Researchers have speculated that a number of factors likely predict the quality of reminiscing between preschool children and their mothers. This study was designed to investigate three such factors, including child temperament, maternal personality, and maternal caregiving representations. 70 mothers and their preschool children were recruited for the study. When the child was 42 months of age, mothers completed measures of her personality and the child's temperament. Mothers also took part in the shortened Parent Development Inventory that was coded for coherence, pleasure, comfort, and perspective taking. At both 42 and 48 months, the mother-child dyad reminisced about a past event in which the child experienced a negative emotion. These conversations were coded for the amount of maternal elaboration, the discussion of emotion, and dyadic qualities (such as collaboration and intersubjectivity). At 42 months, aspects of maternal personality and child temperament were most associated with reminiscing quality. However, at 48 months, it was primarily maternal representations of relationships that predicted high quality reminiscing in the dyad.
Over the first decade of life there are marked improvements in mnemonic abilities. An important question from both a theoretical and applied perspective is the extent of continuity in the nature of memory over this period. The present longitudinal investigation examined declarative memory during the transition from toddlerhood to school-age using both experimental and standardized assessments. Results indicate significant associations between immediate nonverbal recall at 20 months (measured by elicited imitation) and immediate verbal and nonverbal memory (measured by standardized and laboratory-based tasks) at 6 years in typically developing children. Regression models revealed this association was specific, as measures of language abilities and temperament were not predictive of later memory performance. These findings suggest both continuity and specificity within the declarative memory system over the first years of life. Theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed.
Online comprehension of naturally spoken and perceptually degraded words was assessed in 95 children ages 12 to 31 months. The time course of word recognition was measured by monitoring eye movements as children looked at pictures while listening to familiar target words presented in unaltered, time-compressed, and low-pass-filtered forms. Success in word recognition varied with age and level of vocabulary development, and with the perceptual integrity of the word. Recognition was best overall for unaltered words, lower for time-compressed words, and significantly lower in low-pass-filtered words. Reaction times were fastest in compressed, followed by unaltered and filtered words. Results showed that children were able to recognize familiar words in challenging conditions and that productive vocabulary size was more sensitive than chronological age as a predictor of children's accuracy and speed in word recognition.
We address the issue of children's understanding of abstract words with two studies on preschoolers' knowledge of the time-duration words minutes, hours, days, and years. The first study examines 4- and 5-year-olds' ability to answer questions about durations of common phenomena with duration terms. The second study examines 4- to 6-year-olds' comprehension of duration terms with a forced-choice pointing task. Both show that preschoolers' knowledge of such words is incomplete, but that it adheres to the pattern proposed in previous work with toddlers for abstract words. More specifically, children form lexical domains for such words even before they know their individual meanings, thereby allowing the children to often respond appropriately but not usually correctly to questions about abstract dimensions like time.
Personal narratives are integral to autobiographical memory and to identity, with coherent personal narratives being linked to positive developmental outcomes across the lifespan. In this article, we review the theoretical and empirical literature that sets the stage for a new lifespan model of personal narrative coherence. This new model integrates context, chronology, and theme as essential dimensions of personal narrative coherence, each of which relies upon different developmental achievements and has a different developmental trajectory across the lifespan. A multidimensional method of coding narrative coherence (the Narrative Coherence Coding Scheme or NaCCS) was derived from the model and is described here. The utility of this approach is demonstrated by its application to 498 narratives that were collected in six laboratories from participants ranging in age from 3 years to adulthood. The value of the model is illustrated further by a discussion of its potential to guide future research on the developmental foundations of narrative coherence and on the benefits of personal narrative coherence for different aspects of psychological functioning.
By the end of the first year, infants expect spoken labels to be extended across individuals and thus, seem to understand words as shared conventional forms. However, it is unknown whether infants' willingness to extend labels across individuals is constrained to familiar forms, such as spoken words, or whether infants can identify a broader range of symbols as potential conventions. The present study tested whether 12-month-old infants will extend a novel signlabel to a new person. Results indicate that 12-month-olds expect signed object-label relations to extend across agents, but restrict object preferences to individuals. The results suggest that infants' expectations about conventional behaviors and linguistic forms are likely broad at 12-months. The implications of these findings for infants' early conceptions of conventional behaviors, as well as our understanding of the initial state of the learner are considered.
