Scientists: Don't Spank Young Girls Until Age 13
Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback ('Well done!'), whereas negative feedback ('Got it wrong this time') scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently.Something in a child's brain changes between pre-pubescence and pubescence to affect learning style. Military drill seargents can attest to the effectiveness of negative feedback in the shaping of lean mean fighting machines. Similarly intensive training often occurs in medical school and in other professions--based upon negative feedback. It seems to work after a fashion, although the optimum teaching/learning method for each individual is likely to be unique.
The switch in learning strategy has been demonstrated in behavioural research, which shows that eight-year-olds respond disproportionately inaccurately to negative feedback. But the switch can also be seen in the brain, as developmental psychologist Dr Eveline Crone and her colleagues from the Leiden Brain and Cognition Lab discovered using fMRI research. The difference can be observed particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive control. These areas are located in the cerebral cortex.
In children of eight and nine, these areas of the brain react strongly to positive feedback and scarcely respond at all to negative feedback. But in children of 12 and 13, and also in adults, the opposite is the case. Their 'control centres' in the brain are more strongly activated by negative feedback and much less by positive feedback. _PO
More on the Brain and Development Lab at Leiden University