Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Life-Span Development

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-04-24
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
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The Taking Sides Collection on McGraw-Hill Create™ includes current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. This Collection contains a multitude of current and classic issues to enhance and customize your course. You can browse the entire Taking Sides Collection on Create, or you can search by topic, author, or keywords. Each Taking Sides issues is thoughtfully framed with Learning Outcomes, an Issue Summary, an Introduction, and an Exploring the Issue section featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection, Is There Common Ground?, and Additional Resources and Internet References. Go to McGraw-Hill Create™ at www.mcgrawhillcreate.com, click on the "Collections" tab, and select The Taking Sides Collection to browse the entire Collection. Select individual Taking Sides issues to enhance your course, or access and select the entire Buskirk-Cohen: Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Lifespan Development, 5/e ExpressBook for an easy, pre-built teaching resource by clicking here. An online Instructor's Resource Guide with testing material is available for each Taking Sides volume. Using Taking Sides in the Classroom is also an excellent instructor resource. Visit the Create Central Online Learning Center at www.mhhe.com/createcentral for more details.

Table of Contents

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Lifespan Development, 5 Edition

Table of Contents

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Lifespan Development, 5 Edition


Issue 1. Does the Cultural Environment Influence Lifespan Development More Than Our Genes?
YES: Rachael Jack et al., from "Facial Expressions of Emotion Are Not Culturally Universal", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2012)
NO: Gary Marcus, from "Making the Mind: Why We've Misunderstood the Nature-Nurture Debate", Boston Review (2003/2004)
Many believe that emotions are biologically hardwired; however, the research from Rachel Jack and colleagues questions that belief. The researchers compared facial expressions of emotions of individuals from Western and Eastern cultures, finding differences that highlight the influence of culture on how we represent emotions. Psychologist and researcher Gary Marcus asserts that research clearly demonstrates how a relatively small number of genes influence our environmental learning by “cascading” to determine the paths of our behavioral development.
Issue 2. Is Chinese Parenting Culturally Distinct?
YES: Amy Chua, from "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior", The Wall Street Journal (2011)
NO: Markella B. Rutherford, from "The Social Value of Self-Esteem", Society (2011)
The author of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother discusses strategies to achieve success in childrearing, highlighting the techniques of “Chinese” mothers. She argues that raising successful children is less about bolstering their self-esteem and more about instilling disciplined work habits and high standards, values that are important to academic and life success. Sociologist Markella B. Rutherford instead sees the “Tiger Mother” idea as just another example of the types of privileged parenting that ultimately prioritizes self-confidence, self-esteem, and perpetuates differences more dependent on class than on culture.
Issue 3. Should Happiness Be Our Goal?
YES: John Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs, from "World Happiness Report 2013", New York: UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2013)
NO: Sharon Begley, from "Happiness: Enough Already", Newsweek (2008)
In their introduction to the World Happiness Report, John Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs argue for the need to assess happiness on a global level. They describe scientific approaches to the study of happiness- from the perspectives of psychologists, economists and others- and link it to sustainable development goals. Reporter Sharon Begley does not dispute the importance of happiness, but argues for a moderate approach to positive psychology, Moreover, she suggests that that there is an evolutionary need to experience negative emotions.
Issue 4. Is Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant an Unnecessary Risk to Prenatal Development?
YES: Phyllida Brown, from "Drinking for Two", New Scientist Magazine (2006)
NO: Julia Moskin, from "The Weighty Responsibility of Drinking for Two", The New York Times (2006)
Science writer Phyllida Brown maintains that even a small amount of alcohol can damage a developing fetus and cites new research indicating that any alcohol consumed during pregnancy may be harmful. Journalist Julia Moskin argues that there are almost no studies on the effects of moderate drinking during pregnancy and that limited quantities of alcohol are unlikely to have much effect.
Issue 5. Is Breastfeeding Inevitably Best for Healthy Development?
YES: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, from "The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding", (2011)
NO: Julie E. Artis, from "Breastfeed at Your Own Risk", Contexts (2009)
As part of a broad mandate to advocate for public health, the U.S. Surgeon General cites numerous benefits of breastfeeding as part of “call to action” oriented toward increasing the practice among new mothers. Sociologist Julie E. Artis argues that the broad promotion of breastfeeding has the potential to unfairly stigmatize women who do not breastfeed while overstating the benefits.
Issue 6. Is Co-sleeping Safe for Babies?
YES: Wendy Middlemiss, from "Bringing the Parent Back into Decisions about Nighttime Care", Clinical Lactation (2013)
NO: Patricia G. Schnitzer, Theresa M. Covington, Heather K. Dykstra, from "Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths: Sleep Environment and Circumstances", American Journal of Public Health (2012)