This research investigated 3- to 5-year-old's understanding of the role of intentional states and action in pretense. There are two main perspectives on how children conceptualize pretense. One view is that children understand the mental aspects of pretending (the rich interpretation). The alternative view is that children conceptualize pretense as "acting-like" and do not appreciate that the mind is crucial to pretense (the lean interpretation). The experiments in this article used a novel approach to test these two interpretations. Children were presented with two types of videotaped scenarios. In Experiment 1, children were presented with a scenario in which people wanted to be like something else (e.g., a kangaroo) and either acted like it or did not act like it. Children were asked whether the protagonists were pretending and whether they were thinking about the pretend entity. In Experiment 2, children were presented with the Experiment 1 scenarios and also with a scenario in which a person had the intention to do something else (e.g., look for her keys) but whose actions were similar to those of a pretend entity (e.g., a bear). Children were asked about the pretense, thoughts, and the intentions of the protagonists. Experiment 3 tested for the effect of asking an open-ended versus a forced-choice question on the Experiment 2 tasks. The results of this study suggest that in certain facilitating conditions (e.g., intention information salient, forced-choice question) children have an early understanding of the role of mind in pretense.
Infants learn from adults readily and cooperate with them spontaneously, but how do they select culturally appropriate teachers and collaborators? Building on evidence that children demonstrate social preferences for speakers of their native language, Experiment 1 presented 10-month-old infants with videotaped events in which a native and a foreign speaker introduced two different toys. When given a chance to choose between real exemplars of the objects, infants preferentially chose the toy modeled by the native speaker. In Experiment 2, 2.5-year-old children were presented with the same videotaped native and foreign speakers, and played a game in which they could offer an object to one of two individuals. Children reliably gave to the native speaker. Together, the results suggest that infants and young children are selective social learners and cooperators, and that language provides one basis for this selectivity.
Two experiments examined processes underlying cognitive inflexibility in set-shifting tasks typically used to assess the development of executive function in children. Adult participants performed a Flexible Item Selection Task (FIST) that requires shifting from categorizing by one dimension (e.g., color) to categorizing by a second orthogonal dimension (e.g., shape). The experiments showed performance of the FIST involves suppression of the representation of the ignored dimension; response times for selecting a target object in an immediately-following oddity task were slower when the oddity target was the previously-ignored stimulus of the FIST. However, proactive interference from the previously relevant stimulus dimension also impaired responding. The results are discussed with respect to two prominent theories of the source of difficulty for children and adults on dimensional shifting tasks: attentional inertia and negative priming. In contrast to prior work emphasizing one over the other process, the findings indicate that difficulty in the FIST, and by extension other set-shifting tasks, can be attributed to both the need to shift away from the previously attended representation (attentional inertia), and the need to shift to the previously ignored representation (negative priming). Results are discussed in relation to theoretical explanations for cognitive inflexibility in adults and children.
Amid recent progress in cognitive development research, high-quality data resources are accumulating, and data sharing and secondary data analysis is becoming an increasingly valuable tool. Integrative data analysis (IDA) is an exciting analytical framework that can enhance secondary data analysis in powerful ways. IDA pools item level data across multiple studies to make inferences possible both within and across studies and can be used to test questions not possible in individual contributing studies. Some of the potential benefits of IDA include the ability to study longer developmental periods, examine how the measurement of key constructs changes over time, increase subject heterogeneity, and improve statistical power and capability to study rare behaviors. Our goal in this paper is to provide a brief overview of the benefits and challenges of IDA in developmental research and to identify additional resources that provide more detailed discussions of this topic.
