The Science of Blaming Mothers

September 4, 2014

Today’s link discusses the findings of a research team led by Harvard professor, Sarah S. Richardson, who explores how easily (and mistakenly) culture and pop-science can paint mothers as the source of their children’s problems even before those children are born. The problem, it would seem, is that science is not impervious to scientists’ values, and it’s easy to unwittingly mix the two.

The link was penned by NPR contributor and psychology professor, Tania Lombrozo, who offers a concise and pointed assessment of the Harvard team’s findings:

“Oversimplified science and a critical focus on mothers are nothing new — we’ve been blaming mothers for decades (and probably longer). 

“The influence of values can be dangerous… when it slips in under the radar. In the kinds of cases Richardson and colleagues cite, it’s all too easy for people to take themselves to be making value-free descriptive claims about what causes what. ‘That’s just what the science tells us!’ is the tempting but naive response.

Read Tania Lombrozo’s article here.

posted by Corbin Lambeth

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