Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Study Finds Delinquent Behavior Among Boys Is "Contagious"

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-you-lie-down-with-dogs-you-will-get-up-with-fleas dept.

Science 245

According to a new study, if everyone else was committing a crime, you would too, at least if you are a boy. The 20-year study showed what every grandmother could tell you; children from poor families, with inadequate supervision and bad friends were more likely to end up in juvenile court. What was more surprising is that exposure to the juvenile justice system seemed to increase the chance that the boy would engage in criminal activity as a young adult. "For boys who had been through the juvenile justice system, compared to boys with similar histories without judicial involvement, the odds of adult judicial interventions increased almost seven-fold," says study co-author Richard E. Tremblay.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

System (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733275)

There's money in prisons, pointless drug laws etc. It's not an accident things work out this way.

Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733287)

"Boys more likely to do what the other boys in their peer group are doing. Juvenile delinquents teach juveniles to be delinquents."

Another amazing result by the Maximegallion Institute for Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733751)

Except vey often, the 'Obvious' isn't.

It's obvious that if you turn off the TV and get your kids to go outsize they'll get more exercise, right? turns out that's not true.
Thre is a ong line of 'obvious' things that have fallen by the wayside when actually studied.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (5, Funny)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733819)

Delinquents are teaching delinquents now? Back when I was a juvenile delinquent we didn't have any "internet" or "correctional facilities" to show us how. If you wanted to be a delinquent you had to learn it and earn it yourself, by breaking and entering to a house that was 3 miles away in the snow uphill both way and guarded by gargoyles. Today's youth just want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Lazy little bastards. that's the Now get off my lawn.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734347)

You had hills? Man, we would have killed for even one hill when *I* was a kid.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (5, Informative)

princessproton (1362559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733859)

Not only obvious, but previously described by criminologists. Sutherland's Differential Association Theory [wikipedia.org] was published in the '70s, and even those concepts were grounded in Social Learning Theory, which was developed in the 1800s.

The basic tenets of Differential Association Theory are that criminal (or delinquent) behavior is learned, usually through contact/behavior modeling of an intimate social group (peers). Further criminological theories posit that the labeling of these group behaviors as deviant can cause the group to develop their own subculture with values apart from traditional society. Therefore, the labeling involved in the "help given by the juvenile justice system" actually promotes continued deviant behavior.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (1)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733863)

Exactly.

This just in: Peer pressure exists.

News at 11.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733947)

The part about judicial intervention being a predictor of judicial intervention to come is less obvious.

Of course, if it is just a result of the most delinquent kids receiving the most attention when they are young and continuing the behavior anyway, it is less interesting, but the article doesn't make it clear exactly what 'similar histories' means, so there isn't really any way to tell.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734225)

Wow... study's result is 'obvious' is Insightful huh? How bout exercising some of that skepticism on the notion of 'obvious'.

Re:Ah yes, another breakthrough from MISPWOSO (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734323)

Well, I for one am shocked to learn that kids who grow up in shitty neighborhoods, with shitty parents, hanging around and bunch of drug dealers and gangbangers are more likely to turn to a life of crime than a kid who grows up in the affluent suburbs with attentive and caring parents. The hell you say!

Correlation not causation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733289)

Where's the tag?

Re:Correlation not causation? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733471)

I'd rather see "yougottakeepemseparated"

Contagious? (1)

sjfoland (1565277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733297)

Was this study conducted by the ministry of cliched motherhood fears? Next on their agenda: if all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?

Re:Contagious? (1)

Roachgod (589171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733571)

Ever met a bunch of adolescent skydivers or base jumpers... (the answer is: abso-fuckin-lutely they would)

Re:Contagious? (5, Funny)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734017)

Heh. Yeah, the "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?" always confused me as a child.

Growing up in Oregon, two things we had in abundance were rivers and bridges over them.

Some bridges are too high, or the water too shallow, to jump off the bridge into the river below.

One way to tell is to see where everyone else is jumping in at. If they swim back to shore and climb back up you know it's safe. (For various values of "safe".)

Which is a longish way of saying the answer to the question is, "Well, yeah. Of course."

How exactly is this contagious? (1, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733299)

They imply that this environment causes this behaviour, which might be true. Just like living under a Power-line, Cell phone tower, and beside a nuclear power plant, MIGHT cause some cancerous effects.