Decades of research have documented in school-aged children a persistent difficulty apprehending an overarching biological concept that encompasses animate entities like humans and non-human animals, as well as plants. This has led many researchers to conclude that young children have yet to integrate plants and animate entities into a concept LIVING THING. However, virtually all investigations have used the word "alive" to probe children's understanding, a term that technically describes all living things, but in practice is often aligned with animate entities only. We show that when "alive" is replaced with less ambiguous probes, children readily demonstrate knowledge of an overarching concept linking plants with humans and non-human animals. This work suggests that children have a burgeoning appreciation of this fundamental biological concept, and that the word "alive" paradoxically masks young children's appreciation of the concept to which it is meant to refer.
Three studies (N = 171) examined preschool children's tendency to use category information to make inferences about ambiguous behavior. Children heard stories in which category information about story characters was manipulated and behavioral information was held constant. Participants were asked to evaluate, explain, and determine the significance of the behavior in question. Children tended to be harsher judges of the same ambiguous behaviors when performed by (a) humans as compared to animals, (b) boys compared to girls, and (c) older children compared to younger children. Results suggest that young children hold differentiated notions of the mental states and dispositions that underlie behavior and that these notions vary as a function of category membership. These findings support the conclusion that even young children can hold and use multiple folk psychologies.
Deaf children whose hearing losses prevent them from accessing spoken language and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign language develop gesture systems, called homesigns, that have many of the properties of natural language-the so-called resilient properties of language. We explored the resilience of structure built around the predicate-in particular, how manner and path are mapped onto the verb-in homesign systems developed by deaf children in Turkey and the United States. We also asked whether the Turkish homesigners exhibit sentence-level structures previously identified as resilient in American and Chinese homesigners. We found that the Turkish and American deaf children used not only the same production probability and ordering patterns to indicate who does what to whom, but also the same segmentation and conflation patterns to package manner and path. The gestures that the hearing parents produced did not, for the most part, display the patterns found in the children's gestures. Although co-speech gesture may provide the building blocks for homesign, it does not provide the blueprint for these resilient properties of language.
Although infants' cognitions about the world must be influenced by experience, little research has directly assessed the relation between everyday experience and infants' visual cognition in the laboratory. Eye-tracking procedures were used to measure 4-month-old infants' eye-movements as they visually investigated a series of images. Infants with pet experience (N = 27) directed a greater proportion of their looking at the most informative region of animal stimuli-the head-than did infants without such experience (N = 21); the two groups of infants did not differ in their scanning of images of human faces or vehicles. Thus, infants' visual cognitions are influenced by everyday experience, and theories of cognitive development in infancy must account for the effect of experience on development.
Pragmatic differentiation in bilinguals is the ability to use two languages appropriately with different speakers. Although some sensitivity emerges by 2 years, the effect of context on these skills and their relation to other developing metacognitive capacities have not been examined. The current study compared the language use of 28 bilingual children (2;7 to 3;10 and 4;1 to 4;11) across two tasks. All children were bilingual in English and Marathi, an Indian language. Theory-of-mind measures were included to assess whether developing cognitive capacities relate to pragmatic language ability. Results indicated that pragmatic differentiation is not an all-or-none ability, but one which develops over the preschool years and varies based on the conversational context. This development is also related to metacognitive abilities which emerge during this time.
Longitudinal data analysis has long played a significant role in empirical research within the developmental sciences. The past decade has given rise to a host of new and exciting analytic methods for studying between-person differences in within-person change. These methods are broadly organized under the term growth curve models. The historical lines of development leading to current growth models span multiple disciplines within both the social and statistical sciences, and this in turn makes it challenging for developmental researchers to gain a broader understanding of the current state of this literature. To help address this challenge, the authors pose 12 questions that frequently arise in growth curve modeling, particularly in applications within developmental psychology. They provide concise and nontechnical responses to each question and make specific recommendations for further readings.
Habituation of looking time has become the standard method for studying cognitive processes in infancy. This method has a long history and derives from the study of memory and habituation itself. Often, however, it is not clear how researchers make decisions about how to implement habituation as a tool to study processes such as categorization, object representation, and memory. This article describes the challenges for implementing this tool, and describes a set of best practices for its use to study perception and cognition in infancy.
