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[译文]教养的迷思及其他

16-12-17 16:20    作者:辉格    相关股票:

‘When life hands you a lemon, just bite in’
“如果生活递给你一个柠檬,那就去咬它吧”

作者:Judith Rich Harris @ 2016-09
译者:明珠(@老茄爱天一爱亨亨更爱楚楚)
校对:辉格(@whigzhou)
来源:The Psychologist, http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-29/september/when-life-hands-you-lemon-just-bite

Judith Rich Harris takes Lance Workman through her extraordinary fightback against entrenched views of child development.
Judith Rich Harris对话Lance Workman,对已被深深认同的儿童发展心理学观点作出了非同寻常的回击。

Judith Rich Harris is a psychologist and author.
Judith Rich Harris是一位心理学家和作家。

译注:粗体字是Workman的提问,常字体是Harris的回答

I first become aware of you when I read The Nurture Assumption in 1998. In it you proposed that a child’s peer group has greater influence on development than her parents. Can we begin by outlining this theory?

我第一次认识你是读到你1998年出版的《教养的迷思》。在书中你提到,同龄人群体对孩子成长的影响大于父母。我们从简要概括这个理论开始,好吗?

Group socialisation theory was my attempt to solve a puzzle I had encountered while writing child development textbooks for college students. My textbooks endorsed the conventional view of child development – that what makes children turn out the way they do is ‘nature’ (their genes) and ‘nurture’ (the way their parents bring them up). But after a while it dawned on me that there just wasn’t enough solid evidence to support that view, and there was a growing pile of evidence against it.

群体社会化理论是我在撰写儿童发展心理学的大学教材时试图解决的难题。我的教材赞同儿童发展心理学的传统观点——是‘先天本性’(基因)和‘后天培养’(父母养育他们的方式)共同使孩子们形成他们的做事方式。但一段时间后我明白了,并没有足够确凿的证据支持这个观点,同时,反对证据却越来越多。

The problem was not with the ‘nature’ part – genes were having their expected effect. But ‘nurture’ wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. In studies that provided some way of controlling for or eliminating the effects of heredity, the environment provided by parents had little or no effect on how the children turned out.

问题不在于‘天性’部分——基因有其预期效果。不过‘培养’并未如大家所认为的方式发生作用。在一些以某种方式控制或消除了遗传作用的研究中,父母提供的环境对孩子如何变成后来的样子很少或者没有影响。

And yet, genes accounted for only about 50 per cent of the variation in personality and social behaviour. The environment must be playing some role. But it wasn’t the home environment. So I proposed that the environment that has lasting effects on personality and social behaviour is the one the child encounters outside the home.

然而,基因改变个性和社会行为的作用大约只占50%。环境肯定发挥着一定的作用。但这不是家庭环境。因此我认为,持久影响孩子个性和社交行为的环境是其面对的家庭之外的环境。

This makes sense if you think about the purpose of childhood. What do children have to accomplish while they’re growing up? They have to learn how to behave in a way that is acceptable to the other members of their society. How do they do this? Not by imitating their parents! Parents are adults, and every society prescribes different behaviours for children and adults.

如果想想童年的目标,你会发现这是有道理的。随着孩子长大他们不得不做什么呢?他们不得不学习他们的社交圈里其他成员可以接受的行为方式。他们如何做到这一点?不是通过模仿父母!父母是成年人,社会给孩子和成人规定了不同的行为。

A child who behaved like his or her parents (in any context other than a game) would be seen as impertinent, unruly or weird. So the first step in becoming socialised must be to figure out what sort of person you are. Are you a child or an adult? A male or a female? In complex societies there are more categories, but age and gender were probably enough for the small groups of hunter-gatherers of our ancestors.

在除游戏之外的任何情境下,孩子若像父母那样行事,会被视为不得体、任性或怪异。因此,社会化的第一步是弄清楚你属于哪类人。是孩子还是成人?男人还是女人?复杂社会分类更多,但年龄和性别对于我们祖先的狩猎采集小团体可能足够了。

Once a child had identified with a particular social category – let’s say, female child – her next job would be to learn how to behave like the others in her category. A social category is an abstract concept, not necessarily an actual group of children. My use of the term ‘peer group’ turned out to be misleading. I should have said ‘social category’ or perhaps ‘reference group’.

