STUDY: Research on the color red shows definite impact on achievement

Eat chocolate before a test, but don't look at anything red. Here's some evidence of a wacky semiotic influence -- no doubt culturally specific if sizable at all... more»

BOOK: The Cultural Production of the Educated Person

We seem to have a real difficult time understanding the cultural work associated with schooling. Not a new perspective, but still one that doesn't get enough consideration... more»
We argue that the concept of "cultural production" allows us to better understand the resources for, and constraints upon, social action -- the interplay of agency and structure -- in a variety of educational institutions. We also argue that a culturally specific and relative conception of the "educated person" allows us to appreciate the historical and cultural particularities of the "products" of education, and thus provides a framework for understanding conflicts around different kinds of schooling. (1996, p. 3)

BOOK: Dividing classes: How the middle class negotiates and rationalizes school advantage

Social class is an organizing category in education. The values of dominant groups help explain the reproduction of social class... more»
First, adult wages vary widely, with the income gap increasing over recent years...Second, per capita pupil expenditure correlates with social class; hence schools differ in the quality of their facilities, materials, and human resources...Third, there is a high correspondence between student class status and school achievement and attainment...Although these strong links between class status, school structures, and student outcomes are well known, social class is still ignored or treated as if it were relatively unimportant to schooling. (Brantlinger, p. 1)

BOOK: Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life

Lareau shows how middle-class parents, whether black or white, engage in a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth," in which a child's development unfolds spontaneously--as long as basic comfort, food, and shelter are provided... more»

CONFERENCE: 2007 Society for Psychological Anthropology Biennial Meetings

Upcoming conference (March 8-11, 2007) associated with a broad, multidisciplinary organization of individuals interested in cultural, psychological, and social interrelations at all levels... conference» program» society»

ARTICLE: The mind, as it evolves - Depression as a survival tool?

Here's a theoretical recasting of some mental illnesses as behaviors with (plausible) positive selection pressures associated with them in evolutionary terms... more»

STUDY: Boosting Brain Power -- With Chocolate

Our brains may get an attention boost for 2-3 hours from the flavonols found in dark chocolate. I can just imagine the "dark chocolate as test prep" advertisements being filmed already. Sigh... more»

PERSPECTIVE: Can Cognitive Neuroscience Tell Us Anything About the Mind?

Does cognitive neuroscience really have the power to distinguish between psychological theories? more»

STUDY: A deficit in the ability to form new human memories without sleep

Ruh-roh! "An absence of prior sleep substantially compromises the neural and behavioral capacity for committing new experiences to memory"... more»

BOOK: Handbook of Cultural Psychology

An examination of how topics fundamental to psychology -- identity and social relations, the self, cognition, emotion and motivation, and development -- are influenced by cultural meanings and practices... more»

STUDY: Problem forgetting may be a natural neural mechanism gone awry

The increased rate of forgetting with age may be from a slight shift in a normal forgetting mechanism... more»

CONFERENCE: The Legacy of the Chicago School of Sociology

Topics investigated at the Chicago School included urban sociology, community studies, immigration, racism, inequality, identity and adaptation, political participation, leisure and commercialized entertainment, African American politics, exclusion, community radicalism, religion, white people' perceptions of black communities, social problems, traditions, sub-cultures, urban planning, institutionalization, social reform, social mobility... more»

ARTICLE: Report identifies ed-tech trends to watch

User-created content, social networking, mobile phones, virtual worlds, new scholarship and emerging forms of publication, and massively multiplayer educational gaming... more» critique»

BOOK: Radical-Local Teaching and Learning: A Cultural-Historical Approach

To realize both general societal interests and worthwhile personal development, the content of educational programmes for children must be grounded in the local conditions within which the children live... more»

OPINION: Top Ten Psychology Studies (first half)

I would hope that Bruner's classic coin study makes the final cut... more»

STUDY: Auditory and visual memory use similar neural mechanisms

The brain may use fairly similar methods to generate light-based and sound-based memories... more»

OPINION: The ups and downs of 'team science'

"Traditional scientific research rewards the rugged individualist, who often triumphs by beating someone else... Collaborative research, on the other hand, requires a willingness to share credit." more»

STUDY: The Cultural Work of Learning Disabilities

"Culturally and educationally, the United States specializes in the production of kinds of persons described first by ethnic, racial, and linguistic lines and second by supposed mental abilities. Overlaps between the two systems of classification are frequent, systematically haphazard, and often deleterious..." more»

STUDY: Culture as Disability

Human abilities and disabilities are variable social constructions that derive from a culture's sense of development... more» more»
Common sense allows that persons unable to handle a difficult problem can be labeled "disabled." Social analysis shows that being labeled often invites a public response that multiplies the difficulties facing the seemingly unable. Cultural analysis shows that disability refers most precisely to inadequate performances only on tasks that are arbitrarily circumscribed from daily life. Disabilities are less the property of persons than they are moments in a cultural focus. Everyone in any culture is subject to being labeled and disabled. (McDermott & Varenne, 1995)
The world's definitions are one thing and the life one actually lives is quite another. One cannot allow oneself, nor can one's family, friends, or lovers--to say nothing of one's children--to live according to the world's definitions: one must find a way, perpetually, to be stronger and better than that. (James Baldwin, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, 1985)