Educational psychologist Wendy Middlemiss advocates that healthcare providers discuss options of nighttime care with parents, rather than providing specific advice that may conflict with parents’ beliefs and preferences. Furthermore, she discusses ways for healthcare providers address infant safety and health that best match each family. Patricia Schnitzer and colleagues analyzed data from sleep-related sudden unexpected infant deaths. They found that 70% of infants were not sleeping in a crib or on their back when found; many were sharing a sleep surface and/or sleeping with an adult. These findings stress the importance of infant sleep environment.
Issue 7. Do Innate Gender Differences Influence How Children Learn?
YES: Kelley King, Michael Gurian, and Kathy Stevens, from "Gender-Friendly Schools", Educational Leadership (2010)
NO: Lise Eliot, from "The Myth of Pink and Blue Brains", Educational Leadership (2010)
Kelley King, Michael Gurian, and Kathy Stevens, all affiliated with an institute that advocates for accommodating gender differences in learning, identify developmental differences between boys and girls that are deep enough to merit distinct educational practices. Lise Eliot explains how small gender differences in infancy become magnified through parental interactions with their children. She argues that teachers, as well, need to be aware of how they treat boys and girls so they do not exacerbate gender stereotypes.
Issue 8. Is Preschool Education Worthwhile?
YES: Hirokazu Yoshikawa et al., from "Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education", Society for Research in Child Development and Foundation for Child Development (2013)
NO: David J. Armor and Sonia Sousa, from "The Dubious Promise of Universal Preschool", National Affairs (2014)
Hirokazu Yoshikawa led a team of researchers from the Foundation for Child Development in an examination of the current research on early childhood education. They find that scientific research supports the academic, social, emotional and economic benefits of preschool. Professors David Armor and Sonia Sousa, in contrast, point to disappointing results from the existing federal preschool program Head Start. They do not believe research overwhelmingly supports the benefits of preschool.
Issue 9. Are Violent Video Games Necessarily Bad for Children?
YES: Craig A. Anderson, from "Violent Video Games and Other Media Violence", Pediatrics for Parents (2010)
NO: Cheryl K. Olsen, Lawrence Kutner, and Eugene Beresin, from "Children and Video Games: How Much Do We Know?", Psychiatric Times (2007)
Psychologist and researcher Craig A. Anderson finds that violent video game play consistently associates with aggression and problematic behavior, arguing that there is no good reason for making them available to children. Cheryl K. Olsen, Lawrence Kutner, and Eugene Beresin have all been affiliated with a Harvard Medical School center devoted to studying mental health and the media. In their work they recognize the potential risks of violent video games, but find that most children play video games in ways that pose little risk and offer some potential benefit.
Issue 10. Should We Try to "Cure" Autism?
YES: Ruth Padawer, from "The Kids Who Beat Autism", The New York Times (2014)
NO: Aaron Rothstein, from "Mental Disorder or Neurodiversity", The New Atlantis (2012)
Reporter Ruth Padawer describes how applied behavior analysis (A.B.A.) has seemingly “cured” some children of autism. She profiles these children, showcasing their individual responses to therapeutic programs. However, medical student Aaron Rothstein cautions that autism might be considered an example of neurodiversity, rather than a disorder. He describes how and why many autism advocates argue against the idea of a “cure.” Instead, the focus of research should be on better understanding the complexity of human behavior.
Issue 11. Does the Adolescent Brain Make Risk Taking Inevitable?
YES: Laurence Steinberg, from "Risk Taking in Adolescence: New Perspectives from Brain and Behavioral Science", Current Directions in Psychological Science (2007)
NO: Robert Epstein, from "The Myth of the Teen Brain", Scientific American Mind (2007)
Although adolescent risk taking has proved difficult to study and explain, psychology professor Laurence Steinberg claims brain science is now demonstrating that basic biological changes explain much about the issue. Robert Epstein claims that difficulties in adolescence are better explained by cultural factors than by a “teenage brain.” He provides examples of how genes and the environment shape the brain over time. Epstein cautions that images of brain activity do not identify causes, just correlations.
Issue 12. Is There a Sexting Epidemic?
YES: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Cosmogirl.com, from "Sex and Tech: Results from a Survey of Teens and Young Adults", National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (2008)
NO: Joyce Kerstens and Wouter Stol, from "Receiving Online Sexual Requests and Producing Online Sexual Images: The Multifaceted and Dialogic Nature of Adolescents’ Online Sexual Interactions", Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace (2014)
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com commissioned a survey to examine sexting. Over 1,000 adolescents and young adults responded to an online survey. The results from this survey suggest that a significant number of adolescents have engaged in sexting. Researchers at the Cybersafety Research Group analyzed data from a national survey among 4,453 Dutch adolescents. They compared the prevalence of receiving online sexual requests with the prevalence of producing online sexual images, finding that receiving sexual requests is common while producing sexual images is relatively rare.
Issue 13. Is There a "Narcissism Epidemic" among Contemporary Young Adults?
YES: Jean M. Twenge, from "The Age of Anxiety? Birth Cohort Change in Anxiety and Neuroticism, 1952-1993", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2000)
NO: Pew Research Center, from "Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change", Pew Research Center (2010)