一旦一个孩子明确了自己属于某个特定社会类别——比方说,女童——她接下来的工作将是学会如何像她这个类别的其他人一样行事。一个社会类别是一个抽象概念,并非儿童的实际群体。我后来发现使用‘同龄人群体’这个术语是个误导。我应该说‘社会类别’或者‘参照群体’。

Why? 

为什么?

The problem with ‘peer group’ was that it made people think ‘friends’. Group socialisation theory is not about the influence of friends. Friendships are relationships. Socialisation is not a product of relationships.

‘同龄人群体’这个词的问题在于,它让人想到‘朋友’。群体社会化理论无关朋友的影响。友谊是关系。社会化不是关系的产物。

The expanded theory presented in my second book, No Two Alike, explains why. The theory is based on the idea, put forth by evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, that the human mind is modular, a collection of specialised devices which each evolved as a solution to a specific problem or need.

我在第二本书《没有两个人是一样》中提出的扩展理论解释了其中缘由。这个理论基于如进化心理学家Leda Cosmides和John Tooby所提出的思想,即人类大脑是模块化的,是一套随着解决某个特定问题或需要而进化出的专门化元件的集合。

I proposed that there are three such devices involved in social development – the relationship system, the socialisation system and the status system. These systems work more or less independently; sometimes they even issue contradictory commands. They collect different kinds of information from the environment and process it in different ways. Friendships – like parent–child relationships – are in the purview of the relationship system, which collects data on specific individuals and makes fine distinctions among them. The socialisation system, in contrast, doesn’t bother with individuals – it computes means. It forms a prototype for each social category. The child is influenced by the norms of the social category she identifies with, even if she never interacts personally with any of its members.

我提出三种元件参与社会发展——关系系统、社会化系统和身份系统。这些系统或多或少独立工作;有时他们甚至发出相互矛盾的命令。它们从环境中收集不同种类信息并以不同方式进行处理。友谊——如亲子关系——属于关系系统范畴,它收集特定个体的数据,并在它们之间做出精准区别。相反,社会化系统与个体无关,它计算的是平均情况。它构成了每种社会类别的原型范式。孩子是被其身份认同的社会类别的规范所影响,即便她从未亲自与群体其他成员发生互动。

The Nurture Assumption completely split the field. People either said it was a serious step forward in our understanding of child development or they just weren’t having any of it. I’m in the first camp – it changed my view of child development. But why do you think there was so much hostility?

《教养的迷思》彻底分裂了这个研究领域。要么有人说这是我们理解儿童发展心理向前迈进的重要一步,要么就说它什么也不是。我是前者,它改变了我关于儿童发展心理学的看法。但是,为什么对它有这么多敌意呢?

Part of the problem was the media coverage, which was often headlined ‘Do parents matter?’. Parents were understandably irked by the question. (My answer, by the way, is: Of course parents matter!)

部分问题出在媒体报道,它们常用‘父母重要吗?’这样的标题。可以理解家长们被这样的问题搞得苦恼不已。(顺便说一句,我的回答是:当然,父母重要!)

But the real opposition to my work came from the academic world – from professors of developmental psychology. Some of these people had spent their entire careers doing studies designed to support the traditional view of child development. Then some troublemaker pops up – a complete nobody, with no PhD and no academic affiliation – and announces that the professors are wrong and their studies are worthless. You wouldn’t expect them to greet me with open arms, would you?

但是对我工作的真正反对来自学术世界——发展心理学的教授们。他们中的一些人毕其全部职业生涯做研究,旨在支持儿童发展心理学的传统观点。然后一些捣乱者冒了出来——不知何方人士,没有博士学位,没有学术任职——就胆敢声称教授们是错误的,他们的研究毫无价值。你不会指望他们张开双臂欢迎我,对吗?

You were particularly critical of their correlational studies of development. 

你对于发展心理学相关研究表现的特别有批判性。

I still see those worthless studies all the time – they get a lot of publicity. I see them as a shameful waste of time and research money. I see them as reminders that I failed in my goal of reforming the methodology of developmental psychology.

