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How should I go about writing a research paper?

Here are some suggestions on how to write a research paper in 10 steps:1. Choose a topic2. Choose a research question3. Create a thesis statement4. Research your topic5. Evaluate your sources6. Take notes on sources7. Create an outline8. Write a draft9. Edit the draft10. Finalize your paper1. CHOOSE A TOPICThe first thing you need to do is to choose a paper topic. Maybe you have been assigned a certain topic already--then you can skip this section. But if you need to come up with your own topic, then choose something that interests you. It’s a lot easier to write a research paper on something that is interesting--otherwise it will be boring and you won’t have a lot of motivation to write a good paper.If you need help choosing a topic, then try these ideas:Go to a university library and visit the section where the books in your subject are located. For example, if you are in an Anthropology class, go to the section of the library where the Anthropology-related books are. (If you need help finding the right section, just ask the librarian.) Browse the books for a couple of hours, and see if you find anything interesting.Browse through an introductory textbook on your subject. Typically, each chapter in an introductory textbook is about a different topic—for example, in an Anthropology textbook, there’ll probably be a chapter on economics, a chapter on gender, a chapter on families and kinship, and so on. See if a certain topic interests you.At your university library, browse through a specialized encyclopedia about your subject. For example, if you are in an Anthropology class, then browse through an Anthropology-related encyclopedia. (Ask your librarian where to find a specialized encyclopedia on your subject.) See if any of the topics in the encyclopedia are interesting.Browse the Oxford Bibliographies website for ideas (you can browse by subject). Go to this website: Oxford Bibliographies - Your Best Research Starts Here - obo2. CHOOSE A RESEARCH QUESTIONNow that you have determined a topic to write about, you need to figure out what aspect of the topic you want to focus on. For example, say you want to research influenza. Are you interested in influenza in a certain country? A certain city? Are you considering all ages or just children? Or maybe the elderly? And what specifically about influenza are you interested in— how people decide to go to the doctor for treatment, or how people avoid the flu, if people get their flu shot, or what? There are so many things that fall under the topic of influenza. You need to narrow the topic down even further.One way to narrow down a topic is to consider it from different angles. For example, you can narrow a topic chronologically (by time) or geographically (by place). Using our influenza example, you could narrow it to a certain time frame, like the last flu season. Or you could narrow the topic by place, and only look at influenza in a certain city or country. Try to narrow down your topic into a more specific one.Once you have narrowed your topic down, write what you want to find out about your topic in the form of a question. This is your research question.You need to make sure that your research question is not too big or too narrow. An example of a research question that is too big is: "What can we do to decrease the number of influenza infections around the world?" There is way too much involved in this question for a small research paper.An example of a research question that is too small is: "How many people were infected with influenza in Seattle, Washington (USA) during the last flu season?" This question is easily answered by a simple number, so you can’t write a whole paper about it.Here are some examples of common types of research questions (taken directly from Developing Strong Research Questions | Criteria and Examples):What are the characteristics of X?What are the similarities between X and Y?What is the relationship between X and Y?What are the main factors in X?What is the role of Y in Z?Does X have an effect on Y?What is the impact of Y on Z?What are the causes of X?What are the advantages and disadvantages of X?How well does Y work?How effective is Z?How can X be achieved?What are the most effective strategies to improve Y?3. CREATE A THESIS STATEMENTIn college, you shouldn’t just be summarizing what you read for a research paper (unless that’s the instructions that your professor gave you). You need to make some kind of point, backed up by your research. The main point of your research paper is called the thesis statement. It is the answer to your research question. A thesis statement should be one or two sentences long.For more information on writing thesis statements, check out the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s website: Writers Workshop: Writer Resources and Indiana University at Bloomington’s website: How to Write a Thesis Statement.Also, try Ashford University’s Thesis Generator at this website: Thesis Generator4. RESEARCH YOUR TOPICNow that you know what your paper is going to be about, you can start researching your topic.The first thing to do is to make a list of keywords relating to your research topic. Think about everything that you know about your topic and come up with a list of keywords to use in researching. For example, say you are doing a project on influenza. You may want to search for the term “flu” along with the medical term “influenza.” For each word on your list of keywords, try to come up with another word that means the same thing (a synonym) and add that to your list of keywords. For example, if one of your keywords is "flu shot,” make sure you also add “influenza vaccine,” because these are different words that mean the same thing.The next thing to do is take your list of keywords and start doing some library research. You need to be looking for journal articles that match your research topic. You’ll need access to a database of journal articles—ask your librarian if you don’t know how to find these kinds of databases in your library. Some examples of article databases are JSTOR and ProQuest, but there are many, many more! Then, start putting your keywords into the database’s search engine and see what you find.But don’t stop there—for each journal article that you find, also check the list of references at the end. The reference list contains the titles of sources that the article’s author used in doing their own background research.So, browse through the list and look for anything that might be related to your own research, and then look up those articles, too. And then check the list of references in THOSE articles for anything that is related to your own research as well. And look up those articles, and so on and so on.Besides searching academic databases, you can also search the internet for information. For example, you can use your keywords to search in Google Scholar, which will bring up reputable sources of information. Just go to Another great place to find research articles is ERIC, which stands for Education Resources Information Center. Here is their website: Education