25 September 2008

Scientists: Don't Spank Young Girls Until Age 13

A recent study by scientists from the Netherlands suggests that children do not learn from negative feedback until they are at least 12 or 13 years of age. By testing subjects age 8 to 25 inside a fMRI machine, researchers were able to determine which parts of the brain reacted to positive and negative feedback while performing problem-solving tasks.
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.

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
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.

More on the Brain and Development Lab at Leiden University


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Blogger CarlBrannen said...

That's not how I remember it. Maybe they're not beating the children hard enough.

Thursday, 25 September, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

They were limited in size of spanking devices by the confined space inside the fMRI machine.

Sunday, 28 September, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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