Friday, May 29, 2009

Patient Children

I wanted to share an interesting New Yorker article about research into being patient. An experiment allowed kids either to have one marshmallow, or to be patient and get two. Kids were filmed and the researcher found that the ones who managed to wait often adopted a specific technique to put the marshmallow out of their mind: covering their eyes, looking away, and so on. Ones who tried will-power -- even staring at it with determined resolution -- did not do as well. And then, there were some who did not even try.

Then, years later, the researcher did a follow-up survey. Parents of the "patient" kids reported significantly less problems at school (not surprising). However, he also found the "patient" group had SAT scores that averages 200 points higher than the group that could not wait.

Of course, this does not mean the "patient" group is somehow better off, nor that they will be more successful. I think this is one of those areas where neither stereotype is ideal, and that choosing between one or the other is most likely a false dichotomy.

The article has other interesting details: for instance, research into whether the ability to wait is "environmental" or "genetic". It's a long 6-pages, but thought-provoking for a parent.

HT: Carpe Diem

Thursday, May 28, 2009

TV Censorship

Z watches many of his TV shows over the internet these days. It is the modern way to"time shift". Channels like Cartoon network and Nickelodeon serve up videos on demand, with ads included.

Occasionally, he will go to some international site and watch a Japanese version. Sometimes this is because a Japanese (original) episode does not make it to the U.S. version. At other times because they're slightly different, and he wants to see the original.

He tells me about some of the differences.
  • In one Yu-Gi-Oh show, they mentioned that some guy had died. In the Japanese version, they actually showed him being smacked by a car.
  • Blood goes away in some U.S. episodes where it is gory in the Japanese ones (I guess cartoon violence is allowed for most TV rating categories if there's no blood and death; but if you have those two evil things you may not get the lower "Y7" ratings)
  • In one Japanese episode some evil scientist creates some pill to give him powers, but this was changed to something else in the U.S. version, and the wikis say it is because of the "drug reference"
Mostly silly changes like that!