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Linguistics Parenting Reviews

Study: Does the name say it all? Investigating phoneme-personality sound symbolism in first names.

air analogue black and white business
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This caught my interest as having a non-cultural name, it stands out. My racial background stands out. In naming Fleur, we wanted something that stood out but wasn’t so strange as to be offputting.

We use a variety of techniques to make sounds that are used to comprise noises. A sonorant has a continuous free-flow tone and is like a vowel or /m/ or /l/ -like sound.

Apparently, certain sounds are associated with certain kinds of things called “sound symbolism.” This is interesting because maybe certain things have certain names not because the name has been passed down through generations but because our brain gravitates to the sounds for the name.

This paper is a look at associations related to phonemes and first names and personality. This sounds kind of astrological to me. The good news they are using Big Five + Honesty-Humility not MBTI.

  1. Participants chose a name containing sonorant or voiceless stops for specific personality traits. Given the this or that, it reveals leanings of a forced binary choice, one of the failings of MBTI. There is no option for a neutral feeling, which might be the most likely choice. Names with sonorants were judged to belong to people who are higher on Emotionality, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness.
  2. In the next experiment, they presented a single name at a time and used a Likert scale to measure the responses. The effect was still present.
  3. In the third experiment, they had people take the HEXACO personality test, then compared to the phonetic transcription of their name. They didn’t find much of a relationship.
  4. They moved sounds around to make up names. This eliminates the possible associations with real people as a possible confound. The effect persisted only now Honesty-Humility showed up as higher and Extraversion lower.
  5. In the final experiment, they were looking to remove likability as a confound.

Sidhu, D. M., Deschamps, K., Bourdage, J. S., & Pexman, P. M. (2019). Does the name say it all? Investigating phoneme-personality sound symbolism in first names. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(9), 1595-1614 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000662

Categories
Parenting

Daredevil

woman in black top and blue shorts on stone under blue sky
Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

This kid has a serious dopamine addiction. Fleur climbed before she walked. She always wants to get as high as possible on her own, but she will also resort to help. (I am her personal cherry picker.) Putting things out of her reach just changes the goal setting.

From a couple months ago in “the dolphin squeal“:

I am finding the kiddo is a daredevil. Things I kind of expected to be shocking and make her scared don’t. She instead lets out a squeal and wants more. Greaaaaaaaaaaat. Dopamine addict.

I blame myself. I encouraged her to love the ceiling fans when she was immobile. There was a song I’d sing which would get her to look at them. When she started to develop the grasping skill, I encouraged her to pull the fans’ chain by holding her up near it. Now that she is both walking and climbing, she has a lot of fascination getting into things by climbing up on them.

I also encouraged her to safely slide off the bed, recliner, and couch back when she was crawling. I feared her falling off them, so I wanted her to do them in a safe way. From there, it was an easy reverse to climb up them.

She can get on the ottoman from which to jump onto the couch. She loves the rush of jumping across the gap. And can clear a couple feet now, but as the distance grows she pauses a bit longer. And falling has ZERO impact on this behavior. It may have something to do with the MORE intense laughter at a near miss. Hard thunks get a good cry, but as soon as she is comforted, she wants back at it with more determination. Warnings get a dubious or defiant look.

This girl will climb up on the couches, end tables, and coffee table. She really wants to climb the baby gates and entertainment center and crib walls. It is only a matter of time before she starts moving things to help boost her. We already are in the realm of needing to have eyes on her at all times.

Categories
Parenting

Exemplar

331117789_49546b992a_zPeople smile at my daughter. She is generally pretty friendly, smiley, and trés adorable.

But, there are certain women who seem to study her more than everyone else. They track her and place their hand on their protruding belly. My wife did the same thing while carrying Fleur. Though, she was far more open about telling people we were expecting and that is why she was staring at their child.

I hope she brings special joy in anticipating how their own child will behave.

Of course, I thought of writing this post when she was particularly challenged. This woman’s smile changed to what I think was determination that their child would not behave this way. It made me smile at her sweet summer child thinking.

Categories
Parenting Reading Reviews

Study: Scholarly culture: How books in adolescence enhance adult literacy, numeracy and technology skills in 31 societies

book shelves book stack bookcase books
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Scholarly culture theory highlights book-oriented socialization, indicated by adolescents’ home library size, as a source of cognitive competencies, skills and knowledge that are valued not only in formal education but also by employers in different places and historical periods. Scholarly culture does not comprise arbitrary cultural signals that identify elite members and earmark them for privileged positions in society: it enhances performance and as such it is valued in various historical circumstances and by modest families as well as the elite.

Growing up, I was surrounded by books. My mother had well over a thousand. As did I by the time I graduated high school. We also spent time at the public, K-12 school, and university libraries. Naturally, my first job was in a library. And, it is only a quirk of luck that I am not a librarian instead of a technologist. Well, an automation librarian. Fleur already has over a couple hundred books.

The study specifically has adults reach back into their memory and recall how many books they had. I worry about this kind of self-reporting because people use books as status symbol might inflate the number.

But, books in the home (as recalled from memory) as an adolescent, the level of literacy, numeracy, and technology skills grew up until about 350. Beyond that, there were not great gains. This seems like another of those Goldilocks things were there is great effect but only to a point. The gains are best from a handful to 80 but still good up until about 350.

In the cohort, people who were between 25 and 65 years of age between 2011 and 2015, grew up with hardly any books, and managed to finish only lower secondary school (9 years) typically performed in the literacy test at about −0.55 of a standard deviation below the mean. Their counterparts with university degrees had roughly average literacy levels (0.00). The same level of literacy was achieved by people who were surrounded by many books in adolescence but whose schooling ended in Year 9 (0.02). So, literacy-wise, bookish adolescence makes up for a good deal of educational advantage.

The effects are seen across culturally diverse countries.

I wonder though, if a robust library system affects how many books a household might have? I feel like we were an aberration for both having thousands of books and spending lots of time in libraries. Perhaps countries or even cities with easy access to books in libraries mean families invest less in personal collections but yet still adhere to scholarly culture?

But, my confirmation bias is excited about this study as it means my intention to surround Fleur with books, read with her, and foster a love of books & research is on the right track.

Got to this study by reading the Smithsonian’s Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind.

Joanna SikoraM. D. R. EvansJonathan Kelley. (2019). Scholarly culture: How books in adolescence enhance adult literacy, numeracy and technology skills in 31 societies. Social Science Research, Volume 77, January 2019, Pages 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.10.003

Categories
Comedy Parenting

Shocked, I tell you, shocked!

"Maggie can't believe that you would have thought otherwise. She is shocked. Shocked!"
Day One Hundred Fifty-four” by maggie-a-day is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Whenever there is an interesting noise, Fleur looks to someone else and does the shocked expression. Raised eyebrows and narrows the lips. Then she turns that into a smile into a smile when I make the “Whaaaaa?” sound.

She does this to loud trucks, someone opening the door, noises from another room, and (of course, my personal favorite) farts.

The world should probably be terrified that she acquires my sense of humor. Early signs tells me we are going to have a lot of fun.

Categories
Discipline Parenting

Defiance of parental authority leads to success?

toddler with red adidas sweat shirt
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Fleur pauses if you say, “Careful!” She complies with commands to help, but… only if she wants to do so. If she does not, then she just continues on with what she wants and ignores my presence. When it gets to her, the babbling back, though, is too utterly cute because it feels like I know what she is saying even though she cannot yet say it. We call this her being “strong-willed.”

A while ago, I noticed articles claiming that strong-willed children are more successful according to science. Intending to bookmark one to remind myself that I want this in my child any time I feel frustrated about this behavior, I found they linked to the actual study which is not behind a paywall.

Spengler, Marion & Brunner, Martin & Damian, Rodica & Lüdtke, Oliver & Martin, Romain & Roberts, Brent. (2015). Student Characteristics and Behaviors at Age 12 Predict Occupational Success 40 Years Later Over and Above Childhood IQ and Parental Socioeconomic Status. Developmental psychology. 51. 10.1037/dev0000025.

Note that this study is using income for occupational success, is longitudinal, and is somewhat self-reported. I do wonder if being willing to admit to “rule breaking and defiance of parental authority” in a study makes a difference to who gets rated strong in that measure. Like, they are so defiant that they are essentially bragging to authorities about doing so. Also, the people talking about their strong-willed kids have toddlers. The study they cite looks at pre-teenagers. Lots of behaviors at ages 2 or 5 or even 8 don’t persist to age 12.

That said, I was pretty defiant of adult authority in school. It did persist from elementary through high school. I guess I can only hope that Fleur keeps it up? That won’t stop me from having her do what I want her to do. I just perhaps might be a bit proud of her doing it.

Also, the article basically seems to be saying that after controlling for IQ, parental socio-economic status, and educational attainment, this rule breaking and defiance of parental authority seemed to be the best predictor of higher income. But, they admit that they don’t really have a good, non-ad hoc explanation so the causality needs to be explored. (Basically, don’t train your kid to have these behaviors until psychology understands why.)

Categories
Parenting Problem Solving

Baby hypothesizing

Saw a testing of a hypothesis. Fleur had a puff in her hand. She offered it to the cat who just looked at it. She paused and then tossed the puff on the floor exactly the same way I earlier tossed some treats for the cat.

This choice made me realize I don’t have the cat eat out of my hand. The puff looks enough like a treat that I agreed with her choice to try the method to see if the cat would go for it.

The test subject still just looked at it. Fleur picked up the puff and tossed it again getting the bounce that I normally get when I do it. Still no reaction from the cat.

Fleur tosses new foods from the high chair to see if the cat will eat it. She also will give the cat a share of foods, though sometimes she doesn’t give the cat any at all. And the cat expects food now. While dog sitting, it only took a day to realize the bounty of a high chair for both baby and elderly dog.

 

Categories
Parenting Psychology

The Recency Effect in children

When Fleur is done with dinner, she often exerts her displeasure at not having food in front of her. Such bad parents that we did not ensure she has just the right amount of food. Basically, if she has more than she wants to eat of something, then she throws it on the floor.

My wife often just gives something else. I prefer to provide options between two different kinds of food. So, this finding that children have a preference for the Recency Effect caught my eye.

Suspecting she might be picking left or right, the first several times I did switch them to see if she picked the same one. (She did.) My goal was to better understand her preferences.

Now, I know I need to design my choices for whether she is picking the second choice being a victim of this bias. Of course, she is not having to overburden her working memory capacity in these decisions. So, it probably does not apply.

Categories
Parenting Problem Solving

Smile timing

Fleur makes us work at times to get great smiles for photos. As she has gotten older, it seemed like she has gotten more crafty about getting more. Then I ran across this nugget of confirmation bias:

The research team found that by timing their smile precisely, babies can elicit maximum smiles with little effort on their part.

My wife fills up her phone trying to get the perfect smile because the toddler is manipulating the adults to get entertained enough to bestow upon us a photo worthy one.

Proud of her.

Categories
Child Development neuroscience Parenting Problem Solving

Being a Musician Is Good for the Brain

Highlights from an Inc article on the benefits of music on the brain caught my attention:

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Headphones by Ezra Freelove
  1. Musical training reorganizes neuron structures in the brain, specifically the corpus callosum which integrates the two sides plus areas involving verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy.
  2. It improves long-term memory, in part because it teaches the hippocampus how to store memories and recall them on demand.
  3. It improves executive function, things like processing and retaining information, controlling behavior, making decisions, and problem solving
  4. Musicians tend to be more mentally alert with faster reaction times.
  5. They tend to have better statistical use of multisensory information, so they are better able to integrate inputs from the various senses.
  6. The earlier a musician starts, the more drastic the changes.
  7. Music reduces stress and improves happiness.*
  8. Increases blood flow in the brain.

* Wonder if all this singing we do with Fleur plus Galahad’s piano practice is part of why she is a happy child? After all, we’ve been leveraging singing as a way to distract Miss Wriggly.