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收入如何影响儿童的大脑发育? – 译学馆
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收入如何影响儿童的大脑发育?

How does income affect childhood brain development? | Kimberly Noble

下面我要跟大家分享的是
What I’m about to share with you
对1000多个青少年的大脑研究后的发现
are findings from a study of the brains of more than 1,000 children and adolescents.
这些是从美国不同的家庭招募的孩子
Now these were children who were recruited from diverse homes around the United States,
这张图是他们大脑的总体模样
and this picture is an averageof all of their brains.
大脑模型图的前面部分在你的左边
The front of this average brainis on your left
模型图的后面部分在你的右边
and the back of this average brainis on your right.
我们最感兴趣的其中一部分 是大脑皮层的表面区域
Now one of the things we were very interested in was the surface area of the cerebral cortex,
或者说 是表层的薄褶皱层 即大脑主要的认知区域
or the thin wrinkly layer on the outer surface of the brain that does most of the cognitive heavy lifting.
其他科学家过去的研究表明 多数情况下
And that’s because past work by other scientists has suggested that in many cases,
稍大点的皮层表面区域通常与较高的智商相关
a larger cortical surface area is often associated with higher intelligence.
在这项研究中 我们发现了一个
Now in this study, we found one factor
跟皮层区域有关 几乎贯穿整个大脑皮层的因素
that was associated with the cortical surface area across nearly the entire surface of the brain.
这个因素就是家庭收入
That factor was family income.
现在看这里 每个标有颜色的区域
Now here, every point you see in color
表明家庭收入高和大脑皮层表面区域大有关
is a point where higher family income was associated with a larger cortical surface area in that spot.
有些区域 用黄色显示的区域 联系尤其显著
And there were some regions, shown here in yellow, that association was particularly pronounced.
而且那些区域能提升我们的认知能力:
And those are regions that we know support a certain set of cognitive skills:
比如词汇和阅读这些语言技能
language skills like vocabulary and reading
以及避免注意力分散并发挥自制的能力
as well as the ability to avoid distraction and exert self-control.
那很重要 因为那些正是
And that’s important, because those are the very skills
贫困家庭的孩子为之苦苦奋斗的技能
that children living in poverty are most likely to struggle with.
事实上 贫困家庭的孩子甚至在两岁前
In fact, a child living with poverty is likely to perform worse on tests
就在语言和自控力的测试中表现糟糕
of language and impulse control before they even turn two.
现在 关于这项研究 我要强调几点
Now , there are a few points I’d like to highlight about this study.
第一:家庭收入和孩子大脑结构之间的关系
Number one: this link between family income and children’s brain structure
在收入水平最低的家庭中表现最明显
was strongest at the lowest income levels.
这就意味着 在最为劣势的家庭中
So that means that dollar for dollar, relatively small differences in family income
家庭收入一分一毫的微小差异
were associated with proportionately greater differences in brain structure
与大脑结构的显著差异的关联越明显
among the most disadvantaged families.
直观上来讲 这说得过去 不是吗?
And intuitively, that makes sense, right?
额外的两万美元对年收入十五万美元的家庭而言
An extra 20,000 dollars for a family earning, say, 150,000 dollars a year
是件好事 但可能不会带来很大的改变
would certainly be nice, but probably not game-changing,
但额外的两万美元对年收入两万美元的家庭而言
whereas an extra 20,000 dollars for a family only earning 20,000 dollars a year
可能会对他们的生活产生显著的影响
would likely make a remarkable difference in their day-to-day lives.
我想强调的第二点是
Now the second point I’d like to highlight that
家庭收入和孩子大脑结构的联系并不取决于孩子的年龄
this link between family income and children’s brain structure didn’t depend on the children’s age,
不取决于他们的性别以及他们的民族或种族
it didn’t depend on their sex and it didn’t depend on their race or ethnicity.
最后一点 这也是关键的一点
And the final point — and this one’s key
孩子和孩子之间有着巨大的差异
there was tremendous variability from one child to the next,
我的意思是 有很多高收入家庭孩子大脑皮层表面相对较小
by which I mean there were plenty of children from higher-income homes with smaller brain surfaces