In this study we assessed children's ability to use information overheard in other people's conversations to judge the reality status of a novel entity. Three- to 9-year-old children (N = 101) watched video clips in which two adults conversed casually about a novel being. Videos contained statements that either explicitly denied, explicitly affirmed, or implicitly acknowledged the entity's existence. Results indicated that children of all ages used statements of denial to discount the reality status of the novel entity, but that this ability improved with age. By age 5, children used implicit existence cues to judge a novel entity as being real. Not until age 9, however, did children begin to doubt the existence of entities whose reality status was explicitly affirmed in conversation. Overall, results indicate that the ability to use conversational cues to determine reality status is present in some children as early as age 3, but recognition of the nuanced language of belief continues to develop during the elementary-school years.
A growing number of studies suggests cultural differences in the attention and evaluation of information in adults (Hedden, Ketay, Aron, Markus, & Gabrieli, 2008; Markus & Kitayama, 199131.
Markus , H. R. , &
Kitayama , S. ( 1991 ). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation . Psychological Review , 98 , 224 – 253 . [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references; Masuda & Nisbett, 200134.
Masuda , T. , &
Nisbett , R. E. ( 2001 ). Attending holistically versus analytically: Comparing the context sensitivity of Japanese and Americans . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 81 , 922 – 934 . [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references). One cultural comparison, between Westerners, such as Americans, and Easterners, such as the Japanese, suggests that Westerners typically focus on a central single object in a scene while Easterners often integrate their judgment of the focal object with surrounding contextual cues. There are few studies of whether such cultural differences are evident in children. This study examined 48 monolingual Japanese-speaking children residing in Japan and 48 monolingual English-speaking children residing in the United States (40- to 60-month-olds) in a task asking children to complete a picture by adding the proper emotional expression to a face. The key variable was the context and shift in context from the preceding trial for the same pictured individual. Japanese children were much more likely to shift their judgments with changes in context, whereas children from the United States treated facial expression in a more trait-like manner, maintaining the same expression for the individual across contexts.
We investigated the effects of instructions to "stay on task" on preschoolers' attention and cognitive performance in the face of either incomprehensible or comprehensible distraction. Three- and 4-year-olds completed problem-solving tasks while a distracting event played continuously in the background, under conditions of (a) no instruction, (b) moderate instruction, or (c) frequent instruction to "stay on task." Under conditions where an incomprehensible distractor was present, any amount of instruction reduced looking to the distracting event. Under conditions where a comprehensible distractor was present, however, frequent instruction was the most effective in increasing looking to the task and decreasing looking to the distracting event.
Adults attach special value to objects that link to notable people or events - authentic objects. We examined children's monetary evaluation of authentic objects, focusing on four kinds: celebrity possessions (e.g., Harry Potter's glasses), original creations (e.g., the very first teddy bear), personal possessions (e.g., your grandfather's baseball glove), and merely old items (e.g., an old chair). Children ages 4-12 years and adults (N= 151) were asked how much people would pay for authentic and control objects. Young children consistently placed greater monetary value on celebrity possessions than original creations, even when adults judged the two kinds of items to be equivalent. These results suggest that contact with a special individual may be the foundation for the value placed on authentic objects.
These studies examined the role of ontological beliefs about category boundaries in early categorization. Study 1 found that preschool-age children (N= 48, ages 3-4) have domain-specific beliefs about the meaning of category boundaries; children judged the boundaries of natural kind categories (animal species, human gender) as discrete and strict, but the boundaries of other categories (artifact categories, human race) as more flexible. Study 2 demonstrated that these domain-specific ontological intuitions guide children's learning of new categories; children (N = 28, 3-year-olds) assumed that the boundaries of novel animal categories would be narrower and more strictly defined than novel artifact categories. These data demonstrate that abstract beliefs about the meaning of category boundaries shape early conceptual development.
