Harvard Presentation on the Science of Bullying Prevetion


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Dr. Dennis Embry presented a guest lecture at a one day event sponsored by Harvard University. Dr. Embry's comments focused on how broad scale evolutionary mismatch is causing vulnerability to multiple forms of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders that are linked to bullying and harassment for both perpetration and victimization.

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Harvard Presentation on the Science of Bullying Prevetion

  1. 1. State of the science and state of the art:Peaceability versus human aggression<br />Harvard Graduate School<br />Designing Environments to Prevent School Violence: <br />Next Steps in Preventing Bullying and Harassment • June 7, 2011 <br />Dennis D. Embry, Ph.D.,President/Scientist, PAXIS InstituteCo-Investigator, Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention and Early InterventionCo-Investigator, Promise Neighborhood Research Consortium<br />
  2. 2. What do we wish to change?<br />What do we want to increase?<br />What do we want to decrease?<br />
  3. 3. Thinking about…Selection by consequences<br />• Evolution<br />• Matching Law<br />• Neural pruning<br />• The marketplace<br />
  4. 4. Neuro-Hormones<br />Evolutionary Adaptive Responses<br />(Simplified)<br />Evolutionary Adaptive Responses<br />(Simplified)<br />Mood Modulators<br />Reward Delay Modulators<br />Threat Attributional Bias (Inflammatory)<br />Intra-Group<br />Affiliation <br />(Anti-Inflammatory)<br />Generalized<br />Inflammatory<br />Response<br />Localized<br />Inflammatory<br />Response<br />Stress Modulators<br />Out-Group<br />Aggress. (Inflammatory)<br />Intra-Group<br />Cooperation (Anti-Inflammatory)<br />Puberty/Sex Modulators<br />Tit-for-Tat Beh. Bias (Inflammatory)<br />Anti-Inflammatory Regulators<br />Human Infectious/Biological Threats <br />Human Predatory Threats <br />Modern culture commonly produces multiple evolutionary mismatches triggering multiple inflammatory responses.<br />
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  6. 6. K<br />Path<br />R<br />Path<br />R<br />Path<br />Evolutionary Path<br />of a Child’s Life<br />Probability of long-life and reproductive success <br />Probability of short-life and doubtful reproductive success <br />R-Path can be triggered by evolutionary mismatch in social or physical environment.<br />
  7. 7. Obesity<br />Conduct Disorders<br />Homicide & Suicide<br />Depression<br />Oppositional/ ADHD<br />Addictions<br />Aggression<br />Self <br />harm<br />Bullying<br />Harassment<br />R PATH = Risky behaviors<br />
  8. 8. Nearly 75 percent of the nation's 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for service<br /><ul><li>Medical/physical problems, 35 percent.
  9. 9. Illegal drug use, 18 percent.
  10. 10. Mental Category V (the lowest 10 percent of the population), 9 percent.
  11. 11. Too many dependents under age 18, 6 percent.
  12. 12. Criminal record, 5 percent.</li></ul>Army Times, Nov 5, 2009 • www.missionreadiness.org/PAEE0609.pd<br />
  13. 13. The US has 75 million children and teens.40.4 million are on psychotropic medications <br />Wall Street Journal, 12-28-2010<br />
  14. 14. Evolutionary Mismatch<br />How have the changes in modern human ecology for which were were evolved and adapted affected<br />Sleep<br />Eating<br />Mental health<br />Problem behaviors<br />Physical Health<br />Sexual maturity<br />
  15. 15. “Risky” Beh. & Mismatch<br />Theory<br />Evolution<br />Breast Milk<br />Neonates<br />In the Rife Valley, the human brain evolution the result of eating fish high in omega-3 not savannah animals<br />American infants have been getting steadily less omega-3 (n3) and more pro-inflammatory omega-6 (n6) in breast milk<br />Successful human neonates born with 60-day supply of omega-3 in subcutaneous fat from mother’s diet<br />Almost all adolescent risky behaviors have now been documented to be related to low n3 and high n6 in US diet change in last 50 years<br />Example Evolutionary Mismatch<br />See Broadhurst, Cunnane, & Crawford (1998). Rift Valley lake fish and shellfish provided brain-specific nutrition forearly Homo<br />See HIbbeln et al. (2007).Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): an observational cohort study<br />See Ailhaud et al. (2006).Temporal changes in dietary fats: Role of n6polyunsaturated fatty acids in excessive adipose tissuedevelopment and relationship to obesity<br />Hibbeln et al. (2006). Healthy intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids: estimations considering worldwide diversity.<br />
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  17. 17. Behavior & the Matching Law<br />Adult coercion<br />Reinforcement<br />for “Good”<br />Reinforcement<br />for “Bad”<br />In one hour of school, how often do peers reinforce the “good” in school?<br />How often by adults at school?<br />How often at home or community in a day? <br />In one hour of school, how often do peers reinforce the “bad” in school?<br />How often by adults at school?<br />How often at home or community in a day? <br />How often might adults in authority exert perceived threats of coercion in school, at home, or in the community in a single day?<br />Example Evolutionary Mismatch<br />The probability of human behavioral choice “matches” this saturation formula in the classroom, home and community, and Matching Law works for all vertebrate creatures<br />
  18. 18. What happens if you change the Matching Law (the Good Behavior Game) in a classroom?<br />
  19. 19. What happens if you teach students to praise each other for “peaceability”<br />
  20. 20. DRI = Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behaviors<br />DRO = Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors<br />
  21. 21. Antecedents that make transitions more peaceful<br />Relational frame of belonging and generalization of prosocial behavior<br />
  22. 22. Every family can use simple, proven, wise, and powerful tools to fill the suitcases for life of our children, their friends’ and their friends’ friends.<br />What can Families do?<br />
  23. 23.
  24. 24. Now<br />What?<br />
  25. 25.
  26. 26. Basic understanding of kernels<br />Embry, D. D. and A. Biglan (2008). "Evidence-Based Kernels: Fundamental Units of Behavioral Influence." Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review 11(3): 75-113.<br />Using kernels for population change<br />Embry, D. D. (2004). "Community-Based Prevention Using Simple, Low-Cost, Evidence-Based Kernels and Behavior Vaccines." Journal of Community Psychology 32(5): 575.<br />Behavioral vaccines for disease control<br />Embry, D. D. 2011. Behavioral vaccines and evidence-based kernels: non-pharmaceutical approaches for the prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Psychiatr Clin North Am 34 (1):1-34.<br />
  27. 27. Learning to be an everyday scientist<br />
  28. 28. We need to and empower every person with tools and structures to build a positive, productive, healthy world where peaceability flourish<br />