Move beyond the chatter and opinion surrounding parenting and learn about the scientific findings and data that can help you make sensible, informed parenting decisions.
Everyone has an opinion on parenting – where babies should sleep, what they should eat, and whether parents should spank, scold, or praise. What’s more, the media often offers support for whichever opinions appear most popular at any given time. This leaves those of us who like to base our decisions on firm, provable facts feeling dizzy.
“The Science of Parenting” addresses this confusion by moving beyond the chatter and opinion surrounding parenting, and by looking directly at the science. Parenting itself is far from a science. Nevertheless, scientists have conducted thousands of studies that can help parents – or future parents – make sensible, informed decisions.
One goal of this course will be to provide a survey of important scientific findings spanning a range of topics that are central to the lives of parents:
- screen time;
- impulse control;
We’ll also explore ongoing mysteries, like what causes autism, and why so many children are allergic to peanuts.
Perhaps more important, this course will not only dig into existing science, but will also explore the underlying nature of parenting science itself. Often, scientists measure correlations: they ask how different parenting practices are related to different behaviors in children. But the claims they make from correlational data are often much, much stronger. For example, from correlational data, scientists often claim that parents cause the behaviors of their kids. This course will show how this type of error – common in the scientific literature – can explain a significant amount of the confusion present in the media and general public. We will discuss how to avoid the same error when evaluating science, and how to use the sum of available evidence to inform decision making.
The course’s instructor, David Barner, is a leading authority on cognitive development. He is joined by leading experts on behavior genetics, vaccination, autism, lying, and spanking, as well as by real live parents who try to use science to inform their decisions. This class is suitable not only for parents, future parents, and grandparents, but also for professionals interested in health care, social work, and early childhood education who want to increase their knowledge and analysis skills.
What you'll learn
- Core knowledge on topics including infant sleep, forms of discipline, breastfeeding, language and math learning, screen time, bilingualism, and autism;
- Analytical and applied techniques, including how to compute the contribution of genetics to a trait, how to understand and compute correlations, and how kids can effectively study for tests;
- Best practices for sleep training, discipline, and feeding.
Week 1: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate; Adoption and Behavior Genetics
Week 2: Learning Language; Screen time; Preschool; Music
Week 3: Morality; Self Control; Family Structure
Week 4: Autism and Vaccination; Sleep; Diet & Breastfeeding
Week 5: Learning and School: The Achievement Gap; Learning Styles; Acceleration; Homeschooling
Everyday Parenting gives you access to a toolkit of behavior-change techniques that will make your typical day in the home easier as you develop the behaviors you would like to see in your child. The lessons provide step-by-step instructions and demonstrations to improve your course of action with both children and adolescents.
How can we explain kindness and cruelty? Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Why do people so often disagree about moral issues? This course explores the psychological foundations of our moral lives.
Understanding the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their implications for behavior, learning and the ability to process information is critical for anyone working or interacting with those on the spectrum -- educators, clinicians, counselors, therapists, medical staff, family and employers. This course will give you a fundamental understanding of what ASD is, how it is diagnosed, the primary areas of impairment, and why prevalence is increasing.
The New Nordic Diet is a new food culture developed in 2009-13 with key emphasis on gastronomy, health, and environment. Major research in its effect on acceptability, behaviour and learning skills, and disease prevention have been conducted by the OPUS centre at the University of Copenhagen and the people behind the award-winning restaurant Noma in Copenhagen.
Contracts are a part of our everyday life, arising in collaboration, trust, promise and credit. How are contracts formed? What makes a contract enforceable? What happens when one party breaks a promise? Learn about contracts from Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried, one of the world’s leading authorities on contract law. Contracts are promises that the law will enforce. But when will the law refuse to honor a promise? What happens when one party does not hold to their part of the deal?
How should a free society accommodate cultural diversity? Should we tolerate the intolerable? Radical LSE political theorist Chandran Kukathas explores the tension at the heart of modern liberal society.
MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – enable students around the world to take university courses online. This guide, by the instructors of edX’s most successful MOOC in 2013-2014, Principles of Written English (based on both enrollments and rate of completion), advises current and future students how to get the most out of their online study, covering areas such as what types of courses are offered and who offers them, what resources students need, how to register, how to work effectively with other students, how to interact with professors and staff, and how to handle assignments. This second edition offers a new chapter on how to stay motivated. This book is suitable for both native and non-native speakers of English, and is applicable to MOOC classes on any subject (and indeed, for just about any type of online study).