Three types of knowledge

When addressing societal challenges, how can researchers orient their thinking to produce not only knowledge on problems, but also knowledge that helps to overcome those problems?

The concept of ‘three types of knowledge’ is helpful for structuring project goals, formulating research questions and developing action plans. The concept first appeared in the 1990s and has developed into a core underpinning of transdisciplinary research.


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The toxic legacy of parent shaming – and the damage it does to children

Shaming parents for the way they are bringing up their children is nothing new. Parent shaming and blaming has long been a recurring theme in expert narratives on child-rearing. In the 19th century, parents were frequently accused of lacking the moral and intellectual resources necessary to bring up children. They were also frequently castigated for setting a bad example for their children.

Parental incompetence was perceived as particularly debilitating in relation to the management of children’s anxieties and fears. From the late 19th century onwards, experts asserted that parents needed to shield their children from exposure to fear. They claimed that abolishing fear from childhood was essential for the well-being of young people.


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The Science of Empathy

Empathy plays a critical interpersonal and societal role, enabling sharing of experiences, needs, and desires between individuals and providing an emotional bridge that promotes pro-social behavior. This capacity requires an exquisite interplay of neural networks and enables us to perceive the emotions of others, resonate with them emotionally and cognitively, to take in the perspective of others, and to distinguish between our own and others’ emotions. Studies show empathy declines during medical training. Without targeted interventions, uncompassionate care and treatment devoid of empathy, results in patients who are dissatisfied. They are then much less likely to follow through with treatment recommendations, resulting in poorer health outcomes and damaged trust in health providers. Cognitive empathy must play a role when a lack of emotional empathy exists because of racial, ethnic, religious, or physical differences. Healthcare settings are no exception to conscious and unconscious biases, and there is no place for discrimination or unequal care afforded to patients who differ from the majority culture or the majority culture of healthcare providers. Much work lies ahead to make healthcare equitable for givers and receivers of healthcare from all cultures. Self- and other-empathy leads to replenishment and renewal of a vital human capacity. If we are to move in the direction of a more empathic society and a more compassionate world, it is clear that working to enhance our native capacities to empathize is critical to strengthening individual, community, national, and international bonds.


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Empathy is the mother of invention: Emotion and cognition for creativity in the classroom

According to the age-old proverb from Plato’s Republic: necessity is the mother of invention, the main motivation for creating new discoveries is the need for them. However, as well as the necessity factor, we argue that a very important aspect that influences invention and creativity is the empathy factor. This mixed methods research investigated the impact of empathy instruction on the social and emotional skills of creativity in the UK Design and Technology (D&T) classroom. Pupils in year 9 (aged 13 to 14 years) from two schools were assessed for their creativity levels using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) both at the start and at the end of the academic school year. In the intervening period, whereas the control school continued as normal with its usual D&T lessons, the intervention school’s D&T lessons were replaced by a creativity tuition kit called Designing Our Tomorrow (DOT), which involves instruction in empathising. Pupils from year 7 (aged 11 to 12 years) in a third school were given the DOT task alone and interviewed about their experiences of it. Results showed that unlike the control school, whose emotional and cognitive creative scores in fact decreased over time, the intervention school increased in its levels of emotional and cognitive creativity, as measured by the TTCT. These quantitative as well as the subsequent qualitative interview findings and pupils’ portfolios suggest that creativity can be taught and particularly via instruction that advocates the importance of empathising with the subject matter. The findings are discussed in relation to the need for a holistic approach to teaching, where social, emotional and cognitive dimensions of teaching and learning are needed to complete and enhance the learning experience for the D&T classroom and beyond.


Read also – Teaching Pupils Empathy Measurably Improves Their Creative Abilities

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El Virus de la Desigualdad: Cómo recomponer un mundo devastado por el coronavirus

La pandemia de coronavirus tiene el potencial de agravar la desigualdad en prácticamente todos los países del mundo al mismo tiempo, una situación sin precedentes desde que existen registros.

El virus ha puesto al descubierto y ha exacerbado las desigualdades económicas, de género y raciales, a la vez que se ha alimentado de ellas. Más de dos millones de personas han perdido la vida, y cientos de millones se están viendo arrastradas a la pobreza, mientras que la mayoría de las personas y empresas más ricas del mundo sigue enriqueciéndose. Las fortunas de los milmillonarios han recuperado el nivel previo a la pandemia en tan solo nueve meses, mientras que para las personas en mayor situación de pobreza del mundo esta recuperación podría tardar más de una década en llegar.


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Human Rights, Autopoiesis, Global Peace and Social Harmony

The article attempts to fill the fundamental shortcoming and limitation of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights with regard to the factual lacks in it the determining
human right to life. This task is realized on the basis of three fundamental discoveries: autopoiesis, harmony and human spherons, engaged in the spheres of social
production. Without the right to life, it is impossible to ensure the social and legal
fundamental conditions for global peace and to eradicate the wars as crimes against
humanity from his life in the future history.


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On what it means to “learn from the future as it emerges

Facing our complex (global) challenges in a rapidly changing, unpredictable, and uncertain world begs the question of how we can bring about innovations that have a reasonable and sustainable purpose and that shape and lead to thriving and novel futures. The claim of this paper is that, in order to bring forth such purposeful innovations and novelty, it is necessary to turn things on their head: instead of learning from the past and extrapolating past knowledge/experiences into the future, we have to start from the future. In this context Scharmer’s Theory U plays an important role as one of its main claims is to understand change and innovation as “Learning from the future as it emerges.“ (Scharmer 2007, p 52)

The goal of this paper is (i) to develop an alternative approach to innovation that is driven by future potentials. (ii) By doing so, we will develop an epistemological /ontological framework providing a theoretical foundation both for Theory U and, as we refer to it, for Emergent Innovation. Bloch´s “not yet”, Aristotle´s potentials (vs. actuality), S.Kauffman´s “adjacent possibles”, Ingold´s “correspondence”, as well as Scharmer´s “Source” and “Higher Purpose” play a central role in this approach.


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The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children

Children are confronted with an increasing amount of choices every day, which can be stressful. Decision-making skills may be one of the most important “21st century skills” that children need to master to ensure success. Many aspects of decision-making, such as emotion regulation during stressful situations, develop in the context of caregiver-child interactions. This study examined whether mindful parenting predicts children’s individual and social decision-making. The current study included 63 mother-child dyads from The Netherlands (Child Mage = 5.11, SD = 0.88, 50.8% girls). Mothers completed the Dutch version of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale (IM-P). A “Choice Task” was developed to measure individual decision-making skills, and a “Sharing Task” was created to measure social decision-making in young children. Higher maternal mindful parenting significantly predicted more sharing after controlling for covariates (child age, sex, SES, maternal education level; Wald = 4.505, p = 0.034). No main effect of maternal mindful parenting was found for any of the individual decision-making measures. These findings suggest that mindful parenting supports children’s social decision-making. Future research should investigate if the combination of mindful parenting and children’s early decision-making skills predict key developmental outcomes.


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Fairness informs social decision making in infancy

The ability to reason about fairness plays a defining role in the development of morality. Thus, researchers have long been interested in understanding when and how a sensitivity to fairness first develops. Here, we examined infants’ ability to use fairness information in selecting social partners. Using a novel experimental paradigm that combined pre-recorded stimuli with an active behavioral measure, we tested whether infants preferred to socially engage with an individual they had previously seen behave fairly or unfairly. After viewing an individual distribute goods to third parties either equally (i.e., 3:3 distribution) or unequally (i.e., 5:1 distribution), both 13- and 17-month-old infants selectively chose to engage in a social interaction with (i.e., take a toy from) an individual who distributed resources equally. The use of a novel paradigm to assess infants’ fairness preferences demonstrates that infants’ previously established fairness preferences extend across different, more demanding paradigms, and may therefore be more enduring in nature. Together, these findings provide new insights into the nature of infants’ fairness representations, and fill in key gaps in the developmental timeline of infants’ ability to use fairness information in their consideration of potential social partners. In sum, these findings build on previous research by demonstrating that infants not only hold an expectation that resources should be distributed fairly, they also preferentially interact with those who have previously done so. The early-emerging ability to both reason about and use fairness information may play an influential role in the development of complex prosocial behaviors related to morality more broadly.


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Decision-Making Processes in Social Contexts

Over the past half-century, scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Judgment and Decision Making have amassed a trove of findings, theories, and prescriptions regarding the processes ordinary people enact when making choices. But this body of knowledge has had little influence on sociology. Sociological research on choice emphasizes how features of the social environment shape individual behavior, not people’s underlying decision processes. Our aim in this article is to provide an overview of selected ideas, models, and data sources from decision research that can fuel new lines of inquiry on how socially situated actors navigate both everyday and major life choices. We also highlight opportunities and challenges for cross-fertilization between sociology and decision research that can allow the methods, findings, and contexts of each field to expand their joint range of inquiry.


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