许多低收入家庭的孩子大脑皮层表面相对较大
and plenty of children from lower-income homes with larger brain surfaces.
这儿有个比较 我们都知道 童年时期男孩一般比女孩更高
Here’s an analogy. We all know that in childhood, boys tend to be taller than girls,
但走进小学教室 你会发现 一些女孩比男孩要高
but go into any elementary school classroom, and you’ll find some girls who are taller than some boys.
所以在贫困家庭长大 对拥有较小大脑皮层表面而言 是个显然的风险因素
So while growing up in poverty is certainly a risk factor for a smaller brain surface,
我没法知道一个孩子的家庭收入
in no way can I know an individual child’s family income
也没法精确知道孩子的大脑结构是什么样的
and know with any accuracy what that particular child’s brain would look like.
我想让大家花点时间想象一下 两个孩子
I want you to imagine,for a moment, two children.
一个是出生在美国贫困家庭的小孩
One is a young child born into poverty in America;
另一个也是美国小孩 但出生在更为富裕的家庭
the other is also an American child, but one who was born into more fortunate circumstances.
出生时 我们发现 他们的大脑功能完全没有区别
Now, at birth, we find absolutely no differences in how their brains work.
但到这两个孩子准备上幼儿园时
But by the time those two kids are ready to start kindergarten,
我们知道生活在贫困家庭的孩子的总体认知评分
we know that the child living in poverty is likely to have cognitive scores
比另一个孩子低60%
that are on average 60 percent lower than those of the other child.
之后 贫困家庭的孩子从高中辍学的可能性是另一个孩子的5倍
Later on, that child living in poverty will be five times more likely to drop out of high school,
即使她能从高中毕业
and if she does graduate high school,
她也不大可能获得大学学位
she’ll be less likely to earn a college degree.
等到那两个孩子35岁时
By the time those two kidsare 35 years old,
如果第一个孩子在贫困中度过整个童年
if the first child spenther entire childhood living in poverty,
她贫穷的可能性是另一个孩子的75倍
she is up to 75 times more likely to be poor herself.
但不应该是那样的
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
作为神经系统科学家 我发现人脑最令人兴奋的其中一点是
As a neuroscientist, one of things I find most exciting about the human brain
我们的经历能改变我们的大脑
is that our experiences change our brains.
现在 这个概念 被称作“神经可塑性”
Now,this concept, known as neuroplasticity,
就是说 这些孩子大脑结构的差异 并不能判定其一生都是平庸的
means that these differences in children’s brain structure don’t doom a child to a life of low achievement.
大脑并非天命
The brain is not destiny.
并且如果一个孩子的大脑能被改变 则一切皆有可能
And if a child’s brain can be changed, then anything is possible.
现在 作为社会 我们每年花费数十亿美元来教育我们的孩子
Now,as a society, we spent billions of dollars each year educating our children.
所以我们能告诉那些 想帮助和支持来自弱势背景
So what can we tell schools, teachers and parents who want to help support kids
在学校和生活中努力的孩子 的学校老师和家长什么呢
from disadvantaged backgrounds to do their best in school and in life?
新兴的科学表明 在贫困中长大的孩子常有很多不同的经历
Well, emerging science suggests that growing up in poverty is associated with a host of different experiences
这些经历会共同作用于大脑发展 最终帮助他们学习
and that these experiences in turn may work together to help shape brain development and ultimately help kids learn.
所以如果这是对的
And so if this is right,
请问:我们该从哪里介入并且提供帮助呢?
begs the question: Where along this pathway can we step in and provide help?
首先 我们考虑一下从学习本身这一层面入手——
So let’s consider first intervening at the level of learning itself
最常见的是通过以学校为基础的倡议
–most commonly throughschool-based initiatives.
现在 我们应该鼓励教师关注
Now, should we be encouraging teachers to focus on the kinds of skills
那些处于劣势的孩子为之苦苦奋斗的技能吗?
that disadvantaged kidsare most likely to struggle with?
当然 经科学证明的高质量教育的重要性真的不该被过分夸大
Of course. The importance of high-quality education based in scientific evidence really can’t be overstated.
而这里有很多极好的着眼于读写能力或自律这种
And there are a number of examples of excellent interventions targeting things like literacy or self-regulation
的确能够提升孩子认知发展和考试分数的干预措施的例子
that do in fact improve kids’ cognitive development and their test scores.