However, that doesn't make it CONTAGIOUS.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Contagious [reference.com]

Re:How exactly is this contagious? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733655)

Umm, when "environment" means "other people exhibiting bad behavior" and the effect of that environment is "bad behavior in you", the situation falls well within the (looser, not pathogen specific) sense of "contagious".

Other environmental effects are not described as "contagious" because the environments, in those cases, aren't human at all, much less humans exhibiting the same pathology they cause.

Re:How exactly is this contagious? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733721)

3. tending to spread from person to person: contagious laughter.

It's already well established that ideas are contagious, and particularly infectious or virulent ideas are called memes. It's obvious that isolating two individuals will prevent the spread of ideas from one to the other, and it logically follows that increasing their exposure increases the spread of ideas proportionally (or at least not inversely). That is basically the purpose of the internet -- to increase our exposure to other people, and to disseminate and to receive ideas.

It's also well established that people hold the ideas of their peers in higher regard than those of anyone else, except parents for a short time. This has led to the concept of peer pressure. [wikipedia.org]

By placing a group of people together, they will tend to form bonds and groups. In this case, it's irrelevant who comprises which group, because they all have one thing in common: They made poor decisions which led to their incarceration. So you have groups of people with bad ideas and poor decision-making skills, who hold their own opinions in higher regard than those of their custodians, spending most of the day exchanging those ideas, and using their poor decision-making skills to choose which ideas sound good.

In retrospect, it's really hard to argue that anything good could come of this. Yes, some people could realize their mistakes, but it seems unlikely that they would speak up even if they did, or that the majority of people would seriously consider their opinion when it clashes with what everyone else is saying (that they didn't do anything wrong, or that their circumstances excuse their behavior). In effect, to escape from the cycle, they must A) recognize the process which is affecting them, and B) reject the ideas of their peers, which could possibly mean rejecting the only people they share any bonds with.

Re:How exactly is this contagious? (5, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733893)

If only the Department of Health in England could have read this before they spent millions placing kids with higher risk to be a teenage parent in a room with each other, then they wouldn't have been suprised when the pregnancy rates jumped.

Clearly, they should have been thinly distributed amongst the chess clubs and mathlete societies, where they would have either benefited from the complete lack of sex or been instrumental in breeding a new race of promiscuous geeks.

warning! (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733323)

This may be true: sticking the bad kids in with the good kids may improve the behavior of the bad kids. BUT BE WARNED! I was part of an educational experiment in which honors students (such as myself) were placed in an 6th-grade English class with, well, the criminal class.

I LEARNED NOTHING IN THAT CLASS! The teacher spent the whole time playing cop to stop the delinquents. Furthermore, sticking us in with them actually encouraged the good students to out-bad the bad students. It was a complete disaster.

For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway. Attempts to make this happen will likely drag us all down.

Re:warning! (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733407)

Exactly. The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers, and society doesn't waste any more time or money on them than necessary. Educational resources need to be saved for the kids where it'll do the most good.

Re:warning! (0, Troll)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733623)

Prepare them to be burger-flippers? What? Educationally-challenged juvenile criminals should be given access to the same education as everyone else so long as they do their homework and behave. If they continue to do otherwise, they should be removed from class so that those students who want an education can get it.

I can't believe you would think honest, hard-working, and motivated students should have their educations ruined in a vain attempt to make an intellectual of a criminal. Give the criminals a chance, and if they refuse to take it, putting them in separate classes is the only reasonable choice. Don't force them to be "burger flippers," but if they select that course for themselves, so be it. Society needs burgers, too.

Re:warning! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733875)

He's simply talking about a new style of teaching. It's called "Woosh" theory.

Re:warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733963)

Great idea, but Germany has already beat you in implementing this.

Re:warning! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734075)

I think you may have replied to the wrong person, as I advocate the same things you say here.

Re:warning! (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734295)

Prepare them to be burger-flippers? What? Educationally-challenged juvenile criminals should be given access to the same education as everyone else

Whoosh...

Re:warning! (1, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733853)

And what happens to the 'good kids' who are misidentified as 'bad kids' and stigmatized for life and ignored by the "good parts" of the system and put into a peer group which has won't recognize anything valuable about them save for delinquency?

Sure, we can do more to avoid "wast[ing] time or money" on the bad kids, but a system of pigeonholing them in the manner you describe is going to be fraught with trouble before politics / political correctness / all that mess start manipulating the system to further their own agendas.

