Inquiring Minds

Babies Learn Best from Parents


Research from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia finds that infants learn little to nothing from popular educational videos and learn most from face-to-face interactions with their parents and other familiar figures. The research is in press at the journal Psychological Science.

“After watching a video designed to teach vocabulary for a month, the infants did not know any more of the words than children with no exposure to the video,” says Georgene Troseth, associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development and co-author of the new study. “Babies enjoy watching the videos, but don’t expect your child to learn much from them.”

American parents spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on video products designed and marketed for infants.

Focus Troubling in Study of the Macho Man


We all know how to spot a macho guy—right? He’s a man’s man with a certain swagger and a way with the ladies. Well, social scientists have a different opinion—one that perpetuates stereotypes. In social science circles, a macho or hypermasculine man is characterized by aggressive, domineering, violent, oversexed and careless, risk-taking behavior.

Most troubling about research on hypermasculinity to Richard Pitt, Vanderbilt assistant professor of sociology, is how often it focuses on men who are black, Hispanic and/or gay.

Pitt looks at the field of study in a chapter titled “Revisiting Hypermasculinity: Shorthand for Marginalized Masculinities” in the book Where Are the Brothers: Essays and Studies on African American Masculinities.

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Support Needed to Help Nurses Tackle Substance Abuse

An estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of nurses and nursing students in the United States may have substance abuse, misuse, dependency or addiction problems. The key to tackling this difficult issue—and protecting public safety—is support and treatment rather than punishment, according to a recent paper in the Journal of Clinical Nursing by Todd Monroe, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, and colleagues at the University of Tennessee. The researchers say alternative-to-discipline programs provide greater patient safety, as they enable managers to remove nurses from the work environment quickly, unlike traditional disciplinary procedures that can take months, if not years.

“Health-care professionals are expected to show compassion when caring for patients who are alcohol and/or drug dependent, and they should extend the same compassion to colleagues struggling with chemical dependency, which is an illness,” says Monroe.

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