L PSYC Discussion

 

A. Read the following study summary and then critically respond to the questions listed below.

Several studies suggest that breast-fed babies become more intelligent children than formula fed babies. One such study (Lucas, et al, 1992) involved over 300 premature babies whose mothers had chosen, prior to the study, whether or not to breast feed their newborns. Infants in both the breast-milk and formula groups were fed by tube for 18 months.

As 8 year olds, children fed breast milk as infants scored 8 points higher in overall IQ than did those who were fed formula. This difference was observed even after the researchers adjusted for differences in SES and maternal education of the two groups. (This adjustment allowed the researchers to rule out any pre-existing differences in the groups that might have independently contributed to IQ differences in their children.)

The authors acknowledged that other differences between the groups, such as the children’s genetic potential or their parents’ caregiving skills or motivation to nurture, could explain the results. However, they believe that human milk contains various hormones and other factors that enhance brain growth and maturation.

1. State the researchers’ hypothesis in your own words. Identify the independent and dependent variables, and define other important concepts used in the study.

2. What evidence do the researchers offer as a test of their hypothesis? Is this evidence empirical? Is it valid? How do you know?

3. What explanation do the researchers offer for their findings? Does this explanation make sense based on the evidence?

4. Can the researchers draw a causal conclusion about breast milk and intelligence based upon this study? Why or why not?

5. What are the practical implications for this study?

B. Look up a current research study on breastfeeding (a scholarly study). Are the findings of the Lucas et al. (1992) study still relevant? Be sure to cite your source in APA format.

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