Re:warning! (2, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734039)

And what happens to the 'good kids' who are misidentified as 'bad kids' and stigmatized for life and ignored by the "good parts" of the system and put into a peer group which has won't recognize anything valuable about them save for delinquency?

Obviously, the system should have a way of allowing kids to move back to the better classes. But many other countries already have a system like this which divides kids early on, such as Germany, and it seems to work rather well. Luckily for them, they don't have the problem we do in the USA with stupid parents suing the schools because they wouldn't let little Johnny take the college-prep classes even though he keeps failing out of them.

Re:warning! (5, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733887)

The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers

Great. Take a whole bunch of criminals, and give them keys to go into your office after hours, and have them prepare your food.

Re:warning! (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733975)

You do realize that many cooks in restaurants are people with criminal records, right? It's one of the few jobs that'll take them when they're actually trying to get out of a life of crime.

Re:warning! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734221)

"The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers"

You are still stuck on the idea that there are inherently good kids and bad kids, despite supposedly agreeing with what you were responding to. Re-read it: "sticking us in with them actually encouraged the good students to out-bad the bad students." If true, then the approach you advocate is 100% wrong; the goodness and badness of kids is not inherent, but mostly environment. In that case the worst thing you could do is purposely put (some) kids in a bad environment. If environment is important, then the way to make people peaceful and productive is to break the cycle of intergenerational dysfunction as "bad" people create bad environments for their offspring - the opposite of what you propose.

Re:warning! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734327)

So what are you proposing, putting everyone together? We already know that doesn't work, and just drags everyone down.

Yes, some kids are better than others, despite what you may believe. The problem is the social effects: the ones in the middle are more easily swayed. So the kids who are the biggest problems need to be kicked out and kept separate, and the ones in the middle will improve.

Re:warning! (1)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733419)

For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway. Attempts to make this happen will likely drag us all down.

But do you have a plan for those juvenile criminals and bullies? Or are you just going to let them grow into adult criminals and get stacked into the already-overpopulated prisons?

Re:warning! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733505)

Burn them as fuel. Energy crisis solved, and it'll keep them off our lawns.

Re:warning! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733755)

Yeah, people tend to talk as though it's fine to foster antisocial criminality and hopelessness in kids, because hey, we need people to work at McDonalds too! But think a little more about that-- do you think that solves the problem?

Don't all levels of all industries need good, hard, smart workers? Not all need the same sort of education and experience, but certainly every business benefits from not-having the employees steal from the till. All business benefit from having someone smart enough to work efficiently, to keep up with (or maybe even invent) new ways of doing things.

Does society in general benefit from having poorly-educated criminals? How many social and economic problems are helped by lower crime rates? We lose less money to theft and damage. We spend less money on law enforcement and jails. We produce more when everyone is employed and productive instead of in jail. And the obvious: we're all safer when crime rates go down.

I'm not claiming there's an easy answer, but it's certainly worth our trouble to try to educate all children, and to help them find a place in the world where they can be "productive members of society" (whatever that means).

Re:warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733849)

Poorly educated criminals wind up on COPS so we can laugh at them. Highly educated criminals destroyed the economy. Take your pick.

Re:warning! (1)

jrand (539209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733435)

Your anecdote actually proves the point of the article - if there is already a high concentration of delinquent behavior, kids introduced into that environment are likely to behave poorly themselves. The question is whether it works the other way: would you have a better chance of reforming the behavior of an individual problem student if you placed him with the honors class?

Re:warning! (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733669)

That would depend in large part on if the delinquent kid was stupid or just had some behavioral problems.

Re:warning! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733525)

honors students (such as myself) were placed in an 6th-grade English class with, well, the criminal class...It was a complete disaster.

Well sure, but part of the point I gathered from TFS (didn't RTFA) is that it doesn't really work to segregate out all the "bad kids" either, because what happens is those bad kids influence each other and the bad kids get worse.

we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway.

I would agree that we shouldn't be trying to make all the juvenile delinquents into scientists, but some of that might be because I don't think we should be trying to make all of anyone into scientists. I'd sooner say that there are a lot of jobs out there that need doing, and it'd be best if we could get honest, hard-working people doing all of those jobs.

