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[evol-psych] A Talk with Judith Rich Harris

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  • Ian Pitchford
    CHILDREN DON T DO THINGS HALF WAY A Talk with Judith Rich HarrisJudith Rich Harris is frequently accused of being an extremist. Is she an extremist?Well,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30 11:26 PM
      CHILDREN DON'T DO THINGS HALF WAY
      A Talk with Judith Rich Harris

      Judith Rich Harris is frequently accused of being an extremist. Is she an
      extremist?

      "Well, I'm prone to making statements like this one," she says. "How the
      parents rear the child has no long-term effects on the child's personality,
      intelligence, or mental health. I guess you could call that an extreme
      statement. But I prefer to think of myself as a defender of the null
      hypothesis."

      "The null hypothesis is the hypothesis that a putative "cause" has no effect,
      and it's supposed to be the starting point for scientific inquiry. For
      instance, when a new drug is being tested, the researchers are expected to
      start out with the hypothesis that the drug is no better than a placebo. If
      they find that the patients who received the drug are more likely to recover
      than the ones who got the placebo, then they can reject the null hypothesis at
      some level of confidence, some probability level.

      "This comes as a surprise to most people, but psychologists have still not
      managed to collect evidence of a sort that would enable them to reject the null
      hypothesis of zero parental influence. In the absence of such evidence, the
      only scientifically sound position is the one I've taken. "

      Read the interview at:

      http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/harris_children/harris_p1.html


      Ian Pitchford <Ian.Pitchford@...>
      Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies
      School for Health and Related Research
      University of Sheffield, S10 2TA, UK
      http://www.human-nature.com/



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