The effect of bilingualism on the cognitive skills of young children was investigated by comparing performance of 162 children who belonged to one of two age groups (approximately 3- and 4½-year-olds) and one of three language groups on a series of tasks examining executive control and word mapping. The children were monolingual English speakers, monolingual French speakers, or bilinguals who spoke English and one of a large number of other languages. Monolinguals obtained higher scores than bilinguals on a receptive vocabulary test and were more likely to demonstrate the mutual exclusivity constraint, especially at the younger ages. However, bilinguals obtained higher scores than both groups of monolinguals on three tests of executive functioning: Luria's tapping task measuring response inhibition, the Opposite Worlds task requiring children to assign incongruent labels to a sequence of animal pictures, and reverse categorization in which children needed to reclassify a set of objects into incongruent categories after an initial classification. There were no differences between the groups in the ANT flanker task requiring executive control to ignore a misleading cue. This evidence for a bilingual advantage in aspects of executive functioning at an earlier age than previously reported is discussed in terms of the possibility that bilingual language production may not be the only source of these developmental effects.
Four experiments examined children's inferences about the relation between objects' internal parts and their causal properties. In Experiment 1, 4-year-olds recognized that objects with different internal parts had different causal properties, and those causal properties transferred if the internal part moved to another object. In Experiment 2, 4-year-olds made inferences from an object's internal parts to its causal properties without being given verbal labels for objects or being shown that insides and causal properties covaried. Experiment 3 found that 4-year-olds chose an object with the same internal part over one with the same external property when asked which object had the same causal property as the target (which had both the internal part and external property). Finally, Experiment 4 demonstrated that 4-year-olds made similar inferences from causal properties to internal parts, but 3-year-olds relied more on objects' external perceptual appearance. These results suggest that by the age of 4, children have developed an understanding of a relation between an artifact's internal parts and its causal properties.
Neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) graduates, a group at risk for attention problems and ADHD, performed an intra-dimensional shift card sort at 34, 42, 51, and 60 months to assess executive function and to examine effects of individual risk factors. In the 'silly' game, children sorted cards (airplanes and dogs) so they were not the same as targets. In the 'same' game they did the opposite. Performance on the 'silly' game was poor, especially when it was presented first. Success in following 'silly' game rules improved with age, and was significantly linked to maternal education and birth weight for gestational age, a measure of intrauterine stress. Degree of CNS injury differentiated children who completed the task from children who did not, and also affected the need to repeat instructions in the 'same' game. These results confirm an increased likelihood of impairments in executive function during preschool years in NICU graduates.
We examined the interactions between visual recognition memory, working memory, and categorization by examining 6-month-old infants' (N = 168) memory for individual items in a categorized list (e.g., images of dogs or cats). In Experiments 1 and 2, infants were familiarized with 6 different cats or dogs, presented one at a time on a series of 15-s familiarization trials. When the test occurred immediately after the sixth familiarization trial (Experiment 1), infants showed strong novelty preference for items presented on the fourth or fifth familiarization trial, but not for the items presented on the first three trials or on the sixth trial. When a brief (15-s) retention delay occurred between the end of the sixth trial and the test trials (Experiment 2), memory for the sixth item was enhanced, memory for the fourth item was impaired, and memory for the fifth was unchanged relative to when no retention delay was included. Experiment 3 confirmed that infants can form a memory for the first item presented. These results reveal how factors such as interference and time to consolidate influence infants' visual recognition memory as they categorize a series of items.
A series of studies investigated White U.S. three- and four-year-old children's use of gender and race information to reason about their own and others' relationships and attributes. Three-year-old children used gender- but not race-based similarity between themselves and others to decide with whom they wanted to be friends, as well as to determine which children shared their own preferences for various social activities. Four-year-old (but not younger) children attended to gender and racial category membership to guide inferences about others' relationships, but did not use these categories to reason about others' shared activity preferences. Taken together, the findings provide evidence for three suggestions about these children's social category-based reasoning. First, gender is a more potent category than race. Second, social categories are initially recruited for first-person reasoning, but later become broad enough to support third-person inferences. Finally, at least for third-person reasoning, thinking about social categories is more attuned to social relationships than to shared attributes.