But where I wouldn't agree is this tone that every kid with behavior problems is just useless and should be shuffled off and locked up. The ideal should be that we can find ways for every person to contribute to society. The ideal should be that we educate every student the best that we can. Sure, this might mean a little bit of triage in the education system, but if you write kids off early and treat them as though they're useless criminals, then don't be surprised when they grow up to be useless criminals.

Re:warning! (4, Insightful)

locofungus (179280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733585)

but if you write kids off early and treat them as though they're useless criminals, then don't be surprised when they grow up to be useless criminals.

It's worse than that. They might start of as useless criminals, but if they're going to go into a life of crime, three years at university^Wprison is about the best education they can get.

Tim.

Re:warning! (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733589)

I was part of an educational experiment in which honors students (such as myself) were placed in an 6th-grade English class...I LEARNED NOTHING IN THAT CLASS!

Apparently.

Re:warning! (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733817)

It was originally worded as "an elementary school English class," and I hastily re-worded it. But I am willing to accept your criticism, as it does support my point ;-)

Re:warning! (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733925)

You also misused "myself". Since you weren't the subject of that phrase, you don't use the reflexive form in the object.

Re:warning! (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733619)

You know, just about that whole post was pretty twisted.

Re:warning! (5, Insightful)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733765)

I've seen the same thing from the other side, as a probationary teacher. Class settles down, trouble-maker walks in late and then continues being disruptive, and the rest of the class period is shot. Try telling the football or basketball coach that you're going to "mainstream" the team by including below-average members, rather than selecting the most talented for the appropriate sport. Then explain why we disrupt the intellectual side of the school instead.

Re:warning! (3, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733811)

I agree. And I also feel it's time parents started being held accountable for what their kids are doing. Too many parents just don't care and that needs to change.

I went to what most would consider inner city schools. I noticed, fairly consistently, that those kids who's parents actually paid attention to what their kids were doing tended to do well. The ones where the parents were virtually non-existent were the biggest troublemakers, troublemaker being a huge understatement. And the ones who truly excelled were the ones who's parents were demanding and didn't tolerate nonsense. It certainly wasn't a guarantee at all, but doubtless it improved the odds.

Income seems to not make a difference, except for the obvious fact that if a kid grows up around successful chances are they will learn from them and do well themselves. Although I know quite a few people who grew up fairly well off and are quite messed up. So again, parenting is important. I think race is irrelevant but cultural background is very important. Virtually all of my Asian friends in the US are successful and excelled in school. It wasn't because of any sort of inherent ability but because their parents were extremely demanding and would never tolerate poor grades. Some parents see it as a source of pride that their kids end up in ivy league schools, almost to the point of being vain, like owning a BMW or something from Burberry.

A problem I find with a lot of Americans is that they segregate children from adults. I'll go to a party and see the kids all sent off to the children's table and told to to interrupt adults. Growing up, whenever we had get together kids were sitting around with adults, learning from them. Sometimes the topics were mature and the kids didn't get it, but that was irrelevant. The problem with keeping them separate is that kids are stupid. So what are they going to learn from each other? Nothing but more stupidity. Certainly it's perfectly fine for kids to interact and play together, but American culture has taken it to an extreme. To the point where even kids think it's uncool to be around adults. Look at kid's television, this nonsense is constantly perpetuated. So how are they supposed to have any respect for anything and learn? Another problem is this importance a lot of parents place on their kids being sociable; the more friends they have, the more activities they engage in, the better. That's all well and good, but again, from what I've seen it causes too many problems. The moment kids get too fixated on their friends their grades suffer, among other things.

Honestly, I don't know how parents are held accountable for their children, especially in cases where guys just knock up a girl and dump her. Not that these girls are victims themselves. I've had a few classmates who got pregnant as teenagers, but kept living the single lifestyle, going to clubs and whatnot and got pregnant with second and third children, often each by a different father. How the hell do you address that? Especially when some people don't even see the problem or don't care.

Re:warning! (2, Funny)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733993)

People who consistently demonstrate they're unable or unwilling to take care of their children should be deprived of the ability to have them. It might not change their behavior, but at least they'll self-select not to perpetuate their genes and child-rearing practices.

I really have no ideas on how to force parents to deal properly with their teenagers, though, if holding them liable financially isn't enough.

