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Posts Tagged ‘Futurity’

‘Elite’ stereotypes can stymie success in kids

In Education, Uncategorized on 25/05/2012 at 16:08

“These findings suggest we should be cautious in making pronouncements about the abilities of social groups such as boys and girls,” says study leader Andrei Cimpian. “Not only is the truth of such statements questionable, but they also send the wrong message about what it takes to succeed, thereby undermining achievement—even when they are actually meant as encouragement.”

U. ILLINOIS (US) —Generalizations about the skills or likely success of a social group—of boys or girls, for example—can sometimes undermine performance, a new study shows.

“Some children believe that their ability to perform a task is dictated by the amount of natural talent they possess for that task,” says University of Illinois psychology professor Andrei Cimpian, who led the study published in the journalPsychological Science.

“Previous studies have demonstrated that this belief can undermine their performance. It is important, therefore, to understand what leads children to adopt this belief,” adds Cimpian.

The researchers hypothesized that exposure to broad generalizations about the abilities of social groups induces children to believe that success depends on “natural talent.” If the hypothesis were correct, then hearing messages such as “girls are very good at this task,” should impair children’s performance by leading them to believe that success depends primarily on innate talent and has little to do with factors under their control, such as effort.

Two experiments with 4- to 7-year-olds showed that the children performed more poorly after they were exposed to information that associated success on a given task with membership in a certain social group, regardless of whether the children themselves belonged to that group.

“These findings suggest we should be cautious in making pronouncements about the abilities of social groups such as boys and girls,” Cimpian says.

“Not only is the truth of such statements questionable, but they also send the wrong message about what it takes to succeed, thereby undermining achievement—even when they are actually meant as encouragement.”

The research team also included scientists from Sun Yat-sen University, in Guangdong, China; and Carnegie Mellon University. (cont … Futurity.org)


‘Faulty’ computer chip is 15x more efficient

In Science, Tech and Social Media on 25/05/2012 at 11:56

In terms of speed, energy consumption and size, inexact computer chips like this prototype, are about 15 times more efficient than today’s microchips. (Credit: Avinash Lingamneni/Rice University/CSEM)

RICE (US) —Researchers have created an “inexact” computer chip that’s super efficient, challenging the industry’s 50-year pursuit of accuracy.

The design improves power and resource efficiency by allowing for occasional errors. Scientists unveiled prototypes this week at the ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers in Cagliari, Italy.

The research, which earned best-paper honors at the conference, was conducted by experts from Rice University, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Switzerland’s Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), and the University of California, Berkeley.

“It is exciting to see this technology in a working chip that we can measure and validate for the first time,” says project leader Krishna Palem, who also serves as director of the Rice-NTU Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID). “Our work since 2003 showed that significant gains were possible, and I am delighted that these working chips have met and even exceeded our expectations.”

This comparison shows frames produced with video-processing software on traditional processing elements (left), inexact processing hardware with a relative error of 0.54 percent (middle) and with a relative error of 7.58 percent (right). The inexact chips are smaller, faster and consume less energy. The chip that produced the frame with the most errors (right) is about 15 times more efficient in terms of speed, space and energy than the chip that produced the pristine image (left). (Credit: Rice University/CSEM/NTU)

ISAID is working in partnership with CSEM to create new technology that will allow next-generation inexact microchips to use a fraction of the electricity of today’s microprocessors.

“The paper received the highest peer-review evaluation of all the Computing Frontiers submissions this year,” says Paolo Faraboschi, the program co-chair of the ACM Computing Frontiers conference and a distinguished technologist at Hewlett Packard Laboratories. “Research on approximate computation matches the forward-looking charter of Computing Frontiers well, and this work opens the door to interesting energy-efficiency opportunities of using inexact hardware together with traditional processing elements.”

The concept is deceptively simple: Slash power use by allowing processing components—like hardware for adding and multiplying numbers—to make a few mistakes. By cleverly managing the probability of errors and limiting which calculations produce errors, the designers have found they can simultaneously cut energy demands and dramatically boost performance. (cont … Futurity.org)

In juvenile crime, race may affect sentence

In Consider This, Culture, Prison Industrial Complex on 25/05/2012 at 11:44

“The findings showed that people without racial animus or bias are affected by race as much as those with bias,” says psychologist Carol Dweck. (Credit: Sarah Franco/Flickr)

STANFORD (US) — If people imagine a juvenile offender to be black, they are more willing to hand down harsher sentences to all juvenile offenders, a new study reports.

As the Supreme Court considers whether to further limit sentences given to juveniles, psychologists say an offender’s race shifts support for severe punishment.

“These results highlight the fragility of protections for juveniles when race is in play,” says Aneeta Rattan, postdoctoral research scholar in psychology at Stanford University and lead author of the study, which appears this week in the journalPloS One.

Historically, the courts have protected juveniles from the most severe sentences. It has been recognized that children are different from adults—they don’t use adult reasoning and don’t have impulse control to the same degree. The Supreme Court has barred the death penalty for juveniles and, in 2010, said life without parole for non-homicide crimes violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

(source Change.org)

Currently the court is considering two cases regarding juveniles involved in murders who were sentenced to life without parole and are weighing whether they will further limit harsh sentences for young people.

The new research was inspired, in part, by the cases most recently before the high court, says Jennifer Eberhardt, senior author of the study.

“The statistics out there indicate that there are racial disparities in sentencing juveniles who have committed severe crimes,” says Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology. “That led us to wonder, to what extent does race play a role in how people think about juvenile status?”

The study involved a nationally representative sample of 735 white Americans. Only white participants were used because whites are statistically overrepresented on juries, in the legal field and in the judiciary. (cont … Futurity.org)