Sunday, April 16, 2017

Your Kids See Things You Don't - Science

The Rockhouse thinks this is a really good one regarding adult and juvenile perception since adults have more of a tendency to hold their focus on something while children will notice everything, even when they're told not to do it.  (Science Daily:  Children notice what adults miss, study finds)

Although adults can beat children at most cognitive tasks, new research shows that children's limitations can sometimes be their strength.

In two studies, researchers found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest. In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them -- even when they were told to focus on one particular item. That helped children to notice things that adults didn't catch because of the grownups' selective attention.

- SD

The adult may regard superfluous information as simply extraneous but that's only because it's judged not relevant to the task.  In fact, that sound might be a saber-tooth tiger coming to eat me so all input has value and it's only some of it which is task-oriented.  From the sound of the article thus far, it appears a child is more likely to notice that sound than the adult who is trying to build a fire or whatever.

"That's what we found in our study. Children are extremely curious and they tend to explore everything, which means their attention is spread out, even when they're asked to focus. That can sometimes be helpful."

The results have important implications for understanding how education environments affect children's learning, he said.

- SD

Currently, if a kid's attention wanders, they often call it ADD and then drug the unfortunate tyke.  Presto, another drug-dependent personality is created.

There has to be a discipline or a kid may wind up spending the rest of his life thrashing the air with his hands.

Ref:  "Lather" by Jefferson Airplane (link is to YouTube)

However, discipline and the concomitant obedience drive away or degrade the ability to absorb everything coming at the kid and this would be a major loss to, for example, an Impressionist painter.

Ed:  painters often wind up thrashing the air with their hands

So do we all, mate.  They're more clever about it.

The SD article proceeds with their methodology so the interested student can have a ball with that but we want to know what the researchers concluded from it.

The ability of adults to focus their attention -- and children's tendency to distribute their attention more widely -- both have positives and negatives.

"The ability to focus attention is what allows adults to sit in two-hour meetings and maintain long conversations, while ignoring distractions," Sloutsky said.

"But young children's use of distributed attention allows them to learn more in new and unfamiliar settings by taking in a lot of information."

The fact that children don't always do as well at focusing attention also shows the importance of designing the right learning environment in classrooms, Sloutsky said.

- SD

Sounds way better than drugging them so we're with them so far.

"Children can't handle a lot of distractions. They are always taking in information, even if it is not what you're trying to teach them. We need to make sure that we are aware of that and design our classrooms, textbooks and educational materials to help students succeed.

"Perhaps a boring classroom or a simple black and white worksheet means less distraction and more successful learning," Sloutsky added.

- SD

That sounds cynical but you know it's true if there are windows and birds outside then kids are going to watch them since it doesn't take much to be more interesting than a teacher droning about arithmetic.

However, perhaps the approach is too rigid and how about playing to the kid's strengths.  Since they're absorbing information from everywhere then throw it from everywhere rather than from a single point of focus in the teacher.

Ed:  just how should I do that, Mister Wizard?

How the hell should I know.  You're the young brainiac.  Design it; build it; make it happen.

Ed:  you're talking VR, aren't you?

I might be but, like I said, I'm not the brainiac; I only suggest traditional methods are resulting in a whole lot of kids getting whacked on ADD drugs and subsequently toward mind enhancement drugs since the older hipsters really dig those.

No comments: