Michel Foucault's ethics of embodiment, focusing upon care of the self, has motivated feminist scholars to pursue promising models of embodied resistance to disciplinary normalization. Cressida Heyes, in particular, has advocated that these projects adopt practices of “somaesthetics,” following a program of body consciousness developed by Richard Shusterman. In exploring Shusterman's somaesthetics proposal, I find that it does not account for the subjective challenges of resisting normalization. Based on narrative theories of subjectivity, the role narrative plays in normalization, and a (...) commitment to developing concrete, feminist practices of embodied ethics, I develop a model of “narrative somaesthetics” based on an updated consciousness-raising model that emphasizes group heterogeneity and narrative conflict that deals with these challenges. Through an analysis of interviews with self-identified femme lesbians and a “female to femme” transition support group featured in the documentary film, FtF: Female to Femme, I argue that narrative somaesthetics enables the analytical, genealogical work required to identify and weaken normalization's constraints on embodied feminist ethics. (shrink)
This study investigated the relation between sleep and school performance in a large sample of 561 adolescents aged 11-18 years. Three subjective measures of sleep were used: sleepiness, sleep quality and sleep duration. They were compared to three measures of school performance: objective school grades, self-reported school performance, and parent-reported school performance. Sleepiness – ‘I feel sleepy during the first hours at school’ – appeared to predict both school grades and self-reported school performance. Sleep quality on the other hand – (...) as a measure of (un)interrupted sleep and/or problems falling asleep or waking up – predicted parent-reported school performance. Self- and parent-reported school performance correlated only moderately with school grades. So it turns out that the measures used to measure either sleep or school performance impacts whether or not a relation is found. Further research on sleep and school performance should take this into account. The findings do underscore the notion that sleep in adolescence can be important for learning. They are compatible with the hypothesis that a reduced sleep quality can give rise to sleepiness in the first hours at school which results in lower school performance. This notion could have applied value in counseling adolescents and their parents in changing adolescents’ sleep behavior. (shrink)
This study examined differences between boys and girls regarding efficiency of information processing in early adolescence. 306 healthy adolescents (50.3% boys) in grade 7 and 9 (aged 13 and 15 respectively) performed a coding task based on over-learned symbols. An age effect was revealed as subjects in grade 9 performed better than subjects in grade 7. Main effects for sex were found in the advantage of girls. The 25% best-performing students comprised twice as many girls as boys. The opposite pattern (...) was found for the worst performing 25%. In addition, a main effect was found for educational track in favor of the highest track. No interaction effects were found. School grades did not explain additional variance in LDST performance. This indicates that cognitive performance is relatively independent from school performance. Student characteristics like age, sex and education level were more important for efficiency of information processing than school performance. The findings imply that after age 13, efficiency of information processing is still developing and that girls outperform boys in this respect. The findings provide new information on the mechanisms underlying boy-girl differences in scholastic performance. (shrink)
The OECD’s Brain and Learning project (2002) emphasized that many misconceptions about the brain exist among professionals in the field of education. Though these so-called ‘neuromyths’ are loosely based on scientific facts, they may have adverse effects on educational practice. The present study investigated the prevalence and predictors of neuromyths among teachers in selected regions in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. A large observational survey design was used to assess general knowledge of the brain and neuromyths. The sample comprised (...) 242 primary and secondary school teachers who were interested in the neuroscience of learning. It would be of concern if neuromyths were found in this sample, as these teachers may want to use these incorrect interpretations of neuroscience findings in their teaching practice. Participants completed an online survey containing 32 statements about the brain and its influence on learning, of which 15 were neuromyths. Additional data was collected regarding background variables (e.g., age, sex, school type). Results showed that on average, teachers believed 49% of the neuromyths, particularly myths related to commercialized educational programmes. Around 70% of the general knowledge statements were answered correctly. Teachers who read popular science magazines achieved higher scores on general knowledge questions. More general knowledge also predicted an increased belief in neuromyths. These findings suggest that teachers who are enthusiastic about the possible application of neuroscience findings in the classroom find it difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from scientific facts. Possessing greater general knowledge about the brain does not appear to protect teachers from believing in neuromyths. This demonstrates the need for enhanced interdisciplinary communication to reduce such misunderstandings in the future and establish a successful collaboration between neuroscience and education. (shrink)
