Saturday, August 08, 2009

Why Dotry Doesn't Work

About two years ago ago I blogged on the subject of the culture of "It matters more that you try, rather than that you succeed". I shan't repeat what I said there. Look it up here.

Well, for those who thought it was a rant, here's a newsflash that might make you think differently:

Why We Learn More From Our Successes Than Our Failures

Brain cells may only learn from experience when we do something right and not when we fail.

If this isn't a major nail in the coffin of our stupid—yes, 'stupid'; promoted by PC-addicts who probably have never succeeded in much themselves—preoccupation with the culture of Dotry, I don't know what is.

However—and there's always a 'however'!—we have to take into account who we're actually dealing with. Apparently up to the age of eight, it's OK, and indeed beneficial, to indulge in positive reinforcement and play down negative feedback.

Learning From Mistakes Only Works After Age 12

Eight-year-old children have a radically different learning strategy from twelve-year-olds and adults. Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback ('Well done!'), whereas negative feedback ('Got it wrong this time') scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently.

Nothing's ever straightforward, is it?

One of the side-effects of mollycoddling past a certain age, which now appears to be around eight years, is that we now live in a society where even adults expect to be treated like...well, infants. Under-eights. Everybody is touchy about not having their feelings hurt by being told that what they're doing isn't actually all that good; and that they should really do better. This is known nowadays as 'sensitivity'; where mollycoddling the easily wounded egos of touchy people results in them, like little children, not actually being able to figure out that they're screwing up left, right and center. They in effect never get a chance to being real adults.

It sounds absurd, I know. But that doesn't make it any less true.

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