Monday, August 8, 2016

What age should psychology/social sciences be studied

A cousin's son studying in an elite school in a far eastern country asked my help to write about rioting and how to avoid riots in his country for an assignment. He asked my help as I have studied psychology and he wanted a psychologist's input for his article. He is just 12!

Reading the matter he was referring too I realized the huge amount of psychology's input needed. I was both disturbed and fascinated by this for reasons. On the one hand I am amazed and excited that he is striving for a project with such a high level of complexity and nuances. On the other hand, I also feel that he is too young to know such things. Also I wonder if he really understands i.e. in all it's depth. If he understands, then would he lose the innocence of childhood?

I explained to him that economic inequality, anger of the poor, sense of being exploited and discriminated would lead to rioting. Then I thought a 12 year old should not know such things. I don't know how he is going to take it. Does he really get it? Does this premature exposure to such subjects have no real effect on him and then, he grows up to be indifferent and untouched? Would he be a better, more sensitive and ethical person just because he knows of such things when he's just 12? It's difficult to say, what trajectory his mind will take with this exposure at age 12.
Also he is a child with certain background...upper-middle class, only son, educated parents who care a lot. Now this project is done by his class and each child would have slightly different backgrounds, different temperaments and so on. So the effect of this project on their mind would be different. We don't know how ALL of these kids will be when they grow up after the impact of this project and maybe many more such projects?

I don't mind if the schools push the envelope for maths and science. If the child is intelligent enough, they can push the envelope as far as they can. But, social sciences need to be exposed to children only after they have reached a certain chronological age, assuming that they have the psychological maturity to handle at the riper chronological age.

People in the east have this attitude that social science is 'easy' and 'sciences' are difficult; that any highschooler can read and understand 'college' books of social sciences. I agree and disagree too with this statement. They may understand the content at a cognitive level. But at the emotional level, are they 'getting it' at high-school age? Do they have the  imagination to imagine certain things for example abject poverty and hunger and it's effects on people? Do they have the ability to put themselves in shoes of people of completely different cultures? I dont think so.

I believe, these days, these elite schools are giving projects which make the children mature prematurely if you know what I mean. Also these kids end up possessing 'knowledge and facts' without developing wisdom & empathy which  'would' have got if they had got the knowledge and facts at the right age.
What do you think?

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