and experiment.

The recognition heuristic is the idea that if one of two objects is recognized and the other is not, then the recognized object will have the higher value. Sarah F. Brosnan and Frans B. M. de Waal conducted a study to try and understand the evolutionary response to fairness. Fairness is a social ideal therefore cannot be measured, so in order to understand responses to fairness, they conducted a study to observer behavior responses when given equal and unequal rewards.

The study consisted of two brown Capuchin monkeys exchanging tokens with a human experimenter to receive either a grape or cucumber. In this case, the cucumber represents an unequal exchange and a grape represents an equal exchange. In the study before the monkey exchanging tokens with cucumber realizes that the monkey in the cage next to her is receiving grapes, she trades with no behavioral signs of concern or anger for inequality. Once the monkey sees the trade her neighbor is making with the human experimenter compared to the trade she is making with the human experimenter, she immediately starts to react in a negative manner to express her feelings about the unequal trade. She expresses her concern by throwing her cucumber at the experimenter, pounding on the bars of her cage and refusing to take the offer. She continually makes a trade by handing the experimenter a coin with efforts to eventually receive a grape.

What intrigues me most about this experiment is that fact that the monkey is completely content with trading the coin for a cucumber right up until she sees the trade happening with her neighbor that involves a coin and a grape. This is because she assumed the trade to be fair until she saw something that had a higher value. The representative heuristic is demonstrated. Every monkey that was involved in this study refused to participate if they witnessed a conspedic obtain a more attractive reward for equal effort. Their reactions support an evolutionary origin of inequity aversion.

This study also reminds me of the ultimatum game. The ultimatum game is a game in which the first player conditionally receives a sum of money and proposes how to divide the sum between themselves and another player. The second player chooses to either accept or reject this proposal.  Two parts of the brain is active while participating in the ultimatum game. The prefrontal lobe shows more activation when people make a rational decision and the anterior insula is activated when people reject offers. The anterior insula in the brain is responsible for disgust emotions. This shows that people get disgusted when offered an offer they feel is unfair. There is a slight correlation between Sarah F. Brosnan and Frans B. M. de Waal’s study and the ultimatum game as both have something to do with equality and fairness. Both of these ideas have everything to do with our everyday life and human behavior. I have noticed others and even myself get uncomfortable and annoyed when things are not fair. I have posted below the video of a capuchin monkey rejecting unequal pay, I hope y’all find it as interesting as I did.

http://www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/publications/articles/Brosnan_deWaal_2003.pdfhttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140918141151.htm

Fakes News in 2018.

Everyone within the Social Media sphere and any political movement is aware of this problem; “Fake News.” How do we deal with it? How do we determine “fake news” and why is it so prolific?   Well luckily as of late many researchers within various fields have been looking into it, so we are beginning to gain perspective on fake news and its effects.

After the 2016 election this worry really came into its own, with President  Trump and his administration calling anything they seemingly disagree with “fake news” as well as various news networks, worldwide, spreading information that has not been verified. Stoking the fire is the recent discovery of Cambridge Analytica taking private information from Facebook and using it to disseminate designed “fake news” to appeal to the viewer to influence political agendas, seems as if a veritable tidal wave of disinformation has crossed the net.

When looking at “Fake News” or any similar information the research group from M.I.T found that it spreads far faster then real information.  Why is this?  Well there are a few theories, most of these ideas center around having a target to blame, group to oppose, or an agenda to propagate. However, much like gossip or something that is insulting or comedic much of this information stokes deep emotional responses and may cause more aggressive reactions,  spreading of the given information. The initial assumption when looking at much of the research assumed it was that “Bots” (A net based automated program) were the cause of much of the issues regarding the spread of “fake news.” However, what was found was that in actuality was that people were the cause of the problem spreading.

When looking at dissemination of fake news it usually happens like this; a person sees it, the information resonates with that person. Then they re-tweet or share the information on their given social media platform causing a branching effect. Eventually it spreads out and becomes widespread knowledge.  When looking at the wide spread prevalence and use of social media, its easy to see why “fake news” spreads so quickly and widely.  When looking at Fake News specifically it shows that something that is less likely or something that is easily believable might not be the most popular thing to report on.  “If it bleeds it leads” is a statement often used by reporters and people in the mainstream media behind the scenes.  Things that cause fear, anger, hatred, emotional upset, and things that show violence tend to lead to better ratings.  If these things are mis-reported in something such as social media, which often has little to no oversight regarding where it is coming from, citations, sources, or any kind of peer review, it’s easy to see how it spreads so fast and is so abundant.