Resources Information Center.In addition, you will want to look for books about your topic. Books may be listed in the reference section of your journal articles. You can also find some by searching your university library’s catalog. You can search the internet, too. A great website to search for books is WorldCat: The World's Largest Library CatalogAlso, check specialized encyclopedias for information. Many times, there is a list of references after each entry in the encyclopedia. These sources may be helpful for your paper. For example, you can visit the Oxford Bibliographies website I mentioned earlier, at this website: Oxford Bibliographies - Your Best Research Starts Here - oboAs you look at the articles and books you find, you will probably come up with more keywords to search for. Just add them to your list and keep researching!You’re going to want to have a good system for keeping track of which keywords you have already searched for, and which databases you have already used, which articles and books you have already read, and which articles you have already checked the list of references.It's easy to start losing track of things, so I suggest using a notebook or Word document and making a sort of diary, just briefly listing things you did such as “I searched the ABC database using keyword #1,” “I searched the XYZ database for keyword #3,” etc. And make some sort of list of which articles and books are read, and which still need to be read, and a list of things to do, and so forth to stay organized.5. EVALUATE YOUR SOURCESJust because you found a source of information doesn’t mean that you should automatically include it in your paper. You need to evaluate each source. Here are a few things to look for:First, check to see if the source is actually relevant for your research paper. You might have found a great source, but it may not really provide much information on your specific research topic.If it is relevant, then check the author of the source to see if they are credible. For example, if the source is a peer-reviewed journal article written by someone with a Ph.D. in their field, then that is most likely a trustworthy source. A blog post written by a non-expert might not be a trustworthy source.Check the publication date to make sure that it’s fairly recent. If you are not sure if a source is too old to use, just ask your professor for guidance.Skim the article and determine if the information is fact or opinion. Consider if the information seems well-researched, or if there is simply information without evidence to support it.For more things to look for, check out the University of Southern California’s website: Research Guides: Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Evaluating SourcesFor some great checklists for evaluating sources, check out these websites:Benedictine University: Research Guides: Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP TestMLA Style Center: Online Writing Lab: Evaluation Checklist - Excelsior College OWL6. TAKE NOTES ON SOURCESNow that you have found a bunch of sources, you need to read each one and take notes. You’ll want to have a system of recording notes from each source of information. Sometimes these notes are called "source cards" because they used to be written on 3 by 5 index cards. You can use index cards, or a notebook, or a Word document, or a spreadsheet, or a database document—whatever works for you. If you want to use a database, check out Airtable, which is a free database that you can download onto your computer. (see Airtable’s website at: Airtable: Organize anything you can imagine)Use one index card or one Word page or one database file for each source. List all the bibliographic information for each source on the card or file. For example, if it is a journal article, list the author, article title, journal name, journal issue & page numbers, publication date, URL (if it has one), the date you accessed the URL, and where you found the article (which library, database, etc.)Here’s an example of what it would look like if you used an index card. You can see how all the bibliographic information is noted on the card.Here’s an example of what the database could look like using Airtable.It's a good idea to put a unique code number on each card or file, so you can refer to the article quickly and easily. I like to use a code number made out of the author’s last name, the date of the article, and the title. I use the first 3 letters of the last name, then the 4 digit date, and then the first 3 letters of the article title. So, in this example article below, the code is KOE2014INF. That way, I can group all the papers under the same author together if I need to. Some people like to just number the cards or files consecutively, and that’s fine, just find a system that works for you.Then, it’s time to start taking notes on each source. Use either a new index card or a new page of your notebook or new Word document and assign that card or file a topic. Then, take notes on your first source, using a new card or file for each different topic, and adding the code on the card or file so that you know which source the info came from. Here’s an example using our made-up influenza research project. You could have a notecard with the topic "history of influenza” on the top of it, and all the notes about the history of influenza on it from source #1: (Please note that this card contains made-up information as an example.)And then you could have a notecard with the topic “transmission of influenza” on it, and then all the notes about the transmission of influenza from source #1 on it. (Please note that this card contains made-up information as an example.)After you are finished taking notes on source #1, repeat the process with source #2. Make a series of notecards or files with different topics, each with notes from source #2. Then continue repeating the process for the rest of your sources.Another way to take notes on each article is to summarize the article in your own words in a one-page grid. That way you have all the information about an article on just one page. I created a template that you can use for this purpose--an image is below, and you can download it for free from my website: Anthropology Digital Products ~ FREE Downloadables7. CREATE AN OUTLINENow that you have read and taken notes on all of your sources of information, it is time to create an outline.First, read through all of your notes, and create a list of all the ideas that you want to put in your paper. Then, put the ideas into categories. You can write the ideas down on notecards and physically group them in different categories. Or, you can open a new Word document file, create category headings, and cut and paste items from your list into the file. So, now you should have a bunch of categories with details (items from the list of ideas) under each.You can also try organizing all your information into a concept map (also known as a mind map). Just google “free mind mapping software” if you don’t already have an app for that. Put main ideas in separate “bubbles" and connect them to “bubbles” containing each supporting point. Below is an example of a mind