Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kids understand the relationship between humans and other animals

18.05.2010
As early as age 3, children's reasoning about biological world is influenced by cultural beliefs

Parents, educators and developmental psychologists have long been interested in how children understand the relationship between human and non-human animals.

For decades, the consensus was that as children begin reasoning about the biological world, they adopt only one -- markedly "anthropocentric" -- vantage point, favoring humans over non-human animals when it comes to learning about properties of animals.

A new study from Northwestern University researchers challenges this long-held assumption. In two experiments, with the results to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 17, research by Patricia Herrmann, Sandra R. Waxman and Douglas L. Medin in the psychology department in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences examined the reasoning patterns of children as young as three years of age.

The results were striking: Although 5-year-olds adopted an anthropocentric perspective (replicating earlier studies), 3-year-olds showed no hint of anthropocentrism. This outcome, considered in conjunction with recent cross-cultural evidence including Native American children, suggests a new model of development: Human-centered reasoning is not an obligatory starting point for development, as researchers and educators had previously assumed.

Instead, it is an acquired perspective, one that emerges between three and five years of age in children raised in urban environments and one that likely reflects young children's keen sensitivity to the perspectives that are presented to them, however informally, within their communities and in the media for young children (e.g., stories and films in which animals talk, sing and act like humans).

The researchers say that perhaps most importantly, this new evidence has strong and direct implications for early science education.

"If young children's fundamental perspectives on the biological world -- and the place of humans within it -- are sensitive to the experiences, beliefs and practices of their communities, then by the time they enter school, children from different backgrounds may harbor different perspectives," said Sandra Waxman, a co-author and professor of psychology. "If we are to design more effective science curricula, then it is incumbent upon us to understand the diverse perspectives that even the very youngest children bring with them as they enter their classrooms."

Hilary Hurd Anyaso | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>