What effects does this really have on society? Well one of the bigger issues is that something that is fake or factually wrong becomes an accepted “truth.” One of the best examples in modern day is the “anti-vax” movement, sparked by a now debunked study published by Andrew Wakefield, formerly a doctor who has since lost his accreditation’s due to fraud allegations, when looking at the information you can see how the conspiratorial attitude lends itself to being “Sexy” to your average audience and viewer.  Looking at something as shocking as “The government is poisoning the populace through vaccines! Vaccines cause autism and other intellectual disabilities!” makes for a headline that is very shocking and certainly draws in readers, this is of course has long term effects. Looking at modern day consequences from something such as the anti-vax movement gives you a good idea how far “fake news” can go.

As recent as 2017 Minnesota had an outbreak of measles due to a high amount of vaccine doubters refusing to vaccinate their children, and as such many children ended up hospitalized.  Europe also has “anti-vax” movements of their own and both Italy, and Spain have had huge outbreaks of Rubela and Measles due to people not properly vaccinating which has lead to hospitalizations and some deaths. With Kansas having a Measles outbreak going on currently. (April of 2018) This is a very strong example of “fake news” and the long-term effects. Proper education, proper references and source material for citations, and any additional confirming information would all help toward fixing this issue.

Unfortunately, I don’t see this issue going away, as the more attractive posts (conspiratorial as an example) will probably stay in circulation. It is the job of various social media platforms to stem the tide, and the job of people on social media to disseminate real news or information.  One final additional point when regarding fake news; If a person preconceived notion (or worldview) lends itself toward that fake news (religious beliefs, political leanings, etc.) a person is more likely to believe that news even if there is factual information proving it incorrect.  It is easier to accept your own worldview as correct then it is to have it challenged.

The effects of fake news definitely has a place with Confirmation Bias.  For some the ability to allow things in their own worldview that is reinforced by “data” (in this case doctored information) is a rather pertinent one.  Its almost in a way a form of Cognitive Dissonance, where you have opposing and contradictory beliefs but support both (those that talk about scientific understanding while citing non-scientific websites as reference material)

When I think of anti-vax I see it as a form of Base-Rate neglect.  You look at something in the Anti Vaccine movement, and you see them completely ignoring not only scientific understanding but the very large “sample size” (for the lack of a better term) regarding use of Vaccines.  Actual damage or harm caused by vaccines is an incredibly small percentage, some quotes from the CDC is as low as .01% of a given population, usually being those with immunodeficiency that cannot actually take the vaccine.  Of course the movement tends to ignore these numbers in favor of “natural” answers, that seems like a solid example of Base-Rate neglect.

 

References;

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychoanalysis-unplugged/201804/why-does-fake-news-spread-faster-real-news

http://news.mit.edu/2018/study-twitter-false-news-travels-faster-true-stories-0308

http://www.kmbc.com/article/health-officials-release-new-locations-dates-for-measles-outbreak-in-kansas/19861984

 

Is Winning $324M Better Than Winning $1M?

On March 30, a production manager named Richard Wahl won Mega Millions and will be receiving $324,600,000. However, this is not the reality of many people who play the lottery, especially since the odds of winning the jackpot is only 1:302,575,350 according to the Mega Millions website. This was only Wahl’s second time purchasing a Mega Millions ticket, but some people purchase dozens of tickets a year. This brings up the question as to why anyone would play any sort of jackpot that has such a low probability of winning.

The utility theory would suggest that nobody would buy tickets because the probability of winning is much lower than the probability of losing, so the utility would be negative. The utility theory suggests that people will estimate the expected utility and make a choice based on the best option, which in this case, would be to not purchase a lottery ticket.

However, the utility theory has evidence against it since people can make different choices based on something such as wording and availability, which would not impact the equation used to calculate expected utility. The prospect theory of probability tells us that people have a higher weighted probability when the actual probability is low, and a lower weighted probability when the actual probability is high. This means that for most probabilities, other than around the 20% probability mark, people either overestimate or underestimate the likelihood of an event occurring. The probability of winning the Mega Millions is extremely low, yet people are still able to imagine, or even believe, that they could realistically win millions of dollars. This allows lottery players, such as Richard Wahl, to be risk seekers and play Mega Millions.