BOOK: Successful Failure: The School America Builds

We have organized our schools to manufacture individual success and failure... more»
The success and failure system, as a cultural fact, is real in its connections to the political economy, exquisitely detailed in its connections with the everyday behavior of the people who make up the system, and in both these ways massively consequential in the lives of all. Yet it does not have to be this way, and if everyone stopped measuring, explaining, and remediating, school success and failure would in a significant sense disappear. Other ways to stratify would soon evolve, but this evolution would have the virtue of separating education from resource allocation. (Varenne & McDermott, 1998, p. viii)

RESOURCE: Visuwords Graphical Dictionary (free)

Thinkmap folks must be bumming. Here's a free online dictionary and thesaurus widget built on top of the WordNet database... more»

BOOK: Learning and Child Development: A Cultural-Historical Study

An attempt to understand the relation between societal knowledge on the one hand, and children's learning and development of thinking and motives on the other... more»

STUDY: Decision making isn't always as rational as you think (or hope) you think people have more real-life experience with petty crime or with white-tailed deer damaging property? Perhaps reasoning is somehow attentive to one's knowledge of everyday life... more»

CONFERENCE: Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting

SRCD conference in Boston from March 29 to April 1 to include such topics as child development in the rural poor, children’s understanding of truth and lies, neuroscience in anxious children... more» society»

OPINION: Science Studies is Anthropology

A bit of boundary work attempting to equate Latour's pragmatist bent with the field of anthropology... more»

BOOK: Social Identity

Without social identity there is no human world. Without frameworks of similarity and difference, people would be unable to relate to each other in a consistent and meaningful fashion... more»
It is not consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. (Karl Marx)
Identity is produced and reproduced both in discourse -- narrative, rhetoric and representation -- and in the practical, often very material, consequences of identification (Richard Jenkins, 2004, p. 176)

STUDY: Shaky details? Come up with a good story and people might not notice

The use of narrative self-references in ads -- where we get transported into the story line -- seem to make people overlook weak arguments... more»

RESOURCE: Second Life comes to (some) mobile phones

Likely goes into the "just because you (barely) can category"... more»

RESOURCE: Nanocos -- The Card Game of Nanotechnology Concepts

Another effort attempting to ride the motivational wave of gaming for the purposes of learning serious content. Think of it as Po-Ke-Mon focused on really, really small phenomena... more»

ARTICLE: Distance Learning Moves Into 'Second Life' Virtual Classroom

Using Second Life as a context for distance learning in computer science... more»

STUDY: Decision-making -- Demonstration of a link between cognition and motor execution

For the first time, a cellular interaction has been demonstrated between purely cognitive and purely motor information. The study elucidates the mechanisms by which the basal ganglia integrate these two types of information... more»

MEMORIAL: The Resolute Irresolution of Clifford Geertz

In memoriam... more»
So it is hardly to wonder that my work looks like a grasping for patterns in a swirl of change: I was preadapted. My parents were divorced when I was three, and I was dispatched (the verb is appropriate) to live alone with an older woman, a nonrelative, amid the sylvan beauties of the Northern California countryside (a “nonvillage” of three or four hundred farmers, shopkeepers and summer visitors) in the plumb depths of the Great Depression. I was well cared for, and that’s about it, and I was pretty much left to put my life together (not without real help from schoolteachers responding to a bright kid, and, later on, the U. S. Navy, responding to a callow klutz) by myself. Without going on . . . all this predisposed me to becoming, in both life and work, the seeker after a pattern, however fragmentary, amid a swirl of accident, however pervasive. . . . It has never occurred to me, not really being a deep thinker, just a nervous one, to try to resolve this “binary.” I have just sought to live with it. Pitched early into things, I assumed, and I still assume, that what you are supposed to do is keep going with whatever you can find lying about to keep going with: to get from yesterday to today without foreclosing tomorrow. And it does, that resolute irresolution, indeed show in my work. (Geertz, 2005)

BOOK: Clifford Geertz by His Colleagues

These edited speeches cover a broad range of topics, including Geertz's views on morality, cultural critique, interpretivism, time and change, Islam, violence, and cognition... more»

RESOURCE: Online Repository of the Works of Clifford Geertz

Comprehensive bibliography with full text, translations, and media... more»

STUDY: Revealing secret intentions in the brain

With 70% accuracy, it has been demonstrated that measurable brain activity reveals how a person has decided to act in the future... more»

RESOURCE: Massive List of Online Educational Resources

From data structures to Arabic to NOVA science videos, here's a master list of online educational resources... more»

BOOK: The Norton History of the Human Sciences

A comprehensive history of the human sciences--psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science--from their precursors in early human culture to the present... more»

CLASSIC: Dewey - How We Think (1910)

The Google Books effort is making a range of classic volumes available, including this one from Dewey (and others). This is his treatise on how to go about educating minds... more»

