On April 22, many citizens, researchers, and clinicians engaged in the #MarchforScience across the world to promote how science shapes our lives and improves society. According to the official March for Science website, the march was a celebration of science.
“People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.” – March for Science
In an interview with PBS NewsHour (click here to read the full story: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/people-joining-skipping-march-science/), I discussed my reasons for joining the March for Science. As a psychologist, I am fully aware of the role that psychological science plays in our lives. I've had the opportunity to talk with policy makers in D.C. about the benefits of psychological science to help understand and address issues in society. The American Psychological Association also officially supported the march in D.C. and for decades have supported the use of science in policy decisions on Capital Hill. Here is a video on how psychological science has helped society.
Tips on Talking With Policy Makers About Science
In a previous post, I have discussed some strategies on advocacy. In my years of engaging in advocacy, these tops have been helpful in getting my messages across to policy makers.
You can visit the APA website for more information on advocacy.
Copyright 2017 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a group of developmental disorders. ASD includes a wide range, “a spectrum,” of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability. Data shows that identification of ASD is on the rise and approximately 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with ASD (1 in 42 boys).
People with ASD often have these characteristics:
Below are some resources are learning about ASD
Copyright 2017 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.
As a psychologist who works primarily with children and their families, I occasionally have discussions about appropriate discipline and if parents should engaging in punishment such as spanking. In a recent post from the American Psychological Association (APA), former APA president and psychologist Dr. Alan Kazdin discussed the use of punishment. Below is a brief synopsis from Dr. Kazdin's article.
Punishment in Brief
As a general rule, punishment is not a very effective way of changing behavior, at least in the usual way it is administered. By punishment, I refer to negative consequences after certain behavior (e.g., gentle reprimand, lecture, shouting, or hitting) or removing some positive consequence (e.g., placing the child in time out or away from desirable events, taking away a privilege).
As an aside, gentle, rational, and measured reasoning with a child (e.g., “We do not do that [behavior] in this house,” “What if your sister ruined your toys?” or “You, just violated a Kantian imperative”) are wonderful to teach reasoning and to model parent reasonableness under fire but not very effective as behavior-change techniques.
How to Eliminate Behaviors without Punishment
There is no evidence that punishment is really needed to achieve parent goals or to discipline children. That is a stark statement and saying that it has a strong research base is no consolation.
Here is what we know. There are ways of eliminating behavior that involve directly developing and reinforcing behaviors that are opposite to or incompatible with the behavior one wants to eliminate. The non-technical term is reinforcing positive opposites. This is based on many technical procedures (several differential reinforcement schedules) that have been well studied in human and nonhuman animal research (see references). Essentially, the key point is developing the behavior one wishes rather than focusing on what to eliminate.
Click here to view the original post on Psychology Benefits Society.
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Dr. Turner is a licensed psychologist with expertise in behavioral pediatrics, child mental health, disruptive behavior disorders, and minority mental health. He is also certified as a National Register Health Service Psychologist.