How the APA interprets research on gender differences

Read this 1 page article- http://www.apa.org/research/action/difference.aspx

This brief article has a lot to say, however, the following quote is extremely pertinent and therefore deserves attention:

…even where there are patterns of cognitive differences between males and females, “differences are not deficiencies.” She continues, “Even when differences are found, we cannot conclude that they are immutable because the continuous interplay of biological and environmental influences can change the size and direction of the effects some time in the future.”(emphasis mine)

I think too many people, men and women, get bogged down by the idea of differences implying some type of value statement when in fact differences do not need to be viewed this way. When we use the word “equal” we do not mean totally and utterly the same in every facet possible.  If this is the standard of equality, then nothing is truly equal. However, equal has a much deeper meaning as it relates to dignity and intrinsic value as an individual human being. Humans are ends in themselves- not simply means to an end. Nor should our intrinsic value be measured by some external number or outcome. If we measure people’s value merely on what they can produce then we are on a slippery slope to a place that has historically been the cause of much pain and death.  Men and women have differences but so does every individual within each group.

The question to me is not, whether or not our genes and the environment impact our views and behaviors. The question is- which views and behaviors ought we to have? This question presupposes that we have agency to act outside of the restraints of our sociobiological situation and that there is an objective (opinion independent) standard by which to measure good vs. bad (and what a “good” society or individual might look like).  However, this this view immediately throws out naturalistic determinism (no free will) as well as the idea of complete moral relativism. I am under the impression that the vast majority of today’s leading social scientists and psychologists in gender research, take for granted the fact that they are aiming to create a “good” society in the objective sense.  For on their worldview, “good” is simply a social construct and therefore they cannot complain when someone disagrees.

Offensive? It shouldn’t be. True? You tell me.

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The 5:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback

I read a book recently by William Gentry called “Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A guide for new leaders” and he makes the simple but profoundly true observation: “…strive to give five positive pieces of feedback over a period of time before you must deliver a negative one.” he bases this suggestion on research done by relationship experts John and Julie Gotterman in their work investigating successful marriages vs. those ending in divorce. according to the research- the ratio of positive to negative interactions for successful/married couples is typically around 5:1, whereas, unstable marriages show a ratio of 0.8:1.

In his book he also points to research showing how non-verbal communication (facial expression, tone, body gesture and proximity, eye contact, etc..) makes up anywhere between 65%-93% “..of the total emotional interaction between two people.”

I know I needed this reminder!

Study on Speaking to your Children

Read this study article:

http://literacy.rice.edu/thirty-million-word-gap

This tells me to speak to my children and encourage them as much as possible from a young age. The answer to more well-formed children and society is not necessarily more and newer school programs. It starts at home. I don’t agree with all the implications that some might draw from this article but the correlation between poor/bad (not necessarily income bracket) parenting and poor outcomes should speak for itself.