BOOK: Why Do Men Barbecue? Recipes for Cultural Psychology

Cultural differences in mental life lie at the heart of any understanding of the human condition. The knowable world is incomplete if seen from any one point of view, incoherent if seen from all points of view at once, and empty if seen from nowhere in particular... more»

RESOURCE: Fieldwork software and other fieldtools

Organizational software for fieldwork... more»

ESSAY: MMOGs as 'Genuine Reality'

William James' thinking applied to the reality of World of Warcraft. What counts as ‘reality’ is the stuff which people care about. What counts as the real here is not the physical but the meaningful -- that is to say, the cultural... more»

ORGANIZATION: Center for Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) at UCLA

Center explores how culture and social relations inform brain development, how the brain organizes cultural and social development, and how development gives rise to a cultural brain... more»

STUDY: Recurrent Middle Ear Infections Can Have A Major Impact On Children's Development

If a child experiences middle ear infection during the crucial first years of life, it may have long-term effects on subsequent language and literacy development... more»

STUDY: Students who believe intelligence can be developed perform better

Students who believed their intelligence could be developed placed a higher premium on learning, believed more in the power of effort, and had more constructive reactions to setbacks in school... more»

STUDY: Action video games sharpen vision 20 percent

"When people play action games, they're changing the brain's pathway responsible for visual processing," says Daphne Bavelier. "These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it. That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life." more»

BOOK: Culture in Mind

Culture must be considered an intrinsic component of the human mind to a degree that most psychologists and even many anthropologists have not recognized... more»
How a people believe the mind works will, we now know, have a profound effect on how in it is compelled to work if anybody is to get on in a culture. And that fact, ironically, may indeed turn out to be a robust cultural universal." — Bruner (p. xvii)

Despite the recognized importance of cultural diversity in understanding the modern world, the emerging science of cognitive psychology has relied far more on experimental psychology, neurobiology, and computer science than on cultural anthropology for its models of how we think.

ARTICLE: Internet Boom in China Is Built on Virtual Fun

Emailing and information browsing are dominant in the U.S. But young people in China play online games, download video and music, enter imaginary worlds and assume online personas. In the United States, roughly 70 percent of Internet users are over the age of 30; in China, it is the other way around -- 70 percent of users here are under 30... more»

OPINION: What are experts optimistic about? Why?

Reasons for optimism: the decline of magic, the tools for cultural production and distribution are in the pockets of youth, the increasing coalescence of scientific disciplines, a proper scientific understanding of irrationality, and humans are quite good at muddling... more»

STUDY: At Split-Second Intervals, Brain Has Sense of History

How the brain tells time: It takes into account information from the immediate past while encoding a specific event... more»

STUDY: When Are Tutorial Dialogues More Effective Than Reading?

Tutors aren't always better than reading a text. Tutorial dialogs are particularly effective when you are learning content that is beyond your current level of understanding when compared to reading... more»

BOOK: Doing Team Ethnography: Warnings and Advice

Lone wolf ethnography has its place, but it also has significant scientific limitations. Team ethnography is a viable alternative, but it comes with numerous practical challenges... more»

Each piece of knowledge that either member of the team acquires speeds up the learning of the other or others. If this is accepted enthusiastically, without rivalry, then any team of whatever composition, but especially one contrasted in sex or age, will be able to do, not twice, but four or five times as much work as one person working alone. However, differential self-esteem and competitiveness are very likely to accompany any field work. (Margaret Mead, 1970, p. 326)

ARTICLE: People learn about health from TV dramas

According to the CDC, nearly nine out of 10 viewers reported learning something about diseases or how to prevent them from television... more» more»

BOOK: Family Mealtime as a Context of Development and Socialization

There are numerous influences of family mealtime on the psychological development of young people. It shapes their communicative expectations, well-being, healthy eating behaviors, vocabulary, explanations, knowledge, and family / community membership. more»

BOOK: The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences

Learning sciences is an interdisciplinary field that studies teaching and learning. The sciences of learning include cognitive science, educational psychology, computer science, anthropology, sociology, liguistics, neuroscience, and other fields. Here's what we know... more»

STUDY: How our minds perceive the minds of others

Perceiving the minds of others seems to run along two independent dimensions: (1) agency associated with self-control, morality and planning and (2) experience with sensations like hunger, pain, and fear... more»
mind survey»

BOOK: Changing Classes: School Reform and the New Economy

This is a detailed look at how schools influence the kind of person a child becomes. How does this play out amidst the forces of globalization, tumultuous changes in local industry, and state and national school reform initiatives... more»

ARTICLE: Welcome to the 36-hour day

Two-thirds of the adult U.S. Internet population watched TV while browsing online last year. Media use is on the rise without declines in the variety of media channels. This is accomplished through more and more multitasking with media... more»

BLOG: Terra Nova

A multiauthor blog about virtual worlds and their implications. Discussing synthetic worlds, MMOs, MMORPGs, Social Worlds, MUDs, MOOs, and MUSHes... more»