Wahl described in an interview that he felt paralyzed when he won what he initially thought was $1 million. He and his family are middle-class, so one million dollars would feel extremely good to him, explaining why he felt unable to bring his ticket with him anywhere or leave it at home, causing his Easter plans to be cancelled. Although the CNN article does not discuss how Wahl’s reaction changed when he realized his ticket would give him over $300 million, he likely did not feel too much happier than he did when he thought it was $1 million. This can be explained by the prospect theory of value function.

Since Wahl won Mega Millions, any amount would be a gain. This would mean that his happiness would be higher than it was before he had extra money. However, even though $1M to $324M is a much larger difference than his baseline amount of money to $1M, happiness would not increase as much between when he thought he won $1M and after his realization that he won more. This is because as you have more of something, such as money, it has less value to that person. This leads me to believe that realizing he would be $323 million richer than he thought he would be with the $1 million win, he likely did not experience as much of an increase in happiness. This seems to be confirmed by Wahl’s goals, such as restoring a Corvette, retiring, and helping a few relatives financially; most of which could have been achieved with only the original $1 million.

As long as people are willing to be risk seekers and spend a few dollars in order to potentially win millions, Mega Millions will stay in business because of the prospect theory. Richard Wahl is one of the few people who have won, and the fact that he has been on the news so much lately impacts availability. Many people will remember the last person who won, so they are more likely to predict that they have a possibility of winning as well and purchase a ticket themselves. I would not personally buy a Mega Millions ticket because I see it as nearly impossible to win, which means I have a more moderate probability weighing and the difference between the actual probability and how I act is less than someone with more severe probability weighing.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/14/us/mega-millions-winner/index.html

http://www.megamillions.com/how-to-play

https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.ezproxy.umw.edu/doi/full/10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01482.x

How to improve your decision making

Do you ever find yourself ALWAYS struggling over a decision, always uncertain of what choice you should make? An article in the Harvard Business Review gives a few ways to help improve your decision making. The article talks about how you need to have a good idea of how desirable each choice is and how the choices you make will have an impact on later outcomes. “Decision making requires both prediction and judgement”

  1. Be less certain

This involves the phenomenon of overconfidence. If you are very confident that choice A will cause such and such to happen, then you will be more biased towards one decision over the other, which may have bad consequences. If you realize that you may not be as correct as you think you are, you can really evaluate the likelihood of each event and be able to possibly make a better decision.

2. Ask “How often does that typically happen?”

If you are trying to make a big decision, like starting up a company but you are afraid that it is going to fail, you may want to ask yourself historically how often the average companies that are starting up fail. Starting with comparing your decision to other decisions that have worked out or not in the past will help you to figure out the likelihood of the success of your decision. This ties in the base rate, which is the change of some specific event occurring, all things being equal. The likelihood of your plane crashing is very low, and so the fear you have of going on an airplane and the decision to not go to that wedding simply BECAUSE you must go on a plane to get there may not be rational.

While these two ideas can help you improve your decision making, there are still a lot of different factors that get in the way of making the best decisions. Availability can get in the way of you getting on that airplane if you had seen a few plane crashes on the news throughout the week beforehand. Decisions can be tricky because there are so many things that can get in the way and cause you to make an error.

 

https://hbr.org/2018/01/3-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making

 

Looking at this picture, what do you see? Do you see their faces or backs?? In order to answer this question we need to be able to detect the edges of the girl and the horse to determine what way they are facing. Similar to what we discussed in class with the blue and gold dress, the background of this photo is bright which can alter the objects in the image. Lateral Inhibition is when cells are in a certain pattern, and when stimulated they either excite or inhibit the cells. Being able to detect edges is known as lateral inhibition.

In order for our eyes to see this image and use edge detection, first our photoreceptors (rods and cones) send information to the bipolar cells, then which excite the ganglion cells, that report to the optic nerve. From the optic nerve the information goes to the occipital and temporal lobe, where vision takes place.

Cells that are right next to each other can receive different stimuli (either intense or moderately intense) which in turns causes the receptive fields to be excited or inhibited. This will then highlight the surface’s edge, the cells start to detect the edges of the object(s). As you sit here and ponder whether the horse and its owner are coming and going, you can see another example of when we must detect edges to determine what is going on in a picture.

This image, which includes my boyfriend and I. Is this one picture or two pictures? We use edgedetection to determine did we take one picture or did we take two seperate pictures and put them together. In this image a bright/light stimulus is being presented to the cells (on my side) and gray stimulus is being presented to cells right next door (on the right side of the photo). The was we perceive the light and how the rods and cones receive this information shows us how sometimes our eyes can trick us to see one picture vs two or the horse coming vs the horse going.

