Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Yet another important victory for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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So far, the only therapy that has been demonstrated to work is CBT. At Mother Jones Kevin Drum points to a new example of its effectiveness:

Harold Pollack draws my attention today to the results of a large-scale study he conducted recently with several other researchers in low-income Chicago schools. The study design was fairly simple: first, they chose several thousand teenage boys with horrible risk profiles. Their group was 70 percent black and 30 percent Hispanic; had an average GPA of 1.7; and had missed 40 out of 170 days of school the previous year. Over a third of them had been arrested at least once prior to the study.

They randomly assigned these boys to a control group or a treatment group. The randomization was done beforehand to avoid choosing a treatment group that differed in some unknown way from the control group. The treatment group was offered a chance to participate in a program called “Becoming a Man,” which focused strongly on improving poor judgment and decision making. Here’s an example:

At 3pm on Saturday, June 2, 2012, in the South Shore neighborhood just a few miles from the University of Chicago, two groups of teens were arguing in the street about a stolen bicycle. As the groups began to separate, someone pulled out a handgun and fired….Two weeks later, prosecutors filed first-degree murder charges against the alleged shooter, Kalvin Carter — 17 years old.

…. In Chicago, the site of our study, police believe that roughly 70 percent of homicides stem from “altercations,” compared to only about 10 percent from drug-related gang conflicts….At 3pm on June 2 on the south side of Chicago, is Kalvin Carter thinking about 3:01 — or even consciously thinking at all, for that matter? Automatic, intuitive decision-making is also susceptible to systematic biases, partly because the brain’s automatic “system” tends to emphasize explanations that are coherent rather than necessarily correct. Examples of such errors include hostile attribution bias….confirmation bias….or catastrophizing.

The intervention in the study was not really all that intense: the kids all skipped one regular class and attended 27 one-hour weekly sessions during the school year. In addition, some of the kids also attended after-school sessions. The primary purpose of the sessions was to teach cognitive behavioral therapy—”thinking about thinking”—in an effort to get the participants to change the way they interact with the rest of the world. The results were pretty stunning: . . .

Continue reading.

The GOP strongly and explicitly opposes teaching critical thinking skills, in school or out. And in looking at the GOP, you can see that they follow their own advice.

Written by Leisureguy

8 May 2013 at 12:21 pm

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