Gina Stepp has a master's degree in forensic psychology with an emphasis on trauma and resilience. As family and relationships editor for Vision, she examines the role interpersonal connection plays in ensuring human well-being.
Research published in the November 2009 issue of the APS journal Psychological Science may finally reconcile the long-standing debate over whether clear-view or rose-tinted glasses contribute more to happy marriages.
"For a long time, this basic question has been framed in an either-or fashion," note researchers Shanhong Luo and Anthony Snider, both of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Although they add that recent research has begun to reconcile the contradictions in these ostensibly opposite approaches, Luo and Snider see their study as "the first to examine accuracy, positivity bias, and similarity bias in the same study and to show that they all make independent contributions to predicting husbands' and wives' satisfaction, and particularly to predicting perceivers' own satisfaction."
For instance, accuracy proved important when spouses gave feedback, because the individuals in the study functioned better when received feedback was consistent with self-assessments. Similarity bias proved important as well: individual function was higher when spouses overestimated how much they had in common. Positivity bias was neither destructive nor constructive at the newlywed stage, although the researchers speculated that its beneficial effects would be more likely to show up later in a marriage.
One particularly interesting finding in this study was that wives tended to score higher across most domains for all three of the perceptual indices. To the researchers, this indicated that "wives tended to be both more accurate and more biased in their perceptions of their spouses than husbands were."
"Contrary to popular conceptions of what it means for a 5-year-old to be ready for kindergarten," says New America Foundation blogger Lisa Guernsey, "most kindergarten teachers are not wishing for rooms full of children who can already identify the letters of the alphabet. What they want instead are children who have learned how to regulate their impulses, follow through on a difficult task and have the self-control to listen to the teacher's directions for a few minutes."
How are skills like self-regulation and self-control learned?
"Research on the importance of building self-regulation skills in young children has been accumulating over the past few years, and some of it is starting to zoom in on the significance of playtime, particularly pretend play scenarios that are child-led but feature teacher input," notes Guernsey.
Just for a moment, however, let's assume parents are as important as teachers in building these necessary skills in children. Could parental input guide the play of children at home, from birth until school age (and beyond)?
A radical idea, perhaps. But it may be just crazy enough to work . . .
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