Re:warning! (2, Insightful)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733955)

I don't think what happens in the classroom is by any stretch of the imagination the decisive formative influence on young people. Putting honors students in with the delinquents won't help because the delinquents have an entire life outside the classroom that propels them towards delinquency. Messed-up situations at home, living in a bad neighborhood, having a social network full of other people who are on the same track as them... having a good education is a component to getting out of that situation but it's by no means enough.

Re:warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734073)

Why wouldn't they instead take one or two bad kids and put them in with classes full of 'good' kids? Sounds like they were trying to isolate you, not the other way around.

Re:warning! (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734095)

Lord Ender: For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority...

Hmmn, reinforcing the existing class structure. Haven't we been here before?

Those who do not have the good sense to be born into advantage deserve what they get.

(NOTE: sarcasm)

Re:warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734273)

whoosh

Cognitive dissnonance, probably (2, Interesting)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733337)

Most people don't think they're doing something wrong. They just were hanging out with their friends, or having fun, and don't deserve getting dragged through the courts for it. The ones who prosecuted them are just a bunch of jerks, and if they don't respect me why should I respect them?

Another possible factor is that when this happens once, the people involved probably start getting watched more and treated with more suspicion. If people are watching you more, you're more likely to get caught. And if everybody assumes you're going to steal, some people come to the conclusion they might as well go and do that, since they're being assumed to anyway.

Re:Cognitive dissnonance, probably (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733759)

"Most people don't think they're doing something wrong. "
no, most of the time they know they are doing something wrong.

Re:Cognitive dissnonance, probably (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734267)

They know but they rationalize it.

"I know beating up people is wrong, but he was a huge jerk and deserved it"
"I know stealing is wrong, but Walmart has a huge amount of money and can afford the loss"
"People of $nationality/$ethnicity are really intrinsically inferior, so it's ok to treat them like crap"
"I know I committed a crime, but the harm done wasn't that great, so I shouldn't have been punished so harshly"

People rarely admit outright that they did something wrong, with no ifs or buts. There's nearly always some reason they feel that justifies it, or at least makes it not so bad.

"No boys at all" (5, Insightful)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733339)

My grandfather used to say that "One boy is a boy, two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all." Meaning that when boys get together they have less good sense than one boy by himself does.

Re:"No boys at all" (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733473)

I like the demotivational slogan: "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

I know, the boy is zero! (1)

hkz (1266066) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733723)

So basically, boys(n) = 1 - (n - 1) / 2 for all natural numbers? So 100 boys are actually -48.5 boys?

No, wait... if one boy is a boy, and two boys are half a boy, and three boys are zero, then the value of a boy must be zero! Reminds me about that nursery rhyme about sticks and snails and puppy dog tails...

Re:I know, the boy is zero! (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734059)

One boy is a boy, two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all.

So basically, boys(n) = 1 - (n - 1) / 2 for all natural numbers?

That would be (3 - n) / 2. I have four sons, so I've got -.5 boys, which would probably surprise my wife.

Re:"No boys at all" (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733855)

And obviously it's true. Me and my friends were all "good kids", but we did some seriously dumb and screwed up stuff. Why? Because boys talk big, even if they don't mean it, and even if they don't know what they're talking about. And once one of your friends starts talking big, you don't want to be the one who says "no".

I'm not sure how it works among little girls, but as a boy, you can never be the one who says, "no". You can't be the boy who's too worried about consequences to do something stupid. You'll be an outcast, because you'll be considered weak. A group of boys are typically only as good as the worst impulse that any one of them is willing to voice.

Re:"No boys at all" (1)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733861)

That's a great way of looking at it.

My formula was to take the average age of a group and then divide it by the number of people in the group. When three of us got together to write one story, it ended up a long string of toilet humor. At least there was much laughter, as we were essentially 11-year-olds by that point.

peerpressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733341)

How is this anything new? When I was growing up the teachers always told us about peer pressure, and that is all this article is really about.

Slashdot! (0, Troll)

AgentPhunk (571249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733369)

Contributing to the delinquency of deliquents since 1997.

Take a sociology class? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733373)

Seriously, any first year sociology student in community college could tell you this. Also, there IS a causation in this relationship.

Such a good boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733405)

And always the same expression of disbelief from the parent/grandparent/guardian:

"But hes such a good boy!"

Didn't need to be said.. (1)

NotOverHere (1526201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733423)

*Cough* *Cough*

"C'here PIGGY!!!"

