Your Baby Can...Research!
PSY/500 – Life-Span Development
February 10, 2014
Prof. Albert Munoz-Flores
Your Baby Can...Research!
One of the greatest benefits produced within the field of psychology is results from research. Psychologists may not spend their whole career conducting research – yet research is, indeed, a major part of psychology. When conducting research, psychologists are expected to implement certain standards of the APA’s Code of Conduct. These standards are especially essential, when it involves conducting field research – in which the results would be presented to the public. For example, according to Standard 5, of the APA’s Code of Conduct, psychologists are expected to be honest about whatever they endorse or research (APA, 2014). Fraudulent or deceptive claims would be a violation to the APA’s Code of Conduct; which could be very detrimental to a psychologist’s career. For this reason, psychologists are expected to research products or obtain supporting empirical evidence on the product, before endorsing it. One particular product that many psychologists may have endorsed – without much research – was the ‘Your Baby Can Read!’ educational program. As of recent, this program is currently discontinued and will no longer be sold under the name ‘Your Baby Can Read!’; due to a lawsuit regarding claims that the title and product promotes (Goldwert, 2012). Whether or not the claims are true or the lawsuit was just – detailed and honest psychological research would have prevented any lawsuit regarding false promotion of the product. Dr. Robert Titzer, the creator of YBCR, not only claims that the product teaches infants and toddlers to read, he specifically stated that his claims are backed by scientific research (Rossen & Powell, 2011). During one particular interview, Dr. Titzer also claimed that the baby would be able to read phonetically by 18 months of age (9AM, 2006). During another interview, when pressed, he acknowledged that his program was basically based on memorization – yet he insisted that it would lead to reading (Rossen & Powell, 2011). The concept and context of these claims are factual – it is the wording of these claims that many people, including the FTC, have a problem with. There has not been any substantial empirical evidence that proves 18-months-old babies can read; nevertheless, the concept of babies learning to respond off of memory is something that virtually all child experts agree with (Stewart, 2010). Research and a more detailed look into what the product is all about – as well as what it claims – may help to clear up some of the confusion between both sides of the lawsuit. The Product and the Claims
YBCR is an educational learning development program that is designed to enhance the intellectual quality of infants and toddlers – by teaching them to read. Purportedly, it does so with the usage of flash cards, DVD’s, pop-up books, and other interactive reading material. According to the creator of the product, the program (if followed through correctly) can have children reading phonetically by the age of 18 months; granted the child starts using the program around 3 months of age. Another claim that the product allegedly promotes is that children who used the program would gain an early start on education – and basically have the advantage of becoming more successful in life than children who did not use the program (Goldwert, 2006). These claims and several complaints of ineffective results have been the basis for a lawsuit against the company. Many parents, the FTC, and several children-affiliated agencies have complained that the YBCR program does not work and promotes false claims. In addition, certain children-affiliated agencies – such as the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (the primary protestors) – allege that the program is actually significantly harmful to babies (Rossen & Powell, 2011)....
References: 9AM. (2006, March 7). 9AM with David & Kim [Video file]. Retrieved from Youtube website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um4_RsVHPYA
American Psychological Association
Berk, L. E. (2010). Development through the lifespan (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Braxton, B. (2004). Opening Your School Library to Preschoolers--and Babies. Teacher Librarian, 32(2), 41.
CCFC. (2012). Victory! no more “Your Baby Can Read”. Retrieved from http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/victory-no-more-your-baby-can-read
Consumer Search. (2010). Your Baby Can Read! review. Retrieved from http://www.consumersearch.com/as-seen-on-tv/your-baby-can-read
Fortman, K. K., Fisch, R. O., & Phinney, M. Y. & Defor, T. A. (2003, November). Books for babies: clinical-based literacy programs. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 17(6), 295-300. doi:10.1016/S0891-5245(03)00071-3
Stewart, R. (2010). ‘Your Baby Can Read’: helpful tool or scam. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/your-baby-can-read-helpful-tool-or-scam
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