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Sat, 19 Sep 2020
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Magic Wand

Children's ability to describe past event develops over time

In the first study to examine how children talk about the time-related features of their experiences--when, how often, in what order events occur--researchers have found intriguing changes as children grow older. The study's findings may have implications for understanding these aspects of cognitive development as well as for questioning child witnesses and victims.

The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the University of Cambridge. It appears in the July/August 2007 issue of the journal Child Development.

The researchers analyzed forensic interviews of 250 4- to 10-year-old children who were alleged victims of sexual abuse, focusing on the kinds of references to time they made when describing these real-life events.

The children made increasing numbers of references to time-related characteristics of experienced events as they grew older, the researchers found. However, witnesses under 10 seldom mentioned specific times or dates, or what happened before reported events or actions. There were dramatic increases to such references at the age of 10.

References to the sequence of events or parts of events were most common, and their increase with age may be related to children's developing capability to elaborate. Children were more likely to mention time spontaneously when asked to recall what happened than when they were asked specific recognition questions. This is pertinent because information retrieved from memory by recall is much more likely to be accurate than information retrieved in response to questions that ask children to select among options offered by the interviewer (such as "Did he ..."" or "Was it x or y"").

Question

How do newcomers make changes in long-standing groups?

Research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by SAGE

Virtually everyone who joins a new group is sensitive to the fact that, as a newcomer, he or she must tread carefully for a while, keeping a low profile until becoming sufficiently integrated into the group. When they do offer their ideas, criticisms, and suggestions, existing group members typically resist their contributions. Why does that happen and what can be done to overcome that resistance" Research published in the July issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB), from SAGE, explores those questions.

The studies, authored in PSPB by Matthew J. Hornsey, Tim Grice, Jolanda Jetten, Neil Paulsen, and Victor Callan (all at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), examined how groups responded to identical criticisms of the group presented by both newcomers and old-timers. In every instance, the newcomers' statements aroused less agreement and more negativity than the same comments delivered by long-term members. As a result, old-timers were more influential in persuading others than the newcomers were.

Health

Over 160 in hospital after phosphorus spill in west Ukraine

Ukraine's Health Ministry said Friday 164 people, including 34 children, have been hospitalized since a toxic yellow phosphorus spill in the west of the country Monday, and more patients are expected.

A freight train carrying yellow phosphorus derailed and caught fire in the Lvov Region late Monday. Authorities called the accident the country's worst man-made disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl tragedy, but insisted that no neighboring countries were at risk.

Medics are checking up on local residents, the ministry said, adding that about 800 people have been evacuated from the affected area. The administration in the city of Lvov said 96 residential areas were in a potentially dangerous zone.

Question

Fourth child in Perth dies from mystery infection

West Australian health authorities are desperately trying to find the cause of an illness that has killed four young children in Perth.

The WA Health Department today announced a fourth child had died from a similar cause of illness as three who died two weeks ago.

Question

Three Perth children killed by flu-bacteria combo

Three Perth children who died within 24 hours of falling ill had contracted a combination of a flu strain and a pneumonia-causing bacterial infection, the West Australian Health Department says.

The department's Communicable Disease Control director Dr Paul Van Buynder said all three children were under the age of five.

Crusader

$75,000 Offered For MD to Publicly Drink Vaccine Additives

Jock Doubleday, director of the California non-profit corporation Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc., has offered $75,000 to the first medical doctor or pharmaceutical company CEO who publicly drinks a mixture of standard vaccine additives.

Attention

Bush's War on Women Is a War on Science

The veil over the Bush administration's war on women's reproductive health was pulled back recently by the president's own former surgeon general. When Richard H. Carmora told Congress he was muzzled by the administration when he wanted to speak out on issues of sex and science, he highlighted one of the news media's major failures over the past seven years.

Magic Wand

New mechanism found for memory storage in brain

Our experiences - the things we see, hear, or do - can trigger long-term changes in the strength of the connections between nerve cells in our brain, and these persistent changes are how the brain encodes information as memory. As reported in Neuron this week, Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a new biochemical mechanism for memory storage, one that may have a connection with addictive behavior.

Previously, the long-term changes in connection were thought to only involve a fast form of electrical signaling in the brain, electrical blips lasting about one-hundredth of a second. Now, neuroscience professor David Linden, Ph.D., and his colleagues have shown another, much slower form of electrical signaling lasting about a second can also be persistently changed by experience.

Bomb

"I think in 10 years time we will ask ourselves what we were thinking giving these children amphetamines."

Children with the behavioural condition ADHD are continuing to be prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, despite an ongoing investigation.

BBC Scotland has learned a review of the medical guidelines used by doctors to diagnose and treat ADHD will not be available until March 2008.

Parents groups and education experts have claimed children could be prescribed the medication needlessly.

They have called for the review to be urgently accelerated.

An assessment of doctors' procedures was launched in 2004 after mounting concern over a tenfold increase in Ritalin prescription rates.

Magic Wand

Culture shapes how brain interprets signals

Joining the thumb and index finger while spreading out the remaining fingers may mean "OK" for Americans, but how the gesture is perceived may change as people from different cultures interact, a new study has found.

Researchers at UCLA studying the response to hand gestures say brain activity depends on both the conveyor of the message and the gesture itself.

In a study published Wednesday in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One, UCLA researchers Istvan Molnar-Szakacs and Marco Iacoboni found subjects responded more strongly to cultural gestures when they were performed by an actor of a similar culture.

"Culture has a measurable influence on our brain and, as a result, our behavior," Molnar-Szakacs said in a statement. "Researchers need to take this into consideration when drawing conclusions about brain function and human behavior."