我总是仍然看到那些毫无价值的研究——他们获得大量宣传。我认为这是时间和研究经费的可耻浪费。我将这些视为对我改革发展心理学之方法论的雄心所受挫折的提醒。

The studies are worthless because the results they produce are ambiguous, so the researchers can interpret them any way they please. Let’s say they find a correlation between how often a family eats dinner together and how well their teenager manages to stay out of trouble. Such results are presented as evidence that eating dinner with their parents has ‘protective’ effects on teenagers.

这些研究毫无价值,因为其结果模棱两可,研究者以他们乐意的任何方式解释之。比方说,他们找到了一家人多久一起共进晚餐和青少年多大程度上努力不出乱子之间的相关性。这个结果作为与父母共进晚餐对青少年有‘保护’作用的证据呈现出来。

But the research method provides no way of controlling for, or estimating, the effects of inherited genes on the teenagers’ behaviour. (Conscientious parents tend to have conscientious children.) No way of controlling for what I call ‘child-to-parent effects.’ (Parents are more likely to enjoy eating dinner with well-behaved teenagers.) No way of controlling for the teenagers’ own willingness to show up at dinnertime. (Teenagers are less likely to enjoy eating dinner with their parents if they are doing things their parents don’t approve of.) The researchers assume that, even though these other factors might play a role, some of the correlation must be due to the beneficial effects of family dinners. That is a logically indefensible assumption, not supported by studies that do provide the necessary controls.

但是研究方法却没有提供任何控制或者估计遗传基因影响青少年行为的方法(有责任心的父母的孩子往往有责任心)。没有控制我所说的‘从孩子到父母的影响’(父母更乐意与举止礼貌的孩子共进晚餐)。没有控制青少年自己乐意露面的晩餐时间(如果青少年正在做父母不认可的事情,他们不大可能喜欢与父母共进晚餐)。研究者认为,尽管其他因素可能有一定作用,但一些相关肯定是由于家庭晚餐的正面作用。这是一个逻辑上站不住脚的假设,并且没有得到那些确实控制了其他因素的研究的支持。

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to state that The Nurture Assumption pretty much made you famous almost overnight. It’s not only a radical alternative to traditional ideas, but also a real ‘page-turner’. Was it your intention to write in that style?

我不觉得《教养的迷思》几乎让你一夜之间出名是夸张的措词。这本书不仅对传统观点来说是激进的,也是真正的‘新篇章开启者’。用这种风格写作是你的目的吗?

Actually, I started out by writing a traditional article and publishing it in a traditional journal, the Psychological Review. No one called it a page-turner. In fact, though it did get some favourable responses from people in other areas of psychology, it was completely ignored by the audience I was hoping to reach – those professors of developmental psychology.

实际上,我一开始是要写篇传统文章发表在传统期刊《心理学评论》上。没有人把它称为新篇章开启者。事实上,尽管它确实得到了其他心理学领域的积极反响,但却被我希望能看到它的观众——发展心理学领域的教授们——完全忽略了。

So I decided to go over their heads, as it were, and take my message directly to the general public. If you’re writing a book on a complex topic and you want people to read it, you have to make it interesting. It also helps if you can give your readers an occasional laugh. My model for how to write a book for the general public was Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct.

因此我决定,这么说吧,越过他们,直接把我的研究呈现在广大公众面前。假如你正在写一本复杂话题的书,还希望有人读它,那你就要让它有趣起来。如果读者时而笑出声来,那也有所帮助。我所借鉴的如何为广大公众写书的模本,是Steven Pinker的《语言本能》一书。

Pinker of course went on to write several more books for the public – all page turners, and in many cases game changers. I noticed that he dedicated The Blank Slate to ‘Don, Judy, Leda and John’. I would assume that three of these are Don Symons, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby. Would I be right in thinking you are the Judy? 

当然,Pinker为大众写了不少书——全都是新篇章开启者,许多情况下还是游戏改变者。我注意到他把《白板论》一书献给‘Don, Judy, Leda and John’。我猜其中三个是Don Symons, Leda Cosmides和John Tooby。你是Judy,对吗?