map, showing the 4 fields of Anthropology, and some of the subfields within each field.Using the groups of notecards, Word file with categories and details, and/or the mind map, create an outline. Your first section of the outline should be the introduction, and the last section should be the conclusion. In the middle is the body of the paper. This is where you will list your main points (the categories). Then, under each main point, list your supporting points (the ideas in each category).Here’s an example of an outline based on the mind map above:1. Introduction1. Interesting opening2. Thesis statement2. Cultural Anthropology1. Legal Anthropology2. Business Anthropology3. Environmental Anthropology4. etc.3. Physical Anthropology1. Osteology2. Paleopathology3. Forensic Anthropology4. etc.4. Archaeology1. Geoarchaeology2. Underwater Archaeology3. Experimental Archaeology4. etc.5. Linguistic Anthropology1. Descriptive Linguistics2. Ethnolinguistics3. Sociolinguistics4. etc.6. Conclusion1. Summary2. Thesis StatementFor more information on creating an outline, check out this website: How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline (with example)8. WRITE A DRAFTWrite a first draft, based on your outline. Don’t worry too much about making everything perfect--it's just a rough draft.As I mentioned previously, your paper should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.In the introduction, you introduce the topic you are researching, in a paragraph or two. Try to get your reader’s attention in the introduction. Some ways to do this are by providing a quotation, anecdote, interesting fact, or surprising statistic. Also, explain any background information the reader needs to know. Then, introduce your main point--your thesis statement-- which is usually placed at the end of the introductory paragraph.In the body, you explain or prove your thesis statement. This part will be several paragraphs long. Each supporting point you make should have its own paragraph, where you expand on the point and give evidence or examples.For each supporting point you make, you should have a few sources to back up what you are saying. Make sure that you are giving your sources credit for their ideas. You need to cite your sources in the text of the paper, not just in a bibliography page at the end. Use whatever citation style your professor or discipline requires. Check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab for information on different styles: Research and Citation Resources // Purdue Writing LabIt’s also a good idea to put in a few direct quotes to help illustrate your points as well--just be sure to cite the sources correctly. Check out this website for more information on using quotes: Working with QuotationsAlso, make sure to link one paragraph to the next with transition words, such as “also," "in addition," “however," "as a result,” “finally," etc.In the conclusion, you summarize everything and restate your thesis statement, all in about one paragraph. You can also explain why your thesis statement matters, and/or what the bigger implications are.On the final page(s) is the references (or bibliography). This is where you list all the sources that you used in the paper. Follow your instructor’s requirements for this section of the paper--they may want the references in APA style, MLA style, Chicago style, or something else.When the first draft is finished, take a break and do something else for a while. This break can be a few hours or a day or two or longer--everyone does something different. Then, you can go back to your draft and look at it again through fresh eyes, and revise it.9. EDIT THE DRAFTRead through your paper and ask yourself if everything makes sense. Check to see if the flow of one paragraph to the next is logical. Consider if your main point is well supported by your supporting points. Try reading your paper out loud to see how it sounds.Look carefully for errors in spelling or punctuation. It’s also a good idea to run your draft through a grammar check, too--try Grammarly’s free version: Write your best with Grammarly.Double-check that all sources have been cited appropriately in the text (otherwise, you may be accused of plagiarism!). Also, double-check your list of references for errors as well.10. FINALIZE YOUR PAPERAfter you have made all the edits to your paper, once again take a break. After your break, take yet another look at your paper. Read it over again, looking for any last-minute errors, writing that doesn’t make sense, etc. Read it out loud again as well, to make sure everything flows as you want it to. Make any last-minute edits. Then, your paper is finished!Make sure to create a backup copy of your paper, and email a copy to yourself as well. That way, if anything happens to your original copy, you have a backup. Or, if you forget to take your printed-out paper to class, you can print another copy at the last minute on campus with the copy in your email. Turn in your assignment and congratulate yourself on completing the research paper!

Do right wingers get indoctrinated in childhood similarly to religious extremists? If not, how are they radicalized?

This answer may contain sensitive images. Click on an image to unblur it.Becoming a right winger is likely a mix of genetics and upbringing. Conservative vs liberal orientations have a genetic component. People are are low on the openness scale are more likely to be conservative. But becoming a right winger many times is caused by being raised by authoritarian parenting styles. Genetics may make you a conservative. But upbringing and life experience will make you a hard core right winger.Genetics of Political OrientationScientists and laypeople alike have historically attributed political beliefs to upbringing and surroundings, yet recent research shows that our political inclinations have a large genetic component.The largest recent study of political beliefs, published in 2014 in Behavior Genetics, looked at a sample of more than 12,000 twin pairs from five countries, including the U.S. Some were identical and some fraternal; all were raised together. The study reveals that the development of political attitudes depends, on average, about 60 percent on the environment in which we grow up and live and 40 percent on our genes.“We inherit some part of how we process information, how we see the world and how we perceive threats—and these are expressed in a modern society as political attitudes,” explains Peter Hatemi, who is a genetic epidemiologist at the University of Sydney and lead author of the study.The genes involved in such complex traits are difficult to pinpoint because they tend to be involved in a huge number of bodily and cognitive processes that each play a minuscule role in shaping our political attitudes. Yet a study published in 2015 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B managed to do just that, showing that genes encoding certain receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine are associated with where we fall on the liberal-conservative axis. Among women who were highly liberal, 62 percent were carriers of certain receptor genotypes that have previously been associated with such traits as extroversion and novelty seeking. Meanwhile, among highly conservative women, the proportion was only 37.5 percent.