Not as obvious as you might think. (2, Interesting)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733429)

There's an old saying which says "birds of a feather fly together." (Or, "You can tell a man by the company he keeps.") This study implies that the behavior is being shaped by peers, instead of people associating with others who have similar behavior. This is somewhat obvious, but it doesn't seem as dumb as some people are making it out to be.

Re:Not as obvious as you might think. (1)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733743)

While what you say is interesting, and may very well have some merit, I still think this whole thing is as obvious as we all notice it to be. I didn't need juvenile hall, however, I always managed to find others like myself anywhere I went. Juvenile hall merely gave me access to those who knew more and had done worse.

But in the end, what is being pointed out rings true, and it is rather scary how obvious it should have been.

Study Finds Government Behavior Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733433)

controlled by oligarchs [theatlantic.com] .

Yours In Psychology,
K. Trout

The group IQ of boys (4, Insightful)

Tangential (266113) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733437)

I've always maintained that the IQ of a group of boys is calculated by taking the lowest IQ in the group and dividing it by the number of boys in the group. When my son was growing up, he and his friends demonstrated this over and over. My parents maintain that when I was growing up that my friends and I did too. (They are still a little pissed about me and my friends building and testing a very, very small thermite bomb in the basement.)

Re:The group IQ of boys (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733791)

I think the IQ of the group is the IQ of the dominant peer.

and by peer, I mean penis.

So nothing causes anything else? (5, Insightful)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733463)

I love the correlationisnotcausation tag every single time an article on any study is posted. Correlation means nothing! Nothing causes anything! There is no order in the universe! It's all chaos! :)

Re:So nothing causes anything else? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733613)

correlationisanecessarybutinsufficientrequirementforcausation

Re:So nothing causes anything else? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733801)

correlationdoesnnotnecessarilymeancausation

Re:So nothing causes anything else? (4, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734109)

correlationdoesnnotnecessarilymeancausation

Indeed, which is why the vast majority of studies that get tagged by the moronic "correlationisnotcausation" involve some application of Mill's Methods and/or statistical and theoretical inference to demonstrate causation based on the observed correlations.

What gets reported is the correlation, because reporters are even dumber than /. taggers, but the researchers generally have thought a little bit about elementary logical errors somewhere along the path of their experiment design.

The tag is particularly idiotic when you consider that every correlation is caused by something, so the OP here is absolutely correct: if you really believe that there is no relationship whatsoever between correlation and causation, such that you can reflexively dismiss every reported correlation with this little snippet of nonsense, then you're pretty much committed to nothing being caused by anything.

Tagging stories this way is completely vacuous. All it tells us is that you haven't read the study or considered whether the usual methods have been employed to properly infer causation from correlation. It would be as useful and relevant to tag all stories with "theskyisblue", which is true in one sense (although the sky happens to be overcast where I am right now) but is only true in a way that is a) known by everyone and b) adds nothing of value to the discussion.

Re:So nothing causes anything else? (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734183)

I love the correlationisnotcausation tag every single time an article on any study is posted.

I thought that applied largely to this sentence from the summary:

What was more surprising is that exposure to the juvenile justice system seemed to increase the chance that the boy would engage in criminal activity as a young adult.

Okay, so people who committed crimes as children are more likely to commit crimes as adults. It seems like this is a correlation vs. causation problem, but it really isn't. The only problem here is that the researchers are more surprised by that finding than by the finding that poor people are more likely to commit crimes than non-poor people.

something else to consider (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733469)

Something else to consider from just reading the summery is that it may not be that these boys are coping the 'bad' boys but just realize the justice system doesn't do squat. For the sake of argument, image that by selling weed you can make a couple grand a month but the only thing that is stopping you is fear of getting punished. Once it is realized that if the punishment and risk of getting caught is less then that of selling the weed, why stop? Hell since there are essentially breakpoints, why not expand to maximize the profit with the same risks? Not saying this is the only reason, but I'm sure lack of sufficient deterrent and lack of fear of getting caught probably plays a role.
Or put as a car analogy: Once you realize your car will run off the cheep gasoline without harm, why pay for the more expensive stuff?

You gotta be kidding me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733477)

It's a surprise to researchers that if you put a group of adolescent criminals together that they will reinforce their own sense of community among themselves, and share their accumlated knowledge of criminal actions among themselves as well as brainstorm for new ideas? It also shouldn't be any surprise that you can't teach morality and ethics to people who have no desire to learn or live their lives in accordance to those concepts.