Yes. Steve and I became e-mail friends after I sent him a copy of my Psych Review paper and some comments on The Language Instinct. After we had exchanged a few e-mails, he asked, ‘Have you ever thought of writing a book?’ It wasn’t exactly a new idea to me, but it was nice to have the encouragement.

是的。在我给他寄送了我写的《心理学评论》论文拷贝和对《语言本能》一书的个人见解后,Steve和我成了电邮笔友。后来,我们互通了一些电子邮件,他问我:“你有没有想过写一本书?”这对我实在不是新想法,但它是很好的鼓励。

I think Steve was particularly receptive to my arguments because he’s a psycholinguist. I often use examples from psycholinguistics in explaining my theory, for two reasons. First, the outcome is usually obvious. You don’t need fancy statistical tests to decide whether or not someone has a foreign accent. Second, language and accent are among the very few social behaviours in which genetic differences play no role at all. Whether you speak Japanese or Swahili, whether your accent is Oxbridge or Liverpudlian, has nothing to do with heredity. But it does have a great deal to do with social context. The children of immigrants have the same accent as the other kids in the neighbourhood, even if they use their parents’ native language at home. Around the world, it is quite common for children to use one language at home and a different one outside the home, or one language with Mummy and a different one with Daddy.

我感觉Steve特别能接受我的观点,因为他是心理语言学家。我经常使用心理语言学例子解释我的理论,有两个原因。首先,结果通常显而易见。不需要花哨的统计学计算来确定某人是否有外国口音。其次,语言和口音是极少数遗传基因差异不起作用的社会行为之一。无论你说日语或者斯瓦希里语,无论你操牛津剑桥口音或者利物浦口音,均与遗传无关。而它确实与社会背景有很大关系。即便在家说父母亲的母语,移民孩子的口音与其他邻居孩子也一样。在世界各地,常常可见孩子在家使用一种语言而出门使用另外一种,或者和妈咪说一种语言而和爹地说另一种。

A central tenet of my theory is that social behaviours are tightly linked to the context in which they were acquired. It’s a mistake – one that’s incorporated into all the major theories of child development – to assume that children automatically generalise what they learn, from one context or person to another: Mummy is nice to them so they expect everyone to be nice to them. But discrimination, not generalisation, is the default setting of the baby’s mind.

我的理论的核心要义是,社会性行为与从中习得它的社会情境紧密相连。假设孩子自动将所学内容一般化,从一种情境或一个人推及另外一种或另一个人:就像妈咪善待他们,因此期待人人善待他们——这个假定被植入了儿童发展学的所有重要理论中,但它是错误的。相反,区别对待而非一般化处理,是婴儿心理的默认设置。

Many of the behaviours that children acquire at home would be counterproductive elsewhere. Children who dominate their younger siblings at home would be making a mistake if they tried to treat their schoolmates the same way, especially if they happen to be small for their age. Fortunately, children don’t make that mistake. Firstborns are no more likely than laterborns to try to dominate their peers.

孩子在家习得的许多行为在别处则是有害无益的。在家对弟妹指手划脚的孩子,如果试图以同样方式对待同学,就犯错了,尤其如果他们碰巧在同龄人中个头偏小。幸运的是,孩子不会犯类似错误。排行高的孩子不比排行低的孩子有更多可能性对同龄人指手划脚。

Of course, some of the things children learn at home are useful elsewhere. Those who learn to speak the local language, or to read, or to play a musical instrument, don’t have to acquire these skills all over again when they step outside. But they don’t trot them out automatically. They are tentative at first, until they’re sure that the behaviour or skill they learned at home will also work in the new setting.

当然,也有孩子在家学习的一些事情在别处是有用的。掌握了言说和阅读本地语言或演奏乐器的人,走出家门不必重新学习这些技能。但是,他们不必机械地小跑离家出来。他们先试探,直到确信那些在家里学到的行为或技能在新的环境设定中也管用。

For a young child, it’s safer to discriminate than to generalise. The child’s mind is not short of storage space. A child can store different rules of behaviour for every setting, and different expectations for every individual he or she encounters.