“Perhaps high-novelty seekers are more willing to entertain the idea of change, including in the political sphere,” says the study's lead author, Richard Ebstein, a molecular geneticist at the National University of Singapore. He admits, however, that the dopamine genes are undoubtedly just a small part of the story of how we inherit political attitudes, with hundreds of other genes equally involved.These genetic findings are in line with the many psychological studies that have suggested that political attitudes are related to personality traits. Openness to experience, for example, predicts a liberal ideology; conscientiousness often goes with a conservative stance. Yet the evidence suggests that political attitudes are not entirely explained by personality; the two are more likely independently rooted in what Hatemi calls a “common psychological architecture.” Hatemi and his colleague Brad Verhulst, a political scientist at Pennsylvania State University, published a study in 2015 in PLOS ONE showing that changes in personality over a 10-year period do not predict changes in political attitudes.Ultimately these early genetic results lend weight to the hypothesis that political beliefs may depend heavily on very basic processes in the brain—our ancient instincts to avoid danger and filth, which we experience as fear and disgust. Psychologists at the University of Warwick in England recently proposed a theory along these lines in a January paper published in Topics in Cognitive Science.Using a computer simulation, they showed that when our ancestors met groups of strangers, they had to make choices among potential opportunities, such as new mates and trade, and risks, such as exposure to new pathogens. In areas with high levels of infections, their model showed that the driving force of evolution was fear of outsiders, conformity and ethnocentrism—things that in modern times we would call social conservatism. Style and Right Wing PoliticsPolitical mindsets are the product of an individual’s upbringing, life experiences, and environment. But are there specific experiences that lead a person to choose one political ideology over another?New research from psychological scientist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues suggest that parenting practices and childhood temperament may play an influential role. Their study is published online in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.Existing research suggests that individuals whose parents espoused authoritarian attitudes toward parenting (e.g., valuing obedience to authority) are more likely to endorse conservative values as adults. And theory from political psychology on motivated social cognition suggests that children who have fearful temperaments may be more likely to hold conservative ideologies as adults. Unfortunately, almost all of the existing research looking at these two factors suffers from significant methodological shortcomings. Specifically, the majority of this research has been retrospective—relying on adult’s recollections of their early temperaments and their early caregiving experiences.To better understand the developmental antecedents of political ideology, Fraley and his colleagues examined data from 708 children who originally participated in the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD).When the children in the study were one month old, their parents answered questions from the Parental Modernity Inventory. Fraley and colleagues used their responses to determine the degree to which the parents demonstrated authoritarian (e.g., “Children should always obey their parents”) and egalitarian parenting attitudes (e.g., “Children should be allowed to disagree with their parents”).The dataset also included mothers’ assessments of their children’s temperaments when they were 4.5 years old, using questions from the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire. From these assessments, the researchers identified five temperament factors: restlessness-activity, shyness, attentional focusing, passivity, and fear.Consistent with theory from political psychology, Fraley and colleagues found that children with authoritarian parents were more likely to have conservative attitudes at age 18, even after accounting for their gender, ethnic background, cognitive functioning, and socioeconomic status. Children who had parents with egalitarian parenting attitudes, on the other hand, were more likely to hold liberal attitudes as young adults.In terms of temperament, children with higher levels of fearfulness at 54 months were more likely to be conservative at age 18, while children with higher levels of activity or restlessness and higher levels of attentional focusing were more likely to espouse liberal values at that age.The researchers argue that their work has wide-ranging implications for understanding the variation in political orientation. According to Fraley, “One of the significant challenges in psychological science is understanding the multiple pathways underlying personality development. Our research suggests that variation in how people feel about diverse topics, ranging from abortion, military spending, and the death penalty, can be traced to both temperamental differences that are observable as early as 54 months of age, as well as variation in the attitudes people’s parents have about child rearing and discipline.” They believe that an important direction for future research will be to delve deeper into exploring the underlying mechanisms – including shared genetic variation and parent-child conflict – that might link parenting attitudes and temperament to later political ideology.Parenting and Temperament in Childhood Predict Later Political IdeologyDevelopmental Antecedents of Political IdeologyHow to Raise a Little Liberal (or Conservative)To determine your own ideological orientation you can take a test:The Political CompassIn 1966, Diana Baumrind penned the original paper on parenting styles. In her research, she discovered three distinct styles she called Permissive, Authoritarian, and Authoritative based on a matrix of control and warmth. Since then, others have contributed to the topic, but her research remains the cornerstone work on parenting styles.Three Parenting StylesThe following descriptions come from Baumrind’s papers (1966, Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, Child Development, 37(4), 887-907, and in 1967, Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior, Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88). After each category are my thoughts and experiences with each.Permissiveattempts to behave in a non-punitive, acceptant and affirmative manner towards the child’s impulses, desires and actions. She (the parent) consults with him (the child) about policy decisions and gives explanations for family rules. She makes few demands for household responsibility and orderly behavior. She presents herself to the child as a resource for him to use as he wishes, not as an ideal for him