Age-related differences in episodic memory judgments assessing recall of fact information and the source of this information were examined. The role of executive function in supporting early episodic memory ability was also explored. Four- and 6-year-old children were taught 10 novel facts from two different sources (experimenter or puppet) and memory for both fact and source information was later tested. Measures of working memory, inhibitory control, and set-shifting were obtained to produce an indicator of children's executive function. Six-year-olds recalled more fact and source information than 4-year-olds. Regression analyses revealed that age, language ability, and executive function accounted for unique variance in children's fact recall and source recall performance. These findings suggest a link between episodic memory and executive function, and we propose that developmental investigations should further explore this association.
Research suggests that executive function (EF) may distinguish between children who are well- or ill-prepared for kindergarten, however, little is known about the test-retest reliability of measures of EF for children. We aimed to establish a battery of EF measures that are sensitive to both development and individual differences across the preschool period using Conflict and Delay subtests that had a cool (abstract) or hot (extrinsic reward) focus. Results from 151 children in three age groups (2.5, 3.5, and 4.5) suggested acceptable same-day test-retest reliability on all but Delay-Cool subtasks. These findings will inform appropriate measurement selection and development for future studies.
Cognitive psychologists have begun to address how motivational factors influence adults' performance on cognitive tasks. However, little research has examined how different motivational factors interact with one another to affect behavior across the lifespan. The current study examined how children perform on a classification task when placed in a regulatory fit or mismatch. Nine-year-old children performed a classification task in which they either gained or lost points for each response. Additionally, children were given either a global promotion focus (trying to earn a gift card) or a prevention focus (trying to avoid losing a gift card). Previous work indicates that adults in this task tend to perform better when there is a match (or fit) between the overall incentive to earn or avoid losing the incentive and the task reward structure to maximize points gained or minimize points lost. Unlike adults, nine-year-olds perform better in the promotion condition than in the prevention condition regardless of task reward structure. Possible explanations for the differences between adults' and children's performance are discussed as well as possible applications for academic settings.
This study was designed to investigate if the working memory profiles of children living in rural poverty are distinct from the working memory profiles of children living in urban poverty. Verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks were administered to sixth-grade students living in low-income rural, low-income urban, high-income rural, and high-income urban developmental contexts. Both low-income rural and low-income urban children showed working memory deficits compared with their high-income counterparts, but their deficits were distinct. Low-income urban children exhibited symmetrical verbal and visuospatial working memory deficits compared with their high-income urban counterparts. Meanwhile, low-income rural children exhibited asymmetrical deficits when compared with their high-income rural counterparts, with more extreme visuospatial working memory deficits than verbal working memory deficits. These results suggest that different types of poverty are associated with different working memory abilities.
Remembering the temporal information associated with personal past events is critical for autobiographical memory, yet we know relatively little about the development of this capacity. In the present research, we investigated temporal memory for naturally occurring personal events in 4-, 6-, and 8-year-old children. Parents recorded unique events in which their children participated during a 4-month period. At test, children made relative recency judgments and estimated the time of each event using conventional time-scales (time of day, day of week, month of year, and season). Children also were asked to provide justifications for their time-scale judgments. Six- and 8-year-olds, but not 4-year-olds, accurately judged the order of two distinct events. There were age-related improvements in children's estimation of the time of events using conventional time-scales. Older children provided more justifications for their time-scale judgments compared to younger children. Relations between correct responding on the time-scale judgments and provision of meaningful justifications suggest that children may use that information to reconstruct the times associated with past events. The findings can be used to chart a developmental trajectory of performance in temporal memory for personal past events, and have implications for our understanding of autobiographical memory development.
The ability to recognize common objects from sparse information about geometric shape emerges during the same period in which children learn object names and object categories. Hummel and Biederman's (1992) theory of object recognition proposes that the geometric shapes of objects have two components-geometric volumes representing major object parts, and the spatial relations among those parts. In the present research, 18- to 30-month-old children's ability to use separate information about object part shapes and part relations to recognize both novel (Experiment 1) and common objects (Experiment 2) was examined. Children succeeded in matching novel objects on part shapes despite differences in part relations but did not match on part relations when there were differences in part shapes. Given known objects, children showed that they did represent the relational structure of those objects. The results support the proposal that children's representations of the geometric structures of objects are built over time and may require exposure to multiple instances of an object category. More broadly, the results suggest that the distinction between object part shape and part relations as two components of object shape similarity is psychologically real and developmentally significant.