Tell me what you see in these photos!

Can babies categorize?

I am a psychology major (obviously) and also in the College of Education. I am very interested in everything that involves child development. With that being said, I found an article talking about how babies as early as three months old can start to categorize objects as well as  tell the differences between categories. Northwestern University did a study involving infants around three months old. They showed half of the infants pairs of toys that were the same such as two Elmo dolls and the other half saw pairs of different toys such as an Elmo doll and a pink block. They measured the amount of time or “looking time” that the infants spent staring at the pairs of toys. The infants looked longer at the pair of toys that they had not already seen. This showed the researchers that they had made the connection for the pair of similar toys in as few as six trials. One of the researchers said that “this was the earliest evidence for abstract learning in humans.” The babies performed better when they were shown the pairs fewer times and given more chances to compare the pairs.  So to further expand on that…infants more easily and correctly categorized the toys when given AA vs EE rather than AA vs BB vs CC vs DD vs EE vs FF.  While repetition is a good thing when learning, the babies were able to differently categorize the toys with just one repetition and go above and beyond when given many repetitions. This research is also consistent with previous research in both children and adults showing that attention to individual objects can get in the way of relational learning. This shows that learning is a process throughout all of life starting in infancy all the way throughout adulthood. This is interesting to me because it is known that babies learn so much so fast but we didn’t realize that such complex processing happened so early in infants lives. If categorization occurs starting at three months, we build a foundation and the more we experience and learn the stronger our categorical connections are and the bigger the categories cognitive mapping becomes.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180403171434.htm

Should You Trust Your Intuition?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/path-optimal-living/201803/should-you-trust-your-intuition

This article, “Should You Trust Your Intuition?” by Stephen Sidroff both discusses and analyzes the potential effects of trusting your intuition, also known as your “gut” feeling. The article defines intuition as a “direct perception of truth, fact, independent of any reasoning process.” Sidroff claims that people use intuition to take one of two stances during decision making. One instance is when it [intuition]  is used to reassure that the correct choice is being made. Another instance is when it is used as a signal of caution from their gut, to not make a certain choice. This article provides some possible “caveats” to relying on intuition as well as the significance of neuroception in this research.

The cognitive aspect of this article comes from occurrence of neuroception. The article defines it as the “continuous subconscious assessment by the autonomic nervous system of the safety or danger of any given moment.” This means that whether our perceptions of danger or threat are accurate, our intuition can tell us to respond with caution “where there isn’t a real danger”. One instance of this perhaps “false intuition” that I have come across while working with small children is vaguely mentioned in the article as well (Sidroff). Children are drawn to what is familiar to them; they cling to that which is consistent in their lives such as certain family members, favorite toys or snacks, etc. Likewise, they are also “uncomfortable” with trying/experiencing new things and consciously try to avoid and get away from those things, such as daycare for the first time, new foods, and unfamiliar people.

I agree with the claims and cautions that the article is giving. If you primarily rely on the occurrence of intuitional danger signals, one might always prevent themselves from trying new things and advancing themselves, or as the article puts it “new learning and development”. As we have discussed in class, correlation does not equal causation. It is possible, that in hindsight the few accurate warnings from your gut in comparison to the unsuccessful occurrences simply seem as though they occur more often. If one tends to ignore or avoid situations that are awkward in nature Some situations may be negatively affected or cause fixation of some sort if not addressed thoroughly. For example, one might choose to stay in a toxic relationship due to them trusting their gut and ignoring the obvious signs of discord. Instead, one might recognize such signals and address them for what they are.

Some limitations of this article are the lack of sources used in order to get a wide range of perspectives on whether or not intuition should be used as a primary factor in decision making. Another limitation is the framing of the research used to come to the conclusion of intuition not being trustworthy or consistent enough. The research’s framing seemed to be using correlation to decide causation. They relied on the concept of neuroception solely. Some suggestions may be that they add a few more sources to compare and contrast and that they magnify more aspects of their cognitive research, in addition to neuroception.  

Psycholinguistics

See the source image

Psycholinguistics is the study of relationships between linguistic behavior and psychological processes, including the process of language acquisition. In simple terms it’s the study of relationships in language that happens in the brain. Ever take a minute to wonder why we can automatically try to pronounce a word we’ve never seen before just by using language acquisition? Or just being able to communicate with others without having a complete football play on how the whole conversation is going to go? Well that’s why we have Psycholinguistics.

