The Drawbacks of Letting Kids Win, and Other News

Family playing board game at homeMany parents often allow preschoolers to win games in an attempt to boost their confidence and avoid temper tantrums. However, this strategy may undermine their children’s judgment, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. The study’s authors say illusory wins can cause children to ignore important information, which might impede their ability to make good decisions.

To arrive at this conclusion, scientists asked children ages 4-5 to find hidden objects. In one trial, an experimenter gave accurate clues. In another, the experimenter gave inaccurate information. The researchers then adjusted the game so half of the children found the object, regardless of where they looked or whether the clues they received were accurate. The remaining children’s success was determined by whether their clue-giver had given accurate information.

At the end of the game, the researchers asked children whether they would rather receive clues from the person who gave accurate information or inaccurate information. As predicted, the children who played the rigged game showed no preference, and they did not realize the accurate clue giver had been helpful.

Even when children had other clues as to which person would be most helpful, the rigged game appeared to hinder their ability to evaluate each adult. This suggests rigging a game in a child’s favor may inhibit their ability to differentiate between helpful and unhelpful information.

Abortion Is Found to Have Little Effect on Women’s Mental Health

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found that women who underwent elective abortions in the United States were not more likely to suffer ill effects than women who were denied abortions because their pregnancies were too far along. Those whose abortion requests were denied experienced short-term distress that lasted either until they were able to undergo an abortion elsewhere or until they delivered the baby. After that point, there was so significant difference in mental health between women who received abortions and women who were initially turned away. This echoes previous findings declaring little to no evidence for any type of post-abortion trauma for women who have elected to have an abortion in the United States.

Cigar Warnings: Do Teens Believe Them?

Teenagers may mistakenly believe cigars are safer than other tobacco products. A new phone survey polled teenagers and found they generally believed cigar warning labels. However, specific cigar warnings varied in believability. More than three quarters of participants believed cigars can cause lung cancer and heart disease, about 53% believed cigars can cause cancer even without inhaling, and less than 50% believed cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.

Can You Unconsciously Forget an Experience?

Traumatic memories can cause long-term psychological pain. The brain may employ strategies for minimizing the pain of traumatic events, including dissociation. When the brain dissociates, it detaches from reality, reducing a person’s connection to their memories or identity.  Trauma survivors may not fully recall their traumatic experiences. Rarely, they may block the memories completely.

Deep Brain Stimulation Fails to Improve Memory in New Study

Some research suggests deep brain stimulation (DBS) might improve symptoms of Parkinson’s and some mental health conditions. Contrary to some speculation that DBS might also be used to improve memory for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a new study showed DBS failed to improve memory. Instead, it might harm or impair memory.

11 TED Talks that Show How Strange and Mysterious the Human Mind Really Is

These 11 TED Talks include a range of psychology and mental health topics, including happiness, the optimism bias, and how much control people really have over their decisions.

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  • kay

    December 23rd, 2016 at 12:59 PM

    I am of the mindset that you just play the game and let whatever happens happen.

  • Tate

    December 24th, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    I agree with you Kay.
    If you let them win just for the sake of letting them win then what does that teach them besides everyone gets a trophy in the end?
    and we all know that life really doesn’t work that way.

  • Poppy

    December 26th, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    It is pretty safe to teach your kids that if they are inhaling anything into their lungs besides air, then they are likely, if taken to the extreme, to get sick at some point in their lives from that behavior.
    What more do they need to know?

  • Tara

    December 27th, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    I can’t imagine that something as traumatic as having an abortion wouldn’t impact you? It’s not that I am pro life or pro choice necessarily, I think that it is up to the individual and not based on what is right for me. But I just think that whether you know this is something that you want to do or not it still would have to have a lasting effect on you to know that this was a difficult decision that had to be made.

  • Sadie

    December 27th, 2016 at 2:07 PM

    Of course you can unconsciously forget about a memory especially if it is one that caused you a great deal of pain and suffering

  • britt

    December 28th, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    There are not that many warnings that any teenager pays all that much attention to. In my mind they see us as trying to keep them from enjoying things and the things that they think they will enjoy are the things that they believe we attach fake warnings to.

    Unfortunately some of them have to still learn their lessons the hard way in life.

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