Thursday, March 24, 2016

Memories IV: Parenting and the Bystander Effect

This memory is sparked by some writing I have been doing for a textbook.  So it doesn't start off in the same sort of very personal place that some of my other memories of Eli or Miriam have. (It will get there soon enough.)  Instead, what got me thinking was writing about research on the Bystander Effect.

The Bystander Effect is a well-documented phenomenon in social psychology.  Suppose that someone is the victim of some kind of emergency (like a heart attack or a traffic accident or even an assault).  Then, the more bystanders witness the emergency, the less likely it is that the victim will receive help from any of them.  In 1968, social scientists John Darley and Bibb LatanĂ© conducted a famous experiment in which they showed that the chance of a single bystander intervening in a staged emergency situation was 85 percent, but this dropped to 31 percent when five bystanders were believed to be present. Somehow, the fact that other people are not intervening "licenses" me not to intervene also - even though, were I alone, I would clearly see my duty to help.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Memories III: Renaissance Faire

SCAHS Ren Faire 2011
For many years our house was full of sewing.  Miriam - and later Eli - loved to create clothing: fashionable apparel like Pokemon-inspired prom dresses, zany insect costumes, work for the theater department at Penn State and even for a London staging of The Lion King.  Her greatest joy, though, was to create garb for the high school Renaissance Faire, and to help other participants to create their own garb too.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Memories II: River Flows in You

On the John Muir Trail, 2006
We got a piano when we moved into our home in State College in 2000.  Miriam took lessons until she was in high school, and continued to play long after that.  She played more by muscle memory and intuition than by sight-reading, which meant that she had a few pieces that we heard many, many times.   One of those was River Flows in You, by the Korean artist Yiruma.