Sometimes it just amazes me how little people in what are supposed to be rehabilitation programs understand basic human nature.

House Arrest (2, Insightful)

Sp1n3rGy (69101) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733599)

So does this mean we should be putting more juveniles on house arrest? It seems like the juvenile detention centers breed more crime than they prevent.

matta

No, it means kill them (0)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733897)

No person send to the chair ever re-offended. 0% recidivism compared to 70% and higher for all other forms of punishment.

Big surprise? (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733601)

Is this surprising? Boys, especially, fall victim to any peer pressure they feel makes them seem "cool." Troublemaking and breaking the law, especially in young adolescents, is seen as cool. Also, if others are breaking the law and getting away with it, a normally good boy might think he can become more cool without risk of being caught - economically, a great decision.

Followup Study Suggestion (2, Insightful)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733611)

Find young criminals who *have not* been caught and find out over twenty years how many crimes they committed well enough not to be caught at. Perhaps, the data might suggest, the groups studied were taught by incompetent leaders. We might be better served by studying successful criminals, who might behave differently. Or who might have been taught better work habits and techniques.

Or mebbe the youths in the study got caught "in a game" at first, but found dealing with the police, courts, other inmates, and the jail system itself emotionally satisfying in some way. This is called "institutionalisation."

Every year we pay for more and more police, and we get more and more crime.

Let's try something else. But, please, not another study like this one.

More restsraint and brains (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733663)

So you are telling me that boys from a bad background that manage to stay out of juvie are also more likely to stay out of jail? Amazing!

Re:More restsraint and brains (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733835)

No, they are telling you the ones that weren't sent to juvie are over 7 times more likely to go to jail as opposed to kids that were CAUGHT, but didn't go to juvie.

As an adult, if you get caught you aren't going to be sent home for parental punishment.

This is a new idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733667)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_association

Oh really? (0, Troll)

hnangelo (1098127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733687)

Come on! That is really money well spend in a study. 20 years to tell the obvious, and they even limited to only boys! I can complete their study in 5 seconds: "and girls too". Every behaviour is "contagious", people do it to fit in. That's no news.

Re:Oh really? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733845)

Are you really that myopic?

Obvious doesn't count, studies do.

Hell, it's obvious that heavier objects will fall faster! oh wait....

The Power of Religion (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733699)

Say what you will, when it comes to instilling righteous behaviour in boys the power of the 11 Commandments pays off. 11? Ya, it's the 11th Commandment that's crucial, 11th Commandment: Don't get Caught. Current theories on development have taken on as commonplace the idea that we abstract morals, or, social conventions from our environment much as we abstract a subset of language universals and we do so more or less concurrently during the window we have for developing language skills. Studies have shown increases in learning ability can be garnered from placing slower students in with quicker students and that social status plays a significant part in learning. Poorer, lower status students will perform better if placed with more socially advantaged students, but, if initially disadvantaged students are returned to their milieu, their performance gains disappear. mit open course ware has a recent set of lectures on introductory psychology by Professor Wolfe that addresses some of these issues.

This just in... (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733727)

Most people are idiots who act like Chimpanzees.

Label this "utterly unsurprising"

Doesn't matter if the kids mimic each other or not (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733753)

If you mix kids with too much variety in intelligence then you either teach at a level for the smart kids and leave the stupid kids behind because they can't possibly keep up or you teach at a level for the stupid kids and the smart kids get bored and quit learning.

It's much better to split kids up into classes that are suited to their strengths and weaknesses rather than be PC and stick 'em all together.

Applicable ideas for cross-reference. (3, Interesting)

synth7 (311220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733793)

This reminds me of the "Broken Windows" theory. (Please, don't make the OS joke that is begging to be said.) A good explanation is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows [wikipedia.org] Whatever the original root cause, of course, the effect is the same once it takes hold: The lowest common denominator often is the expression of the group as a whole. (Barring a really great leader of some sort.) This is expressed most succinctly in the following: http://despair.com/teamwork.html [despair.com] So bad behavior (or making poor decisions) is virus-like. The question to be answered is: can good behavior (making good decisions) also be formed to be virus-like?

How lessons learned can be applied (2, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733809)

Most important is the comment that the kids exposed to the legal system, were more likely to come back to it.

