The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Stereotypes: Age and liberalism, conservatism.

There is this strongly held stereotype that, as people age, they become more conservative and rigid in their views and less willing to take in new information and change in accordance to it. Most people, in most places believe in this image. Yet, is it true?

The researchers Nicholas Danigelis, and Stephen Cutler of the University of Vermont and Melissa Hardy of Pennsylvannia State University used a data set on 46,510 Americans from the US General Social Surveys of 1972 to 2004. The surveys assessed attitudes in areas such as politics, race, gender, economic and sexuality issues. In their analysis they corrected for the fact (since the surveys did not refer to the same people) that each set of information was on a different group who had started out with different baseline values and outlooks.

Amazingly, the researchers found that, as people got older, more of them changed towards greater liberalism, than otherwise. Quite simply, their attitudes and outlooks opened up as they got older - they did NOT close down and rigidify.

So, why do people believe that oldsters are rigid, conservative and blinkered in their outlook? Well, because an average 60 year old might seem more conservative than an average 30 year old - but what they haven't realized is that the 60 year old will have started out as much more conservative than they have become. We don't see, at first glance, the change towards liberalism that has occurred over the 60 year old's lifetime. Yet, it is there. The older you get, on average, the more liberal you are going to become.

What does this mean? Well, it means that, in reality, old people are NOT stuck in their ways, ARE open to new information and are likely to hold liberal positions on most issues. The funny thing is, the old sound much like how we imagine the young to be. OLD is the new YOUNG.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:38 PM 


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