to emulate, nor as an active agent responsible for shaping or altering his ongoing or future behavior. She allows the child to regulate his own activities as much as possible, avoids the exercise of control, and does not encourage him to obey externally defined standards. She attempts to use reason and manipulation, but not overt power to accomplish her ends (p. 889).In my experience, permissives seem more interested in being their child’s friend than their parent, or wanting the approval of their child (to be liked) as a priority.Authoritarianattempts to shape, control and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of the child in accordance with a set standard of conduct, usually an absolute standard, theologically motivated and formulated by a higher authority. She values obedience as a virtue and favors punitive, forceful measures to curb self-will at points where the child’s actions or beliefs conflict with what she thinks is right conduct. She believes in keeping the child in his place, in restricting his autonomy, and in assigning household responsibilities in order to inculcate respect for work. She regards the preservation of order and traditional structure as a highly valued end in itself. She does not encourage verbal give and take, believing that the child should accept her word for what is right (p. 890).My experience of authoritarians is that they seem more interested in being “right” than effective, and that their opinion on everything leaves no room for others.Authoritativeattempts to direct the activities of the child but in a rational issue oriented manner. She [the parent] encourages a verbal give and take, shares with the child the reasoning behind her policy, and solicits his objections when he refuses to conform. Both autonomous self-will and disciplined conformity are valued. Therefore she exerts firm control at points of parent-child divergence, but does not hem the child in with restrictions. She enforces her own perspective as an adult, but recognizes the child’s individual interests and special ways. The authoritative parent affirms the child’s present qualities, but also sets standards for future conduct. She uses reason, power, and shaping by regime and reinforcement to achieve her objectives, and does not base her decisions on group consensus or the individual child’s desires (p. 891).In my experience, authoritatives seem more interested in what the child thinks and feels, and then needs to learn through teaching new skills, providing new information, or adapting what is already present. In her 1967 paper, Baumrind adds to the above description that parents “do not see themselves as infallible or as divinely inspired.” I contend that this must be taken in context. As a Christian (and assuming that Baumrind was not), I do take instruction in parenting from my beliefs. However, it is not done in the manner that Baumrind suggests as authoritarian, but as authoritative. Keep in mind that parenting in general was more strict at the time this research was being conducted, and that cultural changes have reshaped the current implementation of these prototypes to a large degree.A Fourth Parenting StyleUnknown to myself at the time I was utilizing this the most, Baumrind had added a fourth parenting style. In 1971, Baumrind published a paper adding a fourth parenting style she called Uninvolved/Neglectful.Neglectful parents are not warm and do not place any demands on their child. They minimize their interaction time, and, in some cases, are uninvolved to the point of being neglectful. Uninvolved parents are indifferent to their child’s needs, whereabouts, or experiences at school or with peers. Uninvolved parents invoke such phrases as, “I don’t care where you go,” or “why should I care what you do?” Uninvolved parents rarely consider their child’s input in decisions and they generally do not want to be bothered by their child. These parents may be overwhelmed by their circumstances or they may be self-centered. Parents might also engage in this style if they are tired, frustrated, or have simply “given up” in trying to maintain parental authority. (summarized by Kimberly Kopko)How teenagers described these parenting stylesWhile working in a residential facility, I taught on these parenting styles and asked the 50+ teenagers to give each style a nickname. The nicknames they came up with were door mat, Hitler, and coach respectively. As we talked, they were full of questions and comments, such as, “Is that why…” and “That so makes sense.” They recognized these parenting styles immediately and could also insightfully dig into the possible motivations behind them.How parents have reacted to these parenting stylesEducating parents about these parenting styles of the years has provided a mixed bag of responses. Sometimes they already knew they weren’t parenting effectively and were open and honest about how they had parented and why. Sometimes they were shocked to find out not only that there were categories that parents generally fall into, but also at what their child had to say about how they had parented. You see, I use this not only to teach both the parents and the child (usually a teenager), but as a feedback mechanism for the parents to hear the perspective of their child. Regardless of how they initially reacted, they always wanted more information… from their child.Parenting Styles: What do door mats, coaches and Hitler have to do with it? - Uncommon SenseThe Parenting Styles by Nazis Have Damaged GenerationsRenate Flens, a German woman in her 60s who suffers from depression, tells her psychotherapist that she wants to love her children but just can’t. She and the therapist soon realize that both Flens’s problems may be rooted in her frustration at being unable to allow others to get close to her. After lengthy conversations, they realize something else: a contributing factor may well be the child-rearing teachings of Johanna Haarer, a physician whose books were written during the Nazi era and aimed at raising children to serve the Führer. Flens (a pseudonym) was born after World War II, but Haarer’s books were still popular during her postwar childhood, where many households had a copy of The German Mother and Her First Child—a book that continued to be published for decades (ultimately cleansed of the most objectionable Nazi language). When asked, Flens recalled seeing one of Haarer’s books on her parents’ bookshelf.Flens’s story, told to me by her therapist, illustrates an issue troubling a number of mental health experts in Germany: Haarer’s ideas may still be harming the emotional health of its citizens. One aspect was particularly pernicious: she urged mothers to ignore their babies’ emotional needs. Infants are hardwired to build an attachment with a primary care giver. The Nazis wanted children who were tough, unemotional and unempathetic and who had weak attachments to others, and they understood that withholding affection would support that goal. If an entire generation is brought up to avoid creating bonds with others, the experts ask, how can members of that generation avoid replicating that tendency in their own children and grandchildren?