Reuters (via MSNBC.com) reports on research by Lahey et. al. regarding the correlation between an infant’s behavior (and its interactions with parents) and the child’s temperment later in life:
The study, which followed nearly 1,900 children from infancy up to age 13, found that children whose mothers gave them plenty of intellectual stimulation in the first year of life — reading to them, talking to them and taking them out of the house — were less likely to have serious behavioral problems.
At the same time, the odds of behavior problems were also linked to certain measures of the children’s temperament during infancy — such as how “fussy” they were, or whether they had a generally happy or more moody disposition.
I don’t know much about research on temperment but I note that famed Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky argued that cognitive development is driven by one’s interactions with others; much contemporary research supports Vygotsky’s view.
The Public Library of Science has just published online a study by Hagmann et. al. which describes the authors’ use of diffusion spectrum imaging to map the ‘structural core’ of cerebral cortex. The study’s abstract reads as follows:
Structurally segregated and functionally specialized regions of the human cerebral cortex are interconnected by a dense network of cortico-cortical axonal pathways. By using diffusion spectrum imaging, we noninvasively mapped these pathways within and across cortical hemispheres in individual human participants. An analysis of the resulting large-scale structural brain networks reveals a structural core within posterior medial and parietal cerebral cortex, as well as several distinct temporal and frontal modules. Brain regions within the structural core share high degree, strength, and betweenness centrality, and they constitute connector hubs that link all major structural modules. The structural core contains brain regions that form the posterior components of the human default network. Looking both within and outside of core regions, we observed a substantial correspondence between structural connectivity and resting-state functional connectivity measured in the same participants. The spatial and topological centrality of the core within cortex suggests an important role in functional integration.
The NY Times reports on research into moral hypocrisy:
[Does a] hypocrite really believe, in his heart, what he is saying?
Fortunately, we don’t need to get into the fine points of taxes or campaign finances to take a stab at these questions. We can probably get further by looking at some experiments in what psychologists call moral hypocrisy.
This is a more devious form of hypocrisy than what was exhibited by, say, the governor of New York when he got caught patronizing a prostitute. It was obviously hypocritical behavior for a public official who had formerly prosecuted prostitutes and increased penalties for their customers, but at least Eliot Spitzer acknowledged his actions were wrong by anyone’s standards.
The moral hypocrite, by contrast, has convinced himself that he is acting virtuously even when he does something he would condemn in others.