Jean Twenge's article presents the results from two meta-analyses examining self-reports of anxiety and neuroticism. Her findings demonstrate that both college students and schoolchildren report increases in these characteristics. She suggests low social connectedness and environmental threats are responsible for these changes. In the overview of this report, the Pew Research Center describes findings on the study of roughly 50 million Millennials. They describe this generation as confident, self-expressive, liberal, positive and open to change—quite different from the negative characteristics often assigned.
Issue 14. Do Religion and Spirituality Mean the Same Thing to Today's College Students?
YES: Diane Winston, from "iFaith in the Amen Corner: How Gen Y Is Rethinking Religion on Campus", Social Science Research Council Essay Forum on the Religious Engagements of American Undergraduates (2007)
NO: Chelsi Creech et al., from "Changing Trends in Ritual Attendance and Spirituality throughout the College Years", Psychology (2013)
Religion scholar Diane Winston describes interacting with students at her university and finding that the students have vibrant religious engagements despite eschewing traditional types of religiosity. The study from Chelsi Creech and colleagues indicates that religion is better understood from a multi-dimensional perspective. They found first-year and upper-class students differed in terms of their religious attendance and reported daily spiritual experiences.
Issue 15. Is Facebook Bad for College Students' Health?
YES: Brian A. Feinstein et al., from "Negative Social Comparison on Facebook and Depressive Symptoms: Rumination as a Mechanism", Psychology of Popular Media Culture (2013)
NO: Amy L. Gonzales and Jeffrey T. Hancock, from "Mirror, Mirror on My Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem", Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (2011)
Researchers Brian Feinstein and colleagues explore the link between use of social networking sites and depressive symptoms. Their study examined undergraduate students’ use of Facebook. They argue that negatively comparing oneself with others is linked with rumination, which is linked with depression. The research from Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock presents a different view of the impact of social networking sites on mental health. Their research demonstrates how viewing one’s Facebook profile actually enhances self-esteem through selective self-presentation.
Issue 16. Do Adults Need to Place More Value on Marriage?
YES: W. Bradford Wilcox et al., from "Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences", Institute for American Values (2011)
NO: Brenda McKerson, from "Raising the Next Generation: What's Gender Got to Do with It?", Plaza: Dialogues in Language and Literature (2014)
Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox led a team of prominent family scholars to draw conclusions about the contemporary state of marriage as an institution, and the consequences of being married. They conclude that although marriage patterns are changing, traditional marriages still benefit adults and society. Brenda McKerson draws parallels between racial discrimination in the 1960’s and discrimination faced by same-sex couples today. She argues that research on “non-traditional” couples often reflects heterosexist norms. Furthermore, McKerson believes that as generations become more accepting of different family structures, research findings will change to reflect this acceptance.
Issue 17. Should Grandparents Have Visitation Rights to Their Grandchildren?
YES: Lixia Qu et al., from "Grandparenting and the 2006 Family Law Reforms", Family Matters (2011)
NO: Rachel Dunifon and Ashish Bajracharya, from "The Role of Grandparents in the Lives of Youth", Journal of Family Issues (2012)
Lixia Qu and colleagues review Australian data on grandparent-grandchild involvement before and after the 2006 legal reforms. They find that that family law reforms are consistent with parental beliefs about grandparent involvement. However, they caution that the reforms do not address many practicalities, including knowledge about the legal system. However, the research of Rachel Dunifon and Ashish Bajracharya, does not find clear evidence that grandparents influence the well-being of their grandchildren. They find that distance, the parent’s relationship with the grandparent and child, and age of child and parent all contribute to the quality of the grandparent-grandchild relationship.
Issue 18. Is "Mild Cognitive Impairment" Too Similar to Normal Aging to be a Relevant Concept?
YES: Janice E. Graham and Karen Ritchie, from "Mild Cognitive Impairment: Ethical Considerations for Nosological Flexibility in Human Kinds", Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology (2006)
NO: Ronald C. Petersen, from "Mild Cognitive Impairment Is Relevant", Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology (2006)
Philosophers Janice E. Graham and Karen Ritchie raise concerns that rigidly defining Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) as a disorder associated with aging artificially creates the harmful impression that the conditions of old age are merely biomedical problems. Medical doctor and researcher Ronald C. Petersen has been a prominent proponent of defining MCI as an intermediate stage between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. In this selection he counters Graham and Ritchie by emphasizing the usefulness of MCI as a diagnosis.
Issue 19. Should We Try to "Cure" Old Age?
YES: Michael J. Rae et al., from "The Demographic and Biomedical Case for Late-Life Interventions in Aging", Science Translational Medicine (2010)
NO: Ezekiel J. Emanuel, from "Why I Hope to Die At 75", The Atlantic (2014)
Michael J. Rae was lead author on an article presenting the position a group of prominent antiaging scholars. They promote more funding and support for what they consider promising research directions towards slowing or even curing aging. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and bioethicist, presents a contrasting view. He argues against an ever-expanding lifespan. Instead, his believes this article suggest our focus should be on maximizing our quality of life and accepting the inevitability of death.

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