“This has long been a question among analysts and attachment researchers but ignored by the general public,” says Klaus Grossmann, a leading researcher in mother-child attachment, now retired from the University of Regensburg. The evidence that Haarer’s teachings are still affecting people today is not definitive. Nevertheless, it is supported by studies of mother-child interactions in Germany, by other research into attachment and by therapists’ anecdotal reports.Haarer’s TeachingsHaarer was a pulmonologist, who, despite having no pediatric training, was touted as a child-rearing expert by the Nazis (the National Socialists). The recommendations from her book, originally published in 1934, were incorporated into a Reich mothers training program designed to inculcate in all German women the proper rules of infant care. As of April 1943, at least three million German women had gone through this program. In addition, the book was accorded nearly biblical status in nursery schools and child-care centers.Although children need sensitive physical and emotional contact to build attachments and thrive, Haarer recommended that such care be kept to a minimum, even when carrying a child. This stance is clearly illustrated in the pictures in her books: mothers hold their children so as to have as little contact as possible.Haarer viewed children, especially babies, as nuisances whose wills needed to be broken. “The child is to be fed, bathed, and dried off; apart from that left completely alone,” she counseled. She recommended that children be isolated for 24 hours after the birth; instead of using “insipid-distorted ‘children’s language,’” the mother should speak to her child only in “sensible German”; and if the child cries, let him cry.Sleep time was no exception. In The German Mother and Her First Child, Haarer wrote, “It is best if the child is in his own room, where he can be left alone.” If the child starts to cry, it is best to ignore him: “Whatever you do, do not pick the child up from his bed, carry him around, cradle him, stroke him, hold him on your lap, or even nurse him.” Otherwise, “the child will quickly understand that all he needs to do is cry in order to attract a sympathetic soul and become the object of caring. Within a short time, he will demand this service as a right, leave you no peace until he is carried again, cradled, or stroked—and with that a tiny but implacable house tyrant is formed!”Before publishing The German Mother and Her First Child, which ended up selling 1.2 million copies, Haarer had written articles about infant care. Later titles included Mother, Tell Me about Adolf Hitler!, a fairy-tale-style book that propagated anti-Semitism and anti-Communism in language a child could understand, and another child-rearing manual, Our Little Children. Haarer was imprisoned for a time after Germany’s defeat in 1945 and lost her license to practice medicine. According to two of her daughters, she nonetheless remained an enthusiastic Nazi. She died in 1988.Modern ConsequencesThere are many reasons to think that Haarer’s influence persisted long after the war and continues to affect the emotional health of Germans today even though parents no longer rely on her books. Researchers, physicians and psychologists speculate that attachment and emotional deficits may contribute to an array of phenomena of modern life, including the low birth rate, the many people who live alone or are separated, and the widespread phenomena of burnout, depression and emotional illnesses in general. Of course, the causes of these personal and societal issues are many and varied. But the stories of people such as Renate Flens lend credence to the idea that Haarer’s lessons could play a role.As Flens’s therapist notes, after a time patients may disclose their disgust at their own body and admit to following strict eating rules or to being unable to enter into close relationships—which are all consistent with the outcome of Haarer’s child-rearing regimen. Psychotherapist Hartmut Radebold, formerly of the University of Kassel, tells of a patient who came to him with serious relational and identity problems. One day this man found a thick book at home in which his mother had noted all kinds of information about his first year of life: weight, height, frequency of bowel movements—but not a single word about feelings.In the laboratory, Grossman, who retired in 2003, continually observed scenes such as this: A baby cries. The mother rushes over toward him but stops in her tracks before reaching him. Although she is only a few feet from her child, she makes no effort to pick him up or console him. “When we asked the mothers why they did this, they invariably stated that they didn’t want to spoil their babies.”That sentiment, along with sayings like “An Indian feels no pain”—an idiom essentially meaning “Be as stoic as a Native American”—continued to be widespread in postwar Germany and is still heard today.Research Reveals HarmHaarer’s recommendations were viewed as modern in the Nazi era and promulgated as if scientifically sound. Studies have since demonstrated that Haarer’s advice is indeed traumatizing.Ilka Quindeau of the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and her colleagues have studied the generation of children born during the war. They initially intended to examine the long-term effects of bombing raids and flight under perilous circumstances. But after the initial interviews, the researchers decided to adjust the study design: so many of their conversations revolved around experiences in the family that the team added a lengthy interview that focused exclusively on those interactions. Ultimately, the investigators concluded that many interviewees exhibited a pattern of unusually strong loyalty toward their parents and that their failure to include mention of conflicts in their descriptions was evidence of “a relational disorder.”Quindeau has pointed out that Germany is the only country in Europe where what happened to the children of war has been so broadly discussed, despite destruction and bombings having occurred in other countries as well. She has also noted that psychoanalyst Anna Freud found that children with a healthy attachment to their parents were less traumatized by the war than those with a less solid attachment. Putting everything together, Quindeau concludes that the interviews she conducted about bombings and exile had actually uncovered something more than the effects of war: they revealed deep grieving about experiences in the family that were so traumatic they could not be expressed directly.Direct evidence for Quindeau’s interpretation is hard to come by, however: randomized, controlled experimental studies that examine Haarer’s educational recommendations cannot be conducted for ethical reasons; the probability of doing harm is just too great. Nevertheless, even research that does not explicitly deal with child-rearing in the Third Reich can provide important information, Grossmann says. “All the data we have tell us that if we deny a child sensitive caring during the first one or two years of life, as Johanna Haarer suggests,” you end up with children who have limited emotional and reflective abilities.Some of the evidence, Grossmann says, comes from a longitudinal study in which 136 Romanian orphans between the ages of six and 31 months were divided into two groups: half remained in the orphanage; the rest were taken in by foster parents. A control group consisted of children from the region who had always lived with their natural parents. Both the children who remained in the orphanage and those who were fostered developed attachment problems. For example, in a 2014 experiment with 89 of the orphans, a stranger came to the door and, without giving a reason, told a child to follow him. Only 3.5 percent of the children in the control group obeyed, whereas 24.1 percent of the children in foster care followed the stranger, and 44.9 percent of the children living in the orphanage did.