Language Acquisition

There are two schools of thought with two different theories. One of these two schools of thought theories are that language must be learned by the child. The other says that language cannot be learned. Well which is true? A guy names Noam Chomsky had the idea that humans possess an innate ability for language such as recursion, which are hard-wired in the brain. This gives people the ability to easily grasp on to the ideas such as grammar as well as other complex syntax.

See the source image

Language Comprehension

Well how do people understand what they read? Is it natural or by chance? Well there are a number of experimented theories. A big one is the garden path theory which consists of the reader to create the simplest path to understanding what was read. For example, He ate… The person will have already have the question ate what? as the simplest path of understanding. This is until the sentence gets a little more complicated. He ate while riding. That could be the whole sentence just as he ate can be. The the initial understanding of the sentence has changed. Sounds like lazy work? A possible explanation could be that back before homo-sapiens had reading and writing there was just oral speech. Now that we’ve become more complex and evolved that brain may take some short cuts because back then, all it was meant for was survival and not trying to comprehend Shakespeare’s written plays that your teacher forced you to read.

Language Production

This is how people produce language whether its a foreign language, different dialects, or strong accents in either written or spoken form. Ways that psycholinguists observed meanings guided by their rule governed languages are by speech errors. This could be anything from reformulation and long pauses to blending and substitutions. These observations have proved that a person does not plan their entire sentence only the main core aspects and main content of what they were going to talk about.

See the source image

The cognitive involvement in language is something that I never payed close attention to until I started taking Linguistics and talking about it more in this Psychology course and it makes it all the more interesting. Language is something we use day to day and not really pay too much attention to besides realizing that we just can. It can be very useful when trying to understand not only English but other languages as well; this could also be for dialects we aren’t familiar with. This inherently explains why we do what we do and creates an insight on the things we don’t pay attention to about our own being. Experiments and theories like these brings humans a step closer to figuring out our most complicated systems.

 

 

Bigger Than Your Bias

How would you feel if I said you are inherently biased against black people? While there are certainly individuals who are aware and perhaps even comfortable with their own racial prejudices, I’m going to assume that most of you reading this post would disagree with and possibly be offended by that statement. Unfortunately, according to several studies conducted on this topic, it turns out implicit bias may be unavoidable.

A few weeks ago, we discussed implicit versus explicit memories and how previous encounters with stimuli can shape our memories and beliefs. We learned that priming plays a significant role in what we find familiar or believe to be true. While this can be useful in some instances and may allow us to process stimuli and access stored information more efficiently, it can also be problematic when previous associations create harmful biases. During an episode of The Hidden Brain from March 16 called “The Mind of the Village,” Shankar Vedantam, along with psychologists from various universities, explore the problem of implicit social bias, how communities unconsciously shape individual minds, and what we can do to prevent our implicit biases from affecting our conscious behaviors.

Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, a professor at Harvard University, and Vedantam begin the episode discussing the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Banaji designed the IAT to measure an individual’s level of implicit bias. The IAT is a sorting exercise that requires faces of individuals to be grouped with other objects that hold either positive or negative associations. Banaji explains that the IAT works well because of our unconscious tendency to group related objects together. For instance, we would be faster at grouping “bread” with “butter” than we would be at grouping “bread” with “hammer.” This should sound familiar as we’ve discussed the effect of priming and repetition as it relates to recognition and memories in class extensively. However, instead of innocuous groupings of familiar pairs, the IAT has individuals sort black and white faces with words like heaven, hell, evil or love. In some trials, white faces are to be sorted with negative words and black faces with positive words. In other trials, this is reversed. What Banaji found is that the majority of test participants were faster at sorting black faces with negative words and white faces with positive words. This was true not only for white participants, but also for black participants and for Banaji herself.

(Sample faces used in the IAT)

Dr. Joshua Correll from the University of Colorado Boulder developed another way to test for implicit bias which was a bit more direct than the IAT. Correll designed a video game, called The Police Officer’s Dilemma, that required participants to assess and engage a potential threat. On a screen, a black or white man would appear holding an object. The object could be something harmless or it could be a gun. The test measured response times to both assess the threat and shoot the target as well as measuring whether the responses were correct or incorrect. Like the IAT, The Police Officer’s Dilemma found that people were faster both to associate black people with threats and to shoot black people. They were also more likely to make incorrect associations consistent with having implicit bias against black people.

