Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author's Bias in an Article

In the article "Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers" by Jane E. Brody, there are several examples of biased comments. The article describes how most teenagers are deprived of sleep and the risks that come with it. She says that adolescents themselves are partially responsible for lack of sleep, because they are the ones who manage their own time. However, she also holds parents responsible for not taking away smartphones and computers, and high schools for setting the school day to start too early. While the article proves a point, it also contains bias.

The first example of bias is the Functional Fixedness bias, which "limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used." The author uses this bias when she explains how electronics are a main cause of loss of sleep. She writes, "Adding to the adolescent shift in circadian rhythm are myriad electronic distractions that cut further into sleep time, like smartphones, iPods, computers and televisions. A stream of text messages, tweets, and postings on Facebook and Instagram keep many awake long into the night.", but she doesn't account for the many other reasons why teenagers may need to have access to these devices at night. They're not just for texting; they also work as an alarm clock, calendar, display the weather, and allow you to set reminders. Teenagers can use these in order to plan for success the next day by getting up early, writing down test dates, reminding them of homework assignments, and learning what kind of weather they will be walking home in. 

The next bias used is the Observation Selection Bias, which is "the effect of suddenly noticing things that were not noticed previously." This bias is used many times in the article when the author acknowledges what can happen if we don't get sufficient amounts of sleep. However, these arguments have been around for a while and just not brought to our attention. Brody states that, "Insufficient sleep in adolescence increases the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity, said Dr. Owens, pediatric sleep specialist at Children’s National Health System in Washington. Sleeplessness is also linked to risk-taking behavior, depression and suicidal ideation, and car accidents." These have always been effects of not getting enough sleep, but they have only become well-known through news and media over the last few years. 

No comments:

Post a Comment