“Children like this—who are easily seduced, don’t think and don’t feel—are fodder for a nation bent on war,” says Karl Heinz Brisch, a psychiatrist at the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. “In Johanna Haarer’s view, it is important to deny caring when a child asks for it. But each refusal means rejection,” Grossmann explains. The only means of communication open to a newborn are facial expression and gestures, he adds. If no response is forthcoming, children learn that nothing they try to communicate means anything. Moreover, infants experience existential fear when they are alone and hungry and receive no comfort from their attachment figure. In the worst case, such experiences lead to a form of insecure attachment that makes it difficult to enter into relationships with other people in later life.Why Mothers Took the AdviceWhy did so many mothers follow Haarer’s counterintuitive advice? Radebold, whose research has focused on the generation of children born during the war, notes that Haarer’s views on child-rearing did not appeal to everyone during the 1930s and 1940s but attracted two groups in particular: parents who identified strongly with the Nazi regime and young women who had themselves come from emotionally damaged families (largely as a result of World War I), who had no idea what a good relationship feels like. If, in addition, their husbands were fighting at the front—leaving them to fend for themselves and to feel overburdened and insecure—it may well be imagined that the toughness promoted in Haarer’s books could have been appealing.Of course, strict child-rearing practices had been commonplace in Prussia well before the Nazis came on the scene. In Grossmann’s opinion, only a culture that already had a tendency for hardness would have been ready to institute such practices on a grand scale. Studies on attachment conducted in the 1970s are consistent with this view. He notes, for example, that in Bielefeld, which is in northern Germany, half of all children were shown to exhibit an insecure attachment; in Regensburg, which is in southern Germany and never came under Prussian influence, less than a third fit that category.To evaluate how secure the attachment is between a child and a parent, Grossmann and other attachment researchers often use the Strange Situation test, which was developed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth while at Johns Hopkins University in the 1960s. In one version, a parent and toddler enter a room, and the child is placed near some toys. After about 30 seconds the parent sits down in a chair and begins to read a newspaper or magazine. After at most two minutes, the parent is signaled to encourage the child to play. A few minutes later a strange woman enters the room. Initially silent, she begins to talk to the parent and then tries to engage with the child. Shortly thereafter the parent gets up and leaves the room. After a brief period, the parent returns, and the strange person leaves. A few moments later the parent again exits the room, leaving the child behind. After a few minutes the strange woman reenters the room and begins to engage with the child, and then the parent returns as well.Attachment researchers closely observe the child’s behavior during the entire episode. If the child is upset for a while and cries during the separation but soon calms down, he or she is viewed as securely attached. Children who cannot calm themselves—or who never react to the disappearance of their attachment figure—are assessed as insecurely attached. Grossmann has conducted this test in a number of different cultures. He found that in Germany, in contrast to other Western countries, many parents view it as positive when their children do not respond to their disappearance. The parents perceive this reaction as “independence.”Like Parent, Like ChildGrossmann’s findings also indicate that when children grow up and begin to have children themselves, they pass their attachment behavior down to the next generation. As part of one of his studies, he and his colleagues used interviews to examine the quality of the attachment that parents had in their own childhood, conducting the study about five years after giving the Strange Situation test to the subjects’ children. In assessing the parents’ responses, the researchers looked not only at what the adults were saying but also at the emotions they exhibited during the interview. For example, they observed whether the parents switched the subject frequently, gave only monosyllabic answers or indulged in overgeneralized praise of their own parents without describing actual situations. The results showed that the attachment quality of the children often mirrored that of their parents. A 2016 meta-analysis published by Marije Verhage of VU University Amsterdam and her colleagues, which analyzed data from 4,819 individuals, confirmed that the quality of attachment is transmitted from generation to generation.How exactly the negative childhood experiences of parents are transmitted to their own children is still a matter of conjecture. But biological processes appear to be involved. In 2007, for example, Dahlia Ben-Dat Fisher, then at Concordia University in Montreal, and her colleagues found that the children of mothers who had themselves been neglected in childhood regularly exhibited lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the morning. The researchers interpret this pattern as a sign of abnormal stress processing.In 2016 a team led by Tobias Hecker, then at the University of Zurich, compared a group of children in Tanzania who reported having undergone a great deal of physical and mental abuse with children who reported little abuse. Those in the first group had more medical problems as well as an abnormal pattern of methylation (binding by the chemical group CH3) of the gene that codes for the protein proopiomelanocortin. This protein is a precursor for an array of hormones, among them the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin, produced in the pituitary gland. Altered DNA-methylation patterns can affect the amount of protein made from a gene, and this pattern can be passed on from generation to generation. Researchers have observed this phenomenon in animal experiments; in humans, the picture is as yet less clear.Parents can grapple with