Exposing children to the ugliness, simplicity, and experience of a system engenders them to it by removing the mystery, stigma, and fear associated with it. These feelings are replaced by familiarity. This is particularly true of technology as well.

Confusing cause and effect? (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733851)

They go into the juvie system, and wind up criminals? The article did not say that, but it was implied.

Well, let's see: you are enough of a thug to get sent to juvie, and dumb enough that you got caught and sent to juvie. In juvie, your hand was lightly slapped, and you were turned loose. Get caught again, get lightly slapped again. While there, hang out with more thugs.

Later, you turn 18, and SURPRISE, you get sent to REAL JAIL. Where you become "bubba's bitch".

Point is, if you weren't a dumbass thug to begin with, you would not be sent to juvie.

Classic sampling error. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733901)

The summary would seem to indicate a classic methodology error: A selected sample.

Were kids who were in the juvenile justice system more likely to be young-adult crooks because of peer pressure in the system? Or were they in the system because they were young crooks on their way to becoming old crooks.

Of course to do a controlled experiment you'd have to randomly select some kids and put them into juvenile detention whether they committed any crime or not. Not particularly practical (and definitely not legal OR fair).

And doing so would (rightly) give the condemned innocent a belief that the justice system was a joke. Expect him to believe that, if he's going to be treated as a criminal anyway, he might as well enjoy some swag. (Which brings up the issue of how many innocent people condemned by criminal justice system error go on to become actual criminals.)

Try ANY behavior... (1)

polyomninym (648843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733909)

Here's a better headline: Study Finds Behavior Among Boys Is "Contagious". Note the missing descriptor. I've seen any behavior, from good to bad, be contagious among groups of boys, and hey guess what, girls too. Whatever seems "Alpha" "must" be the thing to do. I certainly don't want to be the last kid on the block to do (fill in the blank.)

Correlation != Causation (0, Troll)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733995)

Correlation != Causation

Re:Correlation != Causation (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734129)

Hey Slashdot, can we have a "Science Firmly Established in Every Last Detail" section for the correlation is not causation people?

By the way, it's correation =/> causation. There's a difference. A big one.

ob. "fixed that" joke (0)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734001)

According to a new study, if everyone else was committing a crime you would too, at least if you are a Democrat.

There, fixed that for you.

Everything In Moderation... (1)

Xin Jing (1587107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734233)

What's that line from GATTICA, "there's no gene for the human spirit". Or the old saying, "experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other". Human nature rewards the majority that follows the pack. Childhood is a wonderful time to test social boundaries and explore behavioral limits. You've seen the classroom success formula: if 90% of the kids get the material, the program is generally regarded as a success. Those that don't have to make it up by repetition or worse case, expulsion. Even in social settings where problem kids tend to accumulate (youth authority, detention, alternative schools) there are measured degrees of success where the kids tend to get the message. In situations where a choice is presented, people tend to migrate by and large to the reward versus the pushishment. There are those kids that will fight tooth and nail to the bitter end, spending years learning the same mistakes and lessons again and again which is unfortunate. Kids with potential for good and bad behavior eventually reach a point - they can change their ways and correct the course. Barring some chemical defenciency or dependancy, most kids choose thankfully make the right choice. Bad kids do not necessarily beget bad kids. At some point, the child makes a choice to continue being a bad kid.

Create a Positive Peer Culture (5, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734277)

I put myself through college working as a night counselor at a school for boys --- one needs to remove the perceived glamour of the ``gangsta'' lifestyle, demonstrate the consequences of poor decisions and provide the rewards of mature and responsible behaviour.

Most importantly this needs to be done regardless of the child's intellectual level --- at one meeting a fellow counselor argued that one of the students should be released because he wasn't particularly bright and was ``simply going to be a janitor when he grows up anyway'' to which another added, ``one who swipes small pilferables which won't be missed.'' --- my rejoinder was that if we kept him in the program and continued working w/ him until he successfully graduated that while he might be a janitor when he grew up, he'd be an honest one who wouldn't steal and that that was a worthwhile goal, and maybe he could be something else, but that he would never get that chance if he didn't graduate.

He stayed in the program and I actually ran into him a couple of years later --- he was just completing an apprenticeship in the building trades and had been out of trouble since graduation.

William

Everything you need to know about young boys (4, Insightful)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734337)

Everything you need to know about young boys, you can learn by reading Lord of the Flies. [wikipedia.org]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?