Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

A Little Less Conversation: The Effect of Busy Parents on a Child’s Ability to Talk

In society|BOOK on January 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Results published today from a YouGov survey suggest that playing digital games and watching television could decrease children’s ability to speak and understand language clearly.

Jean Gross, who has been coined the “communication champion” for children, claims that the less time children spend with their parents, the more likely they are to have difficulty in learning to talk.  The educational psychologist also expressed concern with study findings that communicate a risk of an increase in developmental disorders and crime, if children are not helped.

Furthermore, the results state that boys are twice as likely to struggle than girls. According to the survey, a quarter of all boys have language difficulties, whereas only 13% of girls share these problems. This is highlighted in relation to the first word spoken, as 34% of girls spoke their first word before reaching the age of 9 months, compared to 27% of boys. And considering that most first words were a reference to a parent i.e. “dada, daddy”, it is clear that parenting styles have high impact on language development.

Gross believes that children, “exposed to screens of all kinds” are suffering from a lack of face-to-face interaction with their parents, and that this could be significantly due to financial issues. Parents who provide their children with high-priced game consoles are automatically increasing the likelihood of spending more time away from their children.  Financial pressure has proved to be a notable factor in this investigation, as children from richer families were shown to enjoy story telling by parents more than children from less affluent families.

Following the study, only 54% of the children who had problems received help from a speech and language therapist but 23% of children received no help.

The Removal of Minimum Payment = Pay More?

In society|BOOK on December 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm

An ongoing programme of research has found that removing the minimum payment can increase the amount that credit card holders pay monthly. Dr. William Matthews, a Lecturer from the Department of Psychology (University of Essex) is currently in collaboration with Dr. Neil Stewart (University of Warwick), investigating these findings further.

Dr. Matthews states that “small changes in a credit card bill can produce large and unexpected changes in amount people choose to pay”.  By removing the minimum payment, individuals are biased into paying less than they otherwise would.  Although a small minority are protected, in the long term people are getting into more debt. These are the main findings in Dr. Stewart’s experiment which was published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology earlier this year.

The most recent experiment, which follows from previous findings, began in April 2009 and has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.  The study has analysed real statements from 11 credit card providers, as well as providing online participants from market research company websites with pretend credit card bill scenarios.

As a result of these findings, both Dr. Matthews and Dr. Stewart have been involved in conversation with the Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.  There has been discussion of a new white paper detailing changes to the minimum payment.  However, the changes could come with a risk.  Dr. Matthews explains that, “if you make arbitrary changes, you may have effects that you are not expecting”.  People could ultimately be worse off, paying more interest.

The consultation period ends in January 2010.

Turner Prize Entry: Enrico David

In art|BOOK on November 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm


By Catherine McGuire

David is a contemporary surrealist who creates rich and profoundly original painting, drawing and sculpture. Enrico David has been nominated for his solo exhibitions How Do You Love Dzzzzt By Mammy? at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, and Bulbous Marauder at the Seattle Art Museum. However these are just facts. In order to understand Enrico’s work, you must experience it.

Let me paint you a picture in words. Imagine a featureless white rectangular room; insert a black oblong stage, half a metre high, stretching from one corner to the other. The stage is set for a piecemeal of images. On the right there is a huge painting on canvas, a head in the middle occupied with pornographic thoughts, failing to be released through the tiny slit that forms its mouth. All that comes out is the insidious painting to its left, a figure in the shadows banging a drum in flurry of hands, resembling Günter Grasses Tin Drum.

A rectangular box stands close by with the picture of disturbing disfigured dolls arranged in all shapes and sizes, peering down a trap door at the paper cut out of a man in the foetal position, dressed as a baby. Stage left a human sized canvas ellipses the side, portraying a deranged red head holding onto a pole, accompanied by a man in a turban in a pot on its right (which looks remarkably like Noel Fielding in The Mighty Boosh). Centre stage lays the deformed black body of a faceless man, is you can call it a man, lying disfigured across the stage, connecting these installations with this stretched arms and legs.

‘This must be the work of a mad man,’ are the first thoughts that flash through my head, disconcerted by the dark figures, the disembodied shapes and most of all the artist rendition of himself in the form of the two deformed manikins, that resemble neither man nor animal, one positioned in the audience and the other staring out from the stage.

Yet the more I regarded Enrico’s work the more I became fascinated with the psychological meaning behind each carefully positioned composition. The theatre became a challenge of comprehension. What is it the artist wants me to see?

Through out Enrico’s work there is a presiding theme concerning the body. The human form is rarely presented as a unified whole. Instead it is fragmented, deformed, creating a sense of physical and emotional crisis proliferating, which contributes to the uneasy exchange between the viewer and art work. Enrico is confronting the viewer with images that the on lookers may not want to confront themselves, such as the fear of ‘disfigurement’, not socially fitting in to the common ‘norm,’ and in the process being found out.

Enrico David has said that his art works purpose is ‘To organise and give structure to the often chaotic nature of (his)emotional response to reality.’ This theatre of the mind is like a foreign language one tries to decipher, but can not fully comprehend. The artist represents his own incomprehension with his presence as manikin, with in and with out this production. There are no translators. One is lead to theorise, with out ant ‘true’ answer at the end, and this is the fun of Enrico’s work.

This is definitely a must see, and more importantly, a must experience. I will leave it up to you to go and experience the Turner Prize and formulate your own thoughts on this artist in particular, as words are not enough.