(Sample images used in The Police Officer’s Dilemma)

While the data collected by Banaji and Correll can seem disheartening, there is a silver lining on the dark clouds. Interestingly, when Correll had police officers instead of students and laypeople take the test, he found that while the police officers showed the same levels of implicit bias in response times and mistakes when assessing threats, they were less likely to shoot the wrong person. He also found that things like lack of sleep and stress affected how well police officers controlled their implicit bias. This suggests that while we can’t change the implicit biases we possess, we can learn to control how we let those biases affect our behavior. By using cognitive resources and making a point to be aware of our biases, we can avoid making the mistakes that would be more likely if we relied on impulse and emotion. As we’ve discussed in class, engaging our “System 2” resources would allow us to combat the inescapable bias that drives our “System 1.”

I must admit that I was uncomfortable acknowledging that I might be vulnerable to implicit bias. However, based upon abundant research, this seems to exist in all of us, to some extent. Think about it for a minute …what color do you associate with death, evil, fear or hell? And what color do you associate with purity, heaven, peace or good? I can write a long list of black things with negative associations and white things with positive associations, many that I learned about as a young child. Whether we like it or not, at some point, society decided that black equaled bad and white equaled good. It’s unfortunate, but unavoidable that those associations carry over into how we react to other people. Consciously, we might strive to treat others equally and not judge people by the color of their skin. However, until we can change the world around us, we likely won’t be able to change the automatic biases that exist. What we can do, however, is admit that implicit bias exists, become aware of it and be prepared to control for its effects. Instead of pretending it isn’t there because it’s uncomfortable to talk about, we are better off addressing bias head on and saying, “I won’t let it determine how I behave.” It takes deliberate conscious effort, but maybe just as those associations became automatic after years of repetition, we can make our deliberately unbiased response automatic as well.

If you’re interested, you can take the IAT online. There are a number of IATs that measure various biases such as attractive vs. unattractive, black vs. white, thin vs. obese, old vs. young, etc. I’ve taken two so far and while neither test has shown me to have any preference for one group over another, I do find that just taking the tests made me more aware of my thoughts and behaviors. I also found it difficult to keep the responses and buttons straight on the test which does make me question its validity somewhat. However, the effect of confusing buttons and not being able to remember how to group objects should be consistent throughout the trials so I suspect it wouldn’t skew the results anyway.

Link to The Hidden Brain: The Mind of the Village podcast/transcript:

https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=591895426

Link to the Implicit Association Test:

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

 

Exemplars and Prototypes

One thing that cognitive psychology has taught me is just how fascinating the brain actually is. It is truly amazing how much mental growth takes place in just a few short years. Working with children for many years, I have always been interested in how decision-making shifts from when a child is young to becoming an adolescent. After browsing through some research, it appears that both the use of exemplars and prototypes are components of the decision- making process for kids. Learning during the early years involves more use of exemplars. With experience, averaging exemplars into prototypes becomes a much easier task to accomplish. The large age difference of the kids that I nanny for can be used to explain these concepts. For example, Harper is three and Cami is thirteen, these girls have different abilities of grasping detailed tasks. If I ask Harper to go grab the scalloped salad fork this is too detailed of information for her to grasp. Her representations are not strong enough to understand what is being asked. On the other hand, Cami would be able to retrieve the scalloped dinner fork. Cami can bring back the correct fork since she has many more experiences with different types of forks. It is through a great deal of experience that Cami is able to successfully complete the task. While being too specific can be problematic, so can being too general when giving directions. Asking for someone to bring over silverware could result in a spoon, fork, or knife to be retrieved. Therefore, it is important to use the proper amount of detail when giving children of various ages instructions to complete different tasks.

Image result for thinking

In larger families, it is often common that siblings are expected to take on more responsibilities than other children of the same age. When tasks or chores are not completed successfully, frustration from parents can arise. Is it really appropriate for parents to be upset if they are asking for more than what is expected of a child? It can be extremely difficult for a child to fulfill extraneous demands if they do not have the proper representations. An article by Betsch and colleagues exemplifies that the mind of a child is like a toolbox. Their study explains that as children get older, the toolbox expands and concepts become more clear. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate what are realistic and appropriate expectations for children of different ages.

Based on the information above, do you think that it is difficult to know and understand what are proper demands of children?

Source: http://psycnet.apa.org.ezproxy.umw.edu/fulltext/2017-48443-001.pdf?sr=1