A study in 2007, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Katherine Kinzler and her colleagues, suggested that even babies might prefer their own group. The authors found that 10-month-olds preferred to look at people who spoke the same language they did. In more recent studies, researchers have found that babies also preferred to imitate someone who spoke the same language. So our preference for people in our own group might seem to be part of human nature.
Is it good to grow up? We often act as if children should develop into adults as quickly as possible. More and more we urge our children to race to the next level, leap over the next hurdle, make it to the next grade as fast as they can. But new brain studies suggest that it may not be good to grow up so fast. The neuroscientist Linda Wilbrecht at my own school, the University of California, Berkeley, and her collaborators recently reported that early stress makes babies, at least baby mice, grow up too soon.
Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history.
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers make especially vivid a profound question about human nature. In the tangle of neural connections that make up my brain, where am I? Where was Edith? When those connections begin to unravel, what happens to the person?
Do you really want to delete this prezi?
Scientists have largely given up the idea of innate talent, as I said in my last column. This change might seem implausible and startling. We all know that some people are better than others at doing some things. And we all know that genes play a big role in shaping our brains. So why shouldnt genes determine those differences?
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Whats interesting is that nothing about the students made them intrinsically nice or meanthe only difference was their brief, immediate experience of high or low status. But these results may help to explain the results of other studies showing that people with more wealth or rank or power are less helpful, in general. When people are perpetually reminded of their high status, they seem to become less concerned about others.
Dept. of Biology, University of Proxima Centauri
Biologists talk about the relationship between a genotype, the information in your DNA, and a phenotype, the characteristics of an adult organism. These relationships turn out to be so complicated that parceling them out into percentages of nature and nurture is impossible. And, most significantly, these complicated relationships can change as environments change.
Care gives us the gift of an unhurried childhood.
Why would this happen? Dr. Guinote and her colleagues suggest that, in a hierarchical group, low-status people have to use other strategies to accomplish their goals. Mutual helpfulness, cooperation and altruism are ways to counteract the simpler and more obvious advantages of wealth and rank.
New studies show that even young children discriminate.
The researchers even got similar results with children age 4 and 5. They were asked to share stickers with another child. The more dominant the children were, the less they shared.