但是所有在做这个工作的科学家会告诉你
But as any intervention scientistdoing this work would tell you,
这个工作很有挑战性 很难执行高质量 基于证据的教育
this work is challenging. It’s hard to implement high-quality,evidence-based education.
这项工作耗费很多人力物力 有时代价较高
And it can be labor-intensive, it’s sometimes costly.
在很多例子中
And in many cases,
这些儿童发展的差异性早在正规学校教育前
these disparities in child development emerge early —
就已经非常明显的显现出来了
well before the startof formal schooling —
有时甚至在孩子还在蹒跚学步之时
sometimes when kids are just toddlers.
所以我就要说了:
And so I would argue:
学校教育很重要
school is very important,
但如果我们把所有的政策红利都集中在
but if we’re focusing all of our policy efforts
正规的学校教育上 可能就已经太晚了
on formal schooling, we’re probably starting too late.
我们能否退一步
So what about taking a step back
把所有的精力放在改变孩子的经历上呢?
and focusing on trying to changechildren’s experiences?
尤其是有关在贫穷中长大的经历
What particular experiences are associated with growing up in poverty
并且可以把目标放在为孩子的大脑发育
and might be able to be targetedto promote brain development
和学习效果上呢
and learning outcomes for kids?
当然 方法有很多 不是吗?
Of course, there are many, right?
比如 营养方面 医疗保健
Nutrition,access to health care,
避免二手烟的危害和铅中毒
exposure to second-hand smoke or lead,
压力或歧视的经历 还有好些
experience of stress or discrimination, to name a few.
在我的研究室里
In my laboratory,
我们重点关注这几种类型的经历
we’re particularly focused on a few types of experiences
我们相信这些经历或许
that we believe may be able to be targeted
有助于提高孩子的大脑开发
to promote children’s brain development
并最终提高他们的学习效果
and ultimately improvetheir learning outcomes.
其中一个例子
As one example,
我把它叫做引入家庭语言学习环境
take something I’ll call the home language environment
我的意思是
by which I mean,
我们知道孩子每天听到的单词
we know that the number of words kids hear
和他们每天进行的对话
and the number of conversationsthey’re engaged in every day
是多种多样的
can vary tremendously.
通过评估 学习背景较好的孩子
By some estimates, kids from more advantaged backgrounds
与教育环境较差的孩子相比
hear an average of 30 millionmore spoken words
他们会在最初的几年里
in the first few years of life
听到平均3千万甚至更多的对话单词
compared to kids from less advantaged backgrounds.
在我们的研究中
Now,in our work,
我们发现 那些经历更多的孩子
we’re finding that kids who experience more back-and-forth,
在我们已知的属于语言和阅读技巧的大脑部分
responsive conversational turns
比那些经历少的的孩子
tend to have a larger brain surface in parts of the brain
大脑表面更大
that we know are responsiblefor language and reading skills.
事实上 他们听到对话的数量
And in fact, the numberof conversations they hear
似乎比他们听到
seems to matter a little bit more than the sheer number
更多的单词更重要一些
of words they hear.
所以 有些好笑的可能性是
So one tantalizing possibility is that we should be teaching
我们应教育家长不要光顾着讲
parents not just to talk a lot,
而要多和他们的孩子进行对话
but to actually have more conversations with their children.
这样 或许我们能提升孩子的大脑发育
In this way,it’s possiblethat we’ll promote brain development
以及孩子的语言和阅读技巧
and perhaps their kids’ languageand reading skills.
事实上 许多科学家正在测试
And in fact, a numberof scientists are testing
这令人激动的可能性
that exciting possibility right now.
当然了 我们都知道
But of course, we all know
在贫困中长大与很多不一样的经历有关
that growing up in poverty is associated with lots of different experiences
不仅仅是孩子能有多少的对话
beyond just how manyconversations kids are having.
那我们如何选择其他的目标呢
So how do we choose what else to focus on?
选项有很多
The list can be overwhelming.
有很多高质量的干预
There are a number of high-quality interventions
可以改变孩子的经历
that do try to changechildren’s experience,
很多这样的干涉是非常有效的
many of which are quite effective.
但是 正如基于学校提出的提议一样 这项工作很难
But again,just like school-based initiatives, this is hard work.
并且相当具有挑战性的
It can be challenging,
会耗费很多人力 有时花费较高
it can be labor-intensive, sometimes costly…
还有时候
and on occasion,
甚至需要一些科学家的介入
it can be somewhat patronizing for scientists to swoop in
告诉家里的人他们如果做
