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Copyright © 2009 Ray Dickenson
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Wrong medium, wrong message


A scientist was trying to explain to a BBC lady interviewer that mice with informal, complex surroundings develop `better brains' - or larger memory organs - than mice in bare cages.  The report used `enriched' and `deprived' to describe the respective habitats.

On hearing the word `enriched' the BBC lady enthused  "So this indicates a sort of CLASS difference?"

Obviously to her (and to the BBC), `enriched' meant: - having wealthy parents, going to an elite school, and having a highly-paid media job.

In other words, she hoped he would say that privilege could make better brains.

But the pained scientist resisted that temptation, and tried to explain reality,  saying "No, the wild mouse has the richest environment!"

In other words, contrary to the BBC lady's wishes,  poor kids will be more intelligent than rich kids, all else equal, provided they get equal educational opportunities.

But to that brainless BBC presenter, and no doubt to susceptible listeners, the BBC impression was clearly given - by her use of the word `class' - that privilege and a gold-plated cage could give a mouse (or a child), a better brain - when the opposite is approximately true.



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