Once a year I attend a professional conference on juvenile law and practice. The keynote speaker at this year’s conference is Bruce D. Perry, a scholar and psychologist who studies the effect of trauma on brain development and who runs a clinical practice treating children and juveniles who are forced to deal with those difficult issues.
The thrust of his main talk was that our modern approach to raising children is too isolating and that kids don’t get the intensive exposure to relationships they once did. [He embraces the EP model and asserts that we evolved to live in large social groups, not small nuclear families.] He stated that the average US kid gets now gets 8 hours of screen time per day. Wow. A pithy summary of his remarks might be that children need more people and less pixels in their life.
Part of any effort to help troubled children (whether in a treatment, social work, school, or legal context) is going to involve group discussion and group decisions about services, treatment, and placement. These cases present tough issues and with few easy solutions — the collective wisdom of a group provides more ideas and a better recommendation about how to proceed than a single person could develop. Here is the interesting statement Dr. Perry made that my blog radar (always on) picked up for a post: The IQ of group decision-making goes up in direct proportion to the number of women participating in the group.
That was an aside, with no additional detail or context. I suspect that in a roomful of men there is generally lots of talking and not much listening, and that adding women to the mix changes that unproductive dynamic in a positive way. I can think of two immediate applications of this interesting claim to LDS church governance:
- Recent changes making the Ward Council (with three women) rather than the PEC (with zero women) the primary group decision-making body at the LDS congregational level improves the quality of decisions made at the local level.
- The absence of women in the senior councils of the LDS Church at the institutional level adversely affects the decisions coming out of those senior councils.
So what do you think of the claim? And do you think it is true in the LDS setting?