对于小孩子,区别对待比一般化处理更安全。孩子的意识不缺存储空间。可以为不同环境设定存储不同行为规范,以及为他所与之交往的每个人分别存储各自对对方的期望。

Your goal in No Two Alike was to explain why individuals differ so much, even if they grew up in the same family, right?

您写《没有两个人一样》一书是解释为什么每个人如此不同,即使他们在同一家庭长大,对吗?

Right. I realised a couple of years after The Nurture Assumption was published that I had done only half the job: I had explained only how children get socialised. Socialisation is a process that causes children to become more similar in behaviour to their same-sex peers. And yet, despite being socialised, children continue to differ from one another in personality and social behaviour.

对。《教养的迷思》出版后过了几年,我发现自己只做了一半工作:我只解释了孩子是如何社会化的。社会化是导致孩子行为处事更像同性同龄人的过程。尽管被社会化,孩子们的个性和社会行为仍然彼此不同。

If anything, the differences widen during childhood and adolescence. I made some ineffectual efforts to deal with that problem in The Nurture Assumption, but I didn’t have a theory to account for it till I wrote the second book. The improved version of the theory presented in No Two Alike explains how children can, at the same time, become more similar to their peers in some ways and more different in other ways.

很可能,个体差异在孩童期和青春期扩大了。在《教养的迷思》中我做了些无效努力面对这个问题,但没有理论可以解释它,直到我写第二本书。《没有两个人一样》提出的改进版理论解释了为什么孩子在一些方面与同伴更相似,与此同时在另一些方面却变得更为不同。

There was a fair bit of replying to arguments put forward by critics of The Nurture Assumption. Was that one of the aims?

之前你针对《教养的迷思》批评者所提出的观点给出了不少直接回应。那是你的写作目的之一吗?

It was. I was tired of journalists telling me that my theory must be wrong because some expert at some big university had told them that there were plenty of studies that disproved it. I searched diligently for the studies they cited. In some cases they were nowhere to be found; at any rate, they had never been published in a peer-reviewed journal. In other cases a study had been published but the results didn’t do what the experts claimed – they didn’t disprove my theory. In one case, a study they cited actually did the opposite – it supported my theory!

是的。我厌烦了记者告诉我,我的理论肯定错误,因为某些著名大学的某些专家已经告诉他们,有大量研究反驳我的理论。我努力分析他们引用的研究。有些研究什么也没发现;不管怎么说,它们从未在同行评议的学术期刊上发表。另一些研究,发表的一项实验没获得专家声称的实验结果——并没有反驳我的理论。一个研究援引的一项实验结果实际上恰好相反——它支持我的理论!

That 1995 Psychological Review piece you mentioned won the George A. Miller award for an outstanding article in general psychology. There was a certain irony about that?

你提到的1995年那篇《心理学评论》文章荣获了George A. Miller心理学杰出论文奖。这是某种嘲讽吗?

In 1960 I was a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Harvard. One day I got a letter saying that the Department had decided to kick me out of their PhD programme. They doubted I would ever make a worthwhile contribution to psychology, the letter said, due to my lack of ‘originality and independence’. The letter was signed by the acting chairman of the Department, George A. Miller!

1960年,我是哈佛大学心理学系研究生。有一天,我收到一封信,说系里已经决定把我排除在博士项目之外。信中说,由于我缺乏‘原创性和独立性’,他们对我做出有价值的心理学贡献表示怀疑。这封信正是由代理系主席George A. Miller签署的!

Sometimes, when life hands you a lemon, you should just bite in. Getting kicked out of Harvard was a devastating blow at the time, but in retrospect, it was the best thing that Harvard ever did for me. It freed me from the influence of ‘experts’. It kept me from being indoctrinated. Many years later, it enabled me to write The Nurture Assumption.

有时,当生活递给你一个柠檬时,你就应该咬它。当时被踢出哈佛是一个毁灭性打击,但现在回想起来,这是哈佛为我所做过的最好的事情。这让我从‘专家’的影响解脱出来。让我不被灌输。许多年以后,让我写出《教养的迷思》。

(编辑:辉格@whigzhou)

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