Tag Archive for anxiety

Language-learning expertise

Landau, E. (2010). “From brain to language to accent.”  CNN Online. Retrieved on October 4, 2010: http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/23/from-brain-to-language-to-accent/?hpt=Sbin Becoming a proficient speaker of at least one language is a hallmark of the typical human psychological development. When it comes to learning more than one language, however, our abilities seem much more widely dispersed. Why might some people display a greater “talent” for learning a second language (or more) than others? By far the best known predictor of success at foreign language learning is the learner’s age.  An increasing number of children who grow up in bilingual environments from early on may well grow up to be fluent speakers of both their native languages. But you don’t have to be natively bilingual in order to master multiple languages at the native-speaker level. In a classic study of second-language acquisition by Johnson & Newport (1989), immigrants to the USA were tested for high-level mastery of English (including phonetic and grammatical nuances), and the results were examined as a function of age at initial immersion in the English-speaking environment. People who started learning English before the age of 7 tended to achieve native-like proficiency. From there on, the older one was at arrival, the less native…

On “Keeping Kids Safe From the Wrong Dangers” by Belkin

Belkin, L. (2010). “Keeping Kids Safe From the Wrong Dangers” New York Times Online. Retrieved on October 6, 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/weekinreview/19belkin.html?_r=1 Summary: Belkin puts the spotlight on the somewhat irrational behaviors of parents when it comes to protecting their children. With the best of intentions, they worry about kidnapping, school snipers, terrorist, dangerous strangers and drugs, while the most likely things to cause children harm are car accidents, homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know), child abuse, suicide and drowning. So why are parents constantly overestimating rare dangers while underestimating common ones? The author makes the point that evolution may have something to do with it in that our brains are not designed to process abstract or long-term risk, but rather to react to an immediate dangers for instance represented by a sound and make a determination of whether not it presents a danger. In today’s fast-paced world where we are bombarded with all kinds of worst case scenarios and sensationalism, our sense of proportions gets distorted. So, we end up driving our kids to play-dates, when a walk on their own may have been better both health and safety wise. User Groups: So how can parents make more…

Antisocial Networking?

Stout, H. (2010). “Antisocial Networking?” New York Times Online. Retrieved on 3 October, 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/fashion/02BEST.html The main topic of this article is that technology may be changing the very nature of kid’s friendships. Children used to actually talk to their friends. But now, even chatting on cellphones or via e-mail is becoming rare. Today’s teenagers and preteens, prefer to make friends and communicate using cellphone texts and instant messages, or through the very public forum of Facebook walls and MySpace bulletins. People now are more likely to use their cellphones to text friends than to call them. The article shows two opposite points of view on the topic. The author believes the quality of human interactions is becoming worse without the intimacy and emotional component of regular face-to-face communications (hence the title of this article). The ease of electronic communication may be making teens less interested in face-to-face communication with their friends, but close childhood friendships help kids build trust in people outside their families, develop empathy, understand emotional nuances and read social cues like facial expressions and body language, and consequently help lay the groundwork for healthy adult relationships. On the other hand, online social networking allows children to become…

A Curiously French Complaint

Kirby, E. (2008). “ A Curiously French Complaint,” BBC News.  Retrieved on 2008/12/13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7779126.stm Summary: This article focuses on the cultural differences between the French and British populations in regards to their medical care. Each culture has their own script of understanding, which people rely to set their expectations during a medical crisis. The author Emma experienced a cultural ‘shock’ during her first encounter with a French doctor due to her vastly different set of expectations. She visits a doctor in France due to the severity of a sore throat, where she is “diagnosed with a severe lung infection, mild asthma and had in my hand a prescription for six different types of medicine, an appointment at the local hospital’s radiology department and an emergency referral to a specialist in pulmonary disease (article).” Upon her return to Britain a few days later, she visits her family physician, who within a few minutes diagnoses her with only a ‘common cold.’ Her article then explains how the French expect a much more sever diagnosis to support their physical suffering. France is also the leading country of consumers who take prescription medications. While in England, there’s a more ‘keep a stiff upper lip’…

The Anatomy of Failure

On May 7th 2010, at around 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the stock market went on a wild ride, dropping over 900 points in matter of just minutes. What happened? There’s lot’s of speculation, and some know more then they are willing to say. But what’s clear is that there was just the right confluence of world events, human and computer errors, and system-wide communication breakdown that triggered a mass sell-off of stocks at fantastic prices. In other words, there was a catastrophic failure during product interaction. I’m not an investment analyst and have limited knowledge in this subject area, but I am interested in product failure. So Thursday’s stock market episode was very interesting. Here’s a little background on the events of that day broken down into steps leading to the failure. Step 1: When the New York stock market opened on Thursday, bad news was streaming in from Europe—there were fears that Greece would ultimately default on its loans; its people were staging massive demonstrations in Athens; Euro was going down. Step 2: In our very interconnected world, this kind of news makes investors skittish and the stock market was dropping value all morning. Step 3: At around 2:45…

Understanding the Anxious Mind.

Article: Marantz, H. R. (2009). “Understanding the Anxious Mind.” New York Times. Retrieved on 4 October, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/magazine/04anxiety-t.html?_r=1&em=&pagewanted=print Summary of article: This article discusses the reaerch conducted by psychologists into persons are constantly anxious and worry a lot. The ide is that certain people are “predisposed” to be anxious. Research conducted on infants as young as 6 months old showed to the psychologists (atleast to some extent) that babies who tended to be highly reactive, that is who react immediately to new soights and sounds, mostly in a negative way, tend to grow up to be anxious and shy teenagers and adults. The article also points out that these anxious babies tend to be become melancholy and introverted as they grow older with few friends and social life. The article also discusses that those teenagers and adults who recognized this “trait” within themselves seemed to do better at controlling/overcoming their anxious nature. The benefits of a reactive, anxious temparament are also mentioned. Artists, writers and scientists tend to be introspective. Worrying can become a help rather than a hindrance when it helps you prepare better for tests, plan ahead for meetings and talks, and never to miss a flight because…