their own attachment experiences and try to raise their own children differently. “But,” Grossman says, “in stressful moments, we often fall back on learned, unconscious patterns.” This tendency may be one reason that Haarer’s youngest daughter, Gertrud, decided never to have children herself. In 2012 she publicly confronted her mother’s legacy, writing a book about Johanna Haarer’s life and ideas. Speaking about her own childhood in an interview on Bavarian television, Gertrud Haarer declared, “Apparently it so traumatized me that I thought I could never raise children.”Harsh Nazi Parenting Guidelines May Still Affect German Children of TodayRight Wing Authoritarians Usually Have Similar “Values” the Mind of a Hard Core Trump SupporterGiven the meteoric rise of Donald Trump, and the ill-defined phenomenon known as Trumpism, it's vital that we understand the psychology that attracted Americans to the real estate mogul in the first place. Research suggests such voters are driven by a combination of racial resentment and authoritarianism.Sociologist David Norman Smith cited both in a just-published paper, in which he argues hardcore Trump supporters "target minorities and women" and "favor domineering and intolerant leaders who are uninhibited about their biases."And yet, there's something puzzling about that equation. If authoritarians, by definition, revere authority, why would they support an anti-establishment candidate like Trump? And why are they OK with his administration slandering bedrock American institutions as the Federal Bureau of Investigation?A second recently published study provides an answer: There are different strains of authoritarian thinking. And support for Trump is associated with what is arguably the most toxic type: authoritarian aggression.The study suggests the bulk of his supporters, at least in the Republican primaries, were not old-fashioned conservatives who preach obedience and respect for authority. Rather, they were people who take a belligerent, combative approach toward people they find threatening.The notion that there are different types of authoritarians was proposed in the 1980s by University of Manitoba psychologist Robert Altemeyer, and refined in 2010 by a research team led by John Duckitt of the University of Auckland. In the journal Political Psychology, that team defined right-wing authoritarianism as "a set of three related ideological attitude dimensions."They are:"Conventionalism," a.k.a. "traditionalism," which is defined as "favoring traditional, old-fashioned social norms, values, and morality."Authoritarian submission," defined as "favoring uncritical, respectful, obedient, submissive support for existing authorities and institutions.""Authoritarian aggression," defined as "favoring the use of strict, tough, harsh, punitive, coercive social control."Duckitt and his colleagues created a survey designed to measure each of these three facets. It was measured by participants' responses to statements such as "The old-fashioned ways, and old-fashioned values, still show the best way to live" (traditionalism); "Our country would be great if we show respect for authority and obey our leaders" (submission); and "The way things are going in this country, it's going to take a lot of 'strong medicine' to straighten out the troublemakers, criminals, and perverts" (aggression).A research team led by psychologist Steven Ludeke of the University of Southern Denmark used those scales to try to tease out why some studies link Trump support to authoritarianism, while others do not.It discovered the problem with the latter is they tend to either heavily or exclusively focus on the "submission" dimension, which has traditionally been studied in the context of child-rearing (as in, "Do you expect your children to unquestioningly obey their elders?").As it turns out, that's the facet of authoritarianism that has the least to do with support for Trump.Ludeke's study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, featured 1,444 participants recruited online in April of 2016. They responded to 18 authoritarianism-focused statements—six for each facet—and indicated who, among the presidential candidates remaining in the race at that point, they supported."Consistent with Trump's representation of the world as a dangerous place requiring harsh treatment of deviant minorities," they write, "Trump supporters were high on authoritarian aggression."Strong support for conventionalism/traditionalism was also linked to support for Trump, but high scores on the submission category—that is, respect for authority, and obedience to superiors—was not.THE EMOTIONAL ROOTS OF POLITICAL POLARIZATION: New research argues feelings of disillusionment prompt people to take more extreme positions.Smith's analysis of data from the American National Election Study reaches a similar conclusion. He reports "enthusiastic Trump voters are also enthusiastic about domineering leaders, and that they are not especially enthusiastic about respectful children."Authoritarianism in the Trump era "is not the wish to follow any and every authority but, rather, the wish to support a strong and determined authority who will 'crush evil and take us back to our true path,'" Smith and his co-author, Eric Hanley, conclude.Participants in Ludeke's study also completed surveys measuring Social Dominance Orientation—the belief that one group has the right to dominate others. Replicating previous research, they found this philosophy, which often accompanies authoritarianism, correlated with support for Trump.So the very things a majority of Americans find disconcerting, if not disqualifying, about Trump—his need to dominate, his thinly veiled white supremacism, and his blunt, bullying language—is precisely what appeals to his hardcore fans. They are very likely stand to by their man, whatever scandals might emerge.That said, these results suggest Democrats have a decent chance of peeling away a different slice of the Republican-leaning electorate—if they can defend liberal policies while embodying a more traditional respect for authority. Those "submission"-oriented voters don't have a natural affinity for Trump. They may prefer candidates who embody a traditional sense of dignity—people they can feel comfortable looking up to.That possibility aside, the picture painted in both of these studies is pretty bleak from a progressive perspective. Smith's paper, the lead article in the March 2018 issue of Critical Sociology, concludes this way:Most Trump voters cast their ballots for him with their eyes open, not despite his prejudices but because of them. Their partisanship, whether positive (toward Trump and the Republicans) or negative (against Clinton and the Democrats), is intense. This partisanship is anchored in anger and resentment among mild as well as strong Trump voters.Anger, not fear, was the emotional key to the Tea Party, and that seems to be true for Trumpism as well. If so, the challenge for progressives is greater than many people have imagined. Hostility to minorities and women cannot be wished away; nor can the wish for domineering leaders.

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