Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stroop Effect, Conservation of Liquids, Mirror Neurons

A few things I had pictures for, that didn't fit in on my other posts:

We tried out the "conservation of liquids" test on Daisy, who is right on the cusp of that developmental stage. (Children under about 5 are unable to make this mental leap. When they see two identical glasses of water that are equal in amount, and then they watch you pour the water from one of the glasses into a taller glass, they still say that the taller glass has "more water.") Daisy, as expected, didn't understand that the amounts of water were still equal even though one looked taller. The boys were very delighted to see evidence of this phenomenon before their very eyes! :)
We also really liked doing the "Stroop Test," which involves first reading a paper like this:
and then one like this:
The trick is, you have to say the COLORS of the words, rather than the words themselves, on both images. You time yourself doing both versions and then compare your times. For a pre-reader (Daisy and Junie) it's very easy and there is no conflict! They just say the colors of the words. But once your brain is able to interpret what the words mean, the meaning and the color interfere with each other on the second image and your time slows way down! If you try the same test but this time read the word instead of saying the colors, most people have improved times. This shows that the brain prioitizes meaning over color (and understandably so).

The children loved doing this test! They thought it was so strange and funny.

One more note: this unit stretched over Valentine's Day, so on that day we had a little party and made valentines and homemade oreos (with pink frosting, of course), and then we talked about empathy and love and how those emotions help us understand and be kind to other people. We watched this interesting video about "mirror neurons" as part of that discussion.

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