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Wed, 20 Oct 2021
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Bulb

Babies raised in bilingual homes learn new words differently than infants learning one language

Infants who are raised in bilingual homes learned two similar-sounding words in a laboratory task at a later age than babies who are raised in homes where only one language is spoken. This difference, which is thought to be advantageous for bilingual infants, appears to be due to the fact that bilingual babies need to devote their attention to the general associations between words and objects (often a word in each language) for a longer period, rather than focusing on detailed sound information. This finding suggests an important difference in the mechanics of how monolingual and bilingual babies learn language.

These findings are from new research conducted at the University of British Columbia and Ottawa. They appear in the September/October 2007 issue of the journal Child Development.

Immigration, official language policies, and changing cultural norms mean that many infants are being raised bilingually. Because nearly all experimental work in infant language development has focused on children who are monolingual, relatively little is known about the learning processes involved in acquiring two languages from birth.

Bulb

'Deviancy training' among friends may lead to more trouble

group therapy
Friendships can be beneficial, but watch out when talk about deviant topics is the best way to get a laugh in an adolescent relationship, because such interaction may well lead to questionable behavior down the road, say University of Oregon researchers.

For their study, published in the September/October 2007 issue of the journal Child Development, the researchers videotaped 16- and 17-year-olds as they interacted with close friends. The UO team was seeking to find mechanisms behind the idea that antisocial behavior is predictable based on the behavior of peers. Subjects were divided into three groups of 40 based on their earlier classifications as normal, late-starters or persistently antisocial in an on-going longitudinal study.

The findings present "a mixed bag," with both good and bad aspects of friendship, said co-author Thomas J. Dishion, professor of psychology and school psychology. "The study speaks to the power of peer influence in shaping outcomes," said lead author Timothy F. Piehler, a doctoral student in psychology.

People

When children are upset, mothers and fathers make a difference

When a young child experiences negative emotions - anger, anxiety, or distress - can his parents respond in a way that fosters the child's emotional development?

A new University of Illinois study in the September/October issue of Child Development suggests that young children benefit when mothers and fathers differ in their reactions to their child's negative emotions.

"When a young child is angry, sad, or frustrated, the best scenario seems to be if one parent comforts and problem-solves with the child while the other parent hangs back a bit and gives the child space to process what he's feeling," said Nancy McElwain, a U of I assistant professor of human development.

When that happens, the child is more likely to gain experience in understanding and controlling his emotions. He may also benefit from seeing different types of reactions, realize that there are different ways of looking at things, and thus develop more complex thinking about and understanding of emotions, she said.

Arrow Up

Study finds that U.S. high school dropout rate higher than thought and hasn't improved in years

University of Minnesota sociologists have found that the U.S. high school dropout rate is considerably higher than most people think -- with one in four students not graduating -- and has not improved appreciably in recent decades. Their findings point to discrepancies in the two major data sources on which most governmental and non-governmental agencies base their findings.

The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) is widely used by governmental and non-governmental sources -- from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to the White House -- to report high school dropout rates. The CPS paints a rosy picture, showing dropout rates at about 10 percent in recent years and declining some 40 percent over the past generation. On the other hand, measures of high school completion based on the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data survey (CCD) paint a darker picture, with high school completion rates holding steady at about 75 percent in recent decades.

Health

Japan's Minamata Disease still lingers

The dawn is still only a faint glow beyond distant mountains, but fisherman Akinori Mori and his wife, Itsuko, are already hard at work on their boat, reeling in nets of squid, fish and crabs.

Nothing about this placid scene reveals that Japan's worst environmental disaster unfolded here.

Red Flag

Bristol-Myers Squibb to pay $515 million for doctor kickback scheme

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and its subsidiary, Apothecon, have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle a broad array of federal and state civil allegations involving their drug marketing and pricing practices, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said today.

Comment: "And don't worry investors. We'll recover the money in more straight forward ways."


Ambulance

Superbugs claim 427 lives over past five years in Northern Ireland

Two of the deadliest hospital superbugs have helped cause the deaths of at least 427 patients in Northern Ireland over the past five years, it was revealed last night.

The serious threat of hospital- acquired infections was underlined by new Government figures which detail how many deaths have been officially registered as linked to MRSA and Clostridium Difficile since 2002.

Red Flag

Avian flu, H7N3, confirmed in Saskatchewan

Avian influenza has been confirmed at a large chicken farm near Regina, officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Thursday.

The H7N3 strain of the virus found at Pedigree Poultry at Regina Beach is fatal to birds, but is not dangerous to humans, the agency said. All 50,000 birds at the farm will be destroyed with carbon dioxide gas over the next few days.

©CBC
Saskatchewan farmers produced about 23 million chickens in 2005, according to the provincial Agriculture Department.

Ambulance

Arizona Boy Dies Of Rare Infection, Naegleria fowleri

A 14-year-old Lake Havasu boy has become the sixth victim to die nationwide this year of a microscopic organism that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain.

Aaron Evans died Sept. 17 of Naegleria fowleri, an organism doctors said he probably picked up a week before while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu.

Heart

How the Heart Can Rule the Head

Many philosophers have argued that people make decisions about what's right and wrong based on moral principles and rational thought. But other philosophers--and more recently, some psychologists and neuroscientists--have argued that there's more to the story. When faced with a moral dilemma, these scholars say, we rely on emotional reactions as well as our powers of reasoning. In a study of brain damage, published today, neuroscientists report evidence that emotions indeed exert a powerful influence on moral judgments.

In the new study, Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and colleagues examined moral reasoning in six people who had damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), a brain region that regulates emotions. The researchers presented the patients with moral dilemmas that forced them to decide whether it was acceptable to sacrifice one person's life to save several others. For example, participants had to decide whether to flip a switch that diverts a runaway trolley from a track leading to five workers to a track leading to just one worker. The researchers also gauged the decisions of 12 people without brain damage and 12 patients with damage to brain regions unconnected to emotion.