Episode 8 (Minicast): How Bogus Beliefs Persist


Does ingesting sugar make kids hyper? Is there such a thing as a mid-life crisis? Does age bring wisdom? Why these commonly held notions persist provides a good illustration of how the confirmation bias can short-circuit rationality. Sources

M. L. Wolraich; D. B. Wilson; J. W. White, “The effect of sugar on behavior or cognition in children. A meta-analysis,” JAMA. 1995;274: 1617-1621.

Krummel, D.A., Seligson, F. H., & Guthrie, H. A. 1996. “Hyperactivity: is candy causal?” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 36 (1-2), 31-34.

[Note: More recent research has linked additives used in sodas, such as sodium benzoate, to hyperactivity in children. But not the sugar.]

Costa, P. T. 1986. “Cross-sectional studies of personality in a national sample: II. stability in neuroticism, extraversion, and openness,” Psychology & Aging, 1 (2), 144-149.

4 Aldwin, C. M. & Levenson, M.R. 2001. “Stress, Coping, and Health at Mid-life: A developmental perspective,” In: Lachman, M. E. (ed.). Handbook of Midlife Development. New York., Wiley, 188-215.

Brim, O. G. 1976. “Theories of the male mid-life crisis,” Counseling Psychologist, 6 (1), 2-9.

[Update: There is now cross-cultural evidence that males are more likely to become depressed in middle adulthood. Evidence of a “crisis” . . . ? Hmm.]

Takahaski, M. 2000. “Toward a culturally inclusive understanding of wisdom: Historical roots in the East and West,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 51(3), 217-230.

Staudinger, U. M., Smith, J. & Baltes, P. B. 1992, “Wisdom-related knowledge in a Life Review task: Age differences and the role of professional specialization.” Psychology and Aging, 7(2), 271-281.

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