A long history of research has considered the role of iconicity in language and the existence and role of non-arbitrary properties in language and the use of language. Previous studies with Japanese-speaking children whose language defines a large grammatical class of words with clear sound symbolism suggest that iconicity properties in Japanese may aid early verb learning, and a recent extended work suggest that such early sensitivity is not limited to children whose language supports such word classes. The present study further considers the use of sounds symbolic words in verb learning context by conducting systematic cross-linguistic comparisons on early exposure to and effect of sound symbolism in verb mapping. Experiment 1 is an observational study of how English- and Japanese-speaking parents talk about verbs. More conventionalized symbolic words were found in Japanese-speaking parental input and more idiosyncratic use of sound symbolism in English-speaking parental input. Despite this different exposure of iconic forms to describe actions, the artificial verb learning task in Experiment 2 revealed that children in both language groups benefit from sound-meaning correspondences for their verb learning. These results together confirm more extensive use of conventionalized sound-symbolism among Japanese-speakers, and also support a cross-linguistic consistency of the effect, which has documented in the recent work. The work also points to the potential value of understanding the contexts in which sound-meaning correspondences matter in language learning.
Two studies examined young children's early understanding and evaluation of truth-telling and lying, and the role that factuality plays in their judgments. Study 1 (104 2- to 5-year-olds) found that even the youngest children reliably accepted true statements and rejected false statements, and that older children's ability to label true and false statements as "truth" and "lie" emerged in tandem with their positive evaluation of true statements and "truth" and their negative evaluation of false statements and "lie." The findings suggest that children's early preference for factuality develops into a conception of "truth" and "lie" that is linked both to factuality and moral evaluation. Study 2 (128 3- to 5-year-olds) found that, whereas young children exhibited good understanding of the association of true and false statements with "truth," "lie," "mistake," "right," and "wrong," they showed little awareness of assumptions about speaker knowledge underlying "lie" and "mistake." The results further support the primacy of factuality in children's early understanding and evaluation of truth and lies.
Developmental research is enhanced by use of multiple methodologies for examining psychological processes. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is an efficient and relatively inexpensive method for the study of developmental changes in brain-behavior relations. In this review, we highlight some of the challenges for using EEG in cognitive development research. We also list best practices for incorporating this methodology into the study of early cognitive processes. Consideration of these issues is critical for making an informed decision regarding implementation of EEG methodology.
Data collection can be the most time- and cost-intensive part of developmental research. This article describes some long-proposed but little-used research designs that have the potential to maximize data quality (reliability and validity) while minimizing research cost. In planned missing data designs, missing data are used strategically to improve the validity of data collection in one of two ways. Multi-form designs allow one to increase the number of measures assessed on each participant without increasing each participant's burden. Two-method measurement designs allow one to reap the benefits of a cost-intensive gold-standard measure, using a larger sample size made possible by a rougher, cheaper measure. We explain each method using examples relevant to cognitive development research. With the use of analysis methods that produce unbiased results, planned missing data designs are an efficient way to manage cost, improve data quality, and reduce participant fatigue and practice effects.
Traditional looking-time paradigms are often used to assess infants' attention to socio-cognitive phenomena, but the link between these laboratory scenarios and real-world interactions is unclear. The current study investigated hypothesized relations between traditional social-cognitive looking-time paradigms and their real-world counterparts in caregiver-infant social interaction. Seventy-five 10- to 12-month-old infants participated in a structured play session with their caregiver, as well as a traditional looking-time paradigm targeting intentional action. Infants' ability to quickly parse intentional displays correlated with several key qualities of their everyday interactions. In particular, caregiver and infant interaction quality, maternal supportiveness, caregiver and infant joint engagement skill, and social attentiveness