Developmental training studies are important to increase our understanding of the potential of the developing brain by providing answers to questions such as: “Which functions can and which functions cannot be improved as a result of practice?”, “Is there a specific period during which training has more impact?”, and “Is it always advantageous to train a particular function?”. In addition, neuroimaging methods provide valuable information about the underlying mechanisms that drive cognitive plasticity. In this review, we describe how neuroscientific studies (...) of training effects inform us about the possibilities of the developing brain, pointing out that childhood is a special period during which training may have different effects. We conclude that there is much complexity in interpreting training effects in children. Depending on the type of training and the level of maturation of the individual, training may influence developmental trajectories in different ways. We propose that the immature brain structure might set limits on how much can be achieved with training, but that the immaturity can also have advantages, in terms of flexibility for learning. (shrink)
Underachievement in school during early adolescence predicts future economic and personal difficulties. Particular neurocognitive skills on the domain of executive functions start to mature during adolescence. This fact and the physical and psychological changes typical for the transition from childhood to adulthood make adolescents vulnerable to emotional problems. The current study investigated the relationship between mild emotional problems which are highly prevalent among adolescents and underachievement in school, and the role of neurocognitive functioning in this relation. This study was conducted (...) in a substantial sample of typical developing young adolescents who just made the transition to secondary education. Pupils were on average 12.5 years old (standard deviation 0.5) , and 45% of the included sample were girls. Emotional wellbeing was associated with underachievement (Odds ratio (OR) 5.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.06-8.68) after adjusting for background variables. Self-reported neurocognitive functioning partly explained the relation between emotional wellbeing and underachievement (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.23-3.99), yet, emotional wellbeing remained statistically associated with underachievement after correcting for additional confounders (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.08-3.66). The observed findings suggest that emotional wellbeing plays an essential role in underachievement during the first year of secondary education. (shrink)
Marjorie Grene's work expresses the conviction that what is called "the new philosophy of science" will not become viable until it is rooted in an understanding of the knower and the known which breaks with the familiar Cartesian dualisms. In order to provide this understanding, she has sought to restore central significance to the phenomenon of life -- to the distinctive ways in which animals, including human beings, perceive and act in their worlds. It is argued that her fundamental (...) premise is that humans, as living beings, bring a shared experience of the world with them into scientific activity. On this basis, she is able to show how scientific objectivity may be seen as a form of pre-scientific exploration and how the scientifically known world may be seen as the pre-scientific life-world interpreted and enriched in scientific terms. (shrink)
This essay pulls together from myriad sources the record of Marjorie Grene’s early collaboration with Michael Polanyi as well as her interesting, changing commentary on Polanyi’s philosophical perspective and particularly that articulated in Personal Knowledge. It provides an account of the conflicting perspectives of Grene and Harry Prosch, who collaborated in publishing Polanyi’s last work, Meaning.
These reflections summarize major themes in Marjorie Grene’s A Philosophical Testament. I also highlight Grene’s comments on her many years of work with Polanyi and try to draw out some connections between Grene’s thought and that of Polanyi.
Professor Grene's work on Aristotle is considered under three headings: teleology, form, and reductionism. A picture of Aristotle's philosophy of biology is sketched which stresses three elements: the place of living activity in the teleological account of the development and nature of organic structures; the functional nature of Aristotelian form; and the autonomy of biology as a natural science with its own basic principles. These elements are aspects of Aristotle's approach to biology with which Professor Grene has expressed sympathy.
Grene's Two Evolutionary Theories (1958), a philosophical analysis of the nature of scientific disputes, itself contributed directly to discourse in evolutionary theory. I conclude that Grene's descriptions of two rival theories of evolutionary paleontologists — those of George Gaylord Simpson, who stressed traditional Darwinian continuity, and of Otto Schindewolf, who stressed discontinuity in paleontological data — were entirely accurate. But I further argue that both Simpson, as well as Mayr and Dobzhansky, had incorporated notions of discontinuity into their earlier work, (...) but later removed, or at least de-emphasized discontinuity, in their later work. Grene's analysis, published in the year of the Darwinian centennial, was initially treated as a provocative sore point. The paper kept the issue of discontinuity alive in evolutionary theory, and directly influenced work in the 1960s and 1970s, which restored and further elaborated on the significance of discontinuity in evolutionary theory. (shrink)