Nate's elbow pokes violently into Kellen's ribs. He then fakes a pass, pivots, and again throws his body into Kellen, hoping the staff referees won't notice. But they do, just as Kellen winces and pushes Nate back roughly, in what looks like a chest pass without a ball. "What's up with that?!" Kellen shouts. "You wanna go?!" taunts Nate. "Let's go! Bring it!" A whistle blows and the two refs are between the boys now, separating the tangle of arms and fists.
If someone told you that you had a "retrospective, unidirectional bias" and had contracted the "availability heuristic," you might think you need to visit a doctor right away. Actually, you'd be right. But you wouldn't need a medical doctor. You'd need a research psychologist — someone with expertise in statistics and child development. Someone who could explain to you that your bias and heuristic — although unhealthy — were common and easily removed. Once cured, you could see more nuances in your campers' behaviors.
Perhaps no question weighs more heavily on the minds of parents, teachers, and camp staff than "Will this child do what I ask?" Sadly, there is no magic formula for obedience. So, this question is perennial; its answer elusive. Sure, we try to manage children's behavior. A keyword search for books on parenting yields 23,096 titles. There is no shortage of advice. But as any parent will tell you, there is a chasm between child behavior theory and practice. As Bill Cosby said, "Parenting can be learned only by people who have no children."
My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words
Of thy tongue's uttering, yet I know the sound.
Juliet, from Romeo and Juliet
— by William Shakespeare
Children learn language not by rote, but by a seemingly effortless interaction between their sponge-like brains and their language-rich environments. This breathtaking process begins as rapidly as Juliet learned to recognize Romeo's voice.
Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan, left to the tender mercies of churchwardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.
— from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
In the spring of 2002, Psychologist Wallace Dixon published the results of a survey of 1,500 randomly selected, doctoral-level members of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). He had asked the society members which studies, published since 1950, they considered "most revolutionary."In this series, psychologist Christopher Thurber - an ACA member as well as a member of SRCD - shares a summary of the top twenty most revolutionary studies.