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DISCUSSION TOPIC: NURSERY RHYMES AND "RING AROUND THE ROSEY"This nursery rhyme originated during the worst pandemics of Black Plague in Europe, when over half the population of that area died. The ring is thought to refer to the dark ring that surrounded the red welt--a first sign that you had contracted the rat borne bacteria. Posies are large growths that formed in the groin area of plague victims (hence "pocketful of posies"). Note: This has been the usual way this dark rhyme has been explained. Learn later in class how researchers are now questioning this interpretation.

In fact, if you examine many traditional nursery rhythms they have a very negative theme e.g. "Jack fell down and broke his crown," "the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all," "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." What are we to make of this? I have an idea, but I'd like to hear your input. I can also provide plausible explanations for the origins of many of these nursery rhymes, which I'll do after the assignment is completed. Fascinating, really!
Why are so many more women than men depressed? The rate is double. Also, think about this. Men who are married report much greater levels of happiness than married women. In contrast, divorced women report much greater levels of happiness than divorced males. How do you account for this gender difference? Write in with your comments.
Also, consider the possibility that this data may contain what is called a statistical artifact i.e. data results distorted due to a problem in data collection, such as differences in the populations surveyed. Can you guess what might be the source of artifacts?
There is a large body of research focused on how a caregivers response to young children in their cribs effects the child's "attachment." "Negative attachment" is produced when a caregiver (usually a mother) responds to a child's cries for assistance on her own time. For example, the mother might consistently wait until she's finished with dishes or another chore before she addresses the infants needs. Same goes for young kids in day care. These kids seem to develop a basic sense of insecurity, and often become adults who are more prone to depression,less motivated, insecure in relationships, with lower self esteem.

Now here's the interesting part. 90% of the worlds mothers keep their young children swaddled to their bodies for at least the first year of the child's life. When women from many third world countries are told that American women leave their infants isolated in cribs during this time, they are astounded, and find the practice inhumane. Here's an instance where Psychology illustrates its cultural bias; its ethnocentrism. The entire field of research on attachment would not exist if research was based on non-Eurocentric child rearing practices. I happen to that think that keeping an infant close to his/her mother and sleeping with the infant is beneficial to fostering a strong sense of love and attachment. Women from many third word countries insist on bringing their infants to work with them, swaddled in a back or belly wrap. Is this abrupt separation one of the factors that contributes to our societies plethora of dysfunctional children and adults? It's certainly not the only cause, but might it not be part of the problem? I sure don't know, but it's interesting to consider. SO what do you think. Should we promote more of a third world approach to mothering?
Powerful drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, drugs in the amphetamine class, are being prescribed to our children in alarming numbers. These drugs, referred to as "speed" for so long on the street, may have untold long-term consequences. In the short term, they cause dependence and a withdrawal syndrome associated with restlessness, lethargy and depression. Kids may find themselves melancholy, crying, and not know why. Professionals have referred to these drugs as "chemical straightjackets" and the symptoms they are purported to treat as "culturally syntonic."

In addition, a new study found another alarming trend: the prescription of these and antidepressant medications to 3 and 4 year olds. Antidepressants have never been tested or approved for use by children this young. In short, we're instituting a society wide experiment with our young children as subjects--something we may live to severely regret.

I do believe there are some children who truly benefit from drugs like ritalin, but these drugs are clearly being over prescribed, often by a general physician simply on the word of the child's parents. There are proven ways of dealing with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder using behavioral methods. Examples include having problem children sit in front, keeping exercises clear and short, and classrooms small and free of distractions. So what's your opinion. Why such an epidemic of ADHD within the U.S. and seldom elsewhere?
Having suffered occasional bouts of minor depression, as we all do, and tried antidepressant medication for a short period, I believe the veracity of the title of this discussion question "You Can't Write Poetry on Prozac." Actually, I should have said "you can't write good poetry on Prozac."

I believe that great works of writing and other forms of art require depths of emotion. There is considerable research which shows a strong correlation between depression, and manic-depression in particular, and creativity. So I'm concerned about the future of great writing, when all of us will have a pill that flattens our emotions, and allows us to escape both the highs and lows of life's emotional roller-coaster. I find that when I'm taking an anti-depressant, and when the medication is working, I don't feel the strength of my positive OR negative emotions. For example, I don't feel as affectionate toward the people I care about.

SO what do you all think? Is this an issue we should be concerned about? Or should we just count ourselves lucky that these medications are available, and say "that's the price we have to pay, a loss of the emotions that drive great writing,poetry,artwork, musical composition and songwriting?"