and tell a family what they need to change
才能使他们的孩子成功
in order for their child to succeed.
我想给大家分享的想法的是:
So I want to share an idea with you.
如果我们尝试只是把钱给
What if we tried to helpyoung children in poverty
那些贫困家庭的孩子会怎么样呢?
by simply givingtheir families more money?
我很有幸的与一群经济学家
I’m privileged to be workingwith a team of economists,
社会政策专家和神经系统专家一同工作
social policy experts and neuroscientists
并一起负责“宝贝首年”这个项目
in leading Baby’s First Years,
我们第一个随机分配的研究
the first-ever randomized study
是测试贫困的减少是否
to test whether poverty reduction
会改变孩子的大脑发育
causes changes in children’s brain development.
这项研究所要追求的目标是很大的
Now,the ambition of the study is large,
但只是做假设其实很容易
but the premise is actually quite simple.
在2018年5月
In May of 2018,
我们招募了一千位生活在联邦政府贫困线以下的母亲
we began recruiting 1,000 mothers living below the federal poverty line
她们不久前在美国的医院进行了分娩
shortly after they gave birthin a number of American hospitals.
在我们研究招募下的母亲们
Upon enrolling in our study,
都能在孩子出生后四十个月内的每个月
all mothers receive an unconditional monthly cash gift
无偿收到现金礼物
for the first 40 monthsof their children’s lives,
并可以用这笔钱做她们喜欢的事
and they’re free to use this moneyhowever they like.
但重要的是 这些母亲收到的现金礼物是随机的
But importantly,mothers are being randomized,
有些母亲被随机分到了
so some mothers are randomized to
微不足道的支票
receive a nominal monthly cash gift
有些母亲每月则会随机收到数百美元
and others are randomized to receive several hundred dollars each month,
我们相信这笔钱足以
an amount that we believe is large enough
使她们每天的生活变得不同
to make a difference in their day-to-day lives, in most cases
多数情况下 每月会给她们增加20%到25%的收入
increasing their monthly income by 20 to 25 percent.
以此
So in this way,
我们希望可以把贫穷与孩子的发展
we’re hoping to finally move past questions
这一过去的问题向前推进一步
of how poverty is correlatedwith child development
在前三年的测试之中 是否能真正地测试出
and actually be able to test whether reducing poverty causes changes
减少贫困因素
in children’s cognitive, emotionaland brain development
可以改变孩子的认知 情绪及大脑发育
in the first three years of life —
恰好那时 我们相信大脑的发育
the very time when we believe the developing brain
因为自身经历而变得具有可塑性
may be most malleable to experience.
目前 我们还没有从这项持续多年的研究里
Now,we won’t have definitive results
得出最终的结论
from this study for several years,
如果有的话
and if nothing else,
那就是1000位新生儿和他们的妈妈
1,000 newborns and their moms
每个月会多有一笔钱
will have a bit more cash each month
她们也告诉我们 确实很需要这笔钱
that they tell us they very much need.
但如果这项研究证实帮助贫困孩子
But what if it turns out that a cost-effective way
最划算的办法
to help young children in poverty
只是给他们的妈妈多一点钱会怎么样呢?
is to simply give their moms more money?
如果我们的假设是正确的 我们希望
If our hypotheses are borne out, it’s our hope
这项研究的结果将为有关社会服务的辩论提供依据
that results from this work will inform debates about social services
并有可能影响数以百万计拥有孩子的家庭
that have the potential to effect millions of families with young children.
因为收入也许
Because while income may not be
并不是决定孩子大脑发育
the only or even the most important factor
唯一 或是最重要的因素
in determining children’sbrain development,
可能只是其中因素之一 但从政治角度看
it may be one that, from a policy perspective,
这个是容易解决的
can be easily addressed.
简单来说 如果我们可以说明
Put simply, if we can show
减少贫困是如何改变孩子大脑发育的
that reducing poverty changes how children’s brains develop
这对政策变化有长远的意义
and that leads to meaningfulpolicy changes,
出生在贫困家庭的孩子
then a young child born into poverty today
或许在美好的将来会有更大的机会
may have a much better shotat a brighter future.
谢谢 [掌声]
Thank you. [Applause]

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视频概述

对于如何给那些生活在贫困家庭的孩子一个更好的发展,演讲者提出新的解决的办法,即改变他们的经历。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

橘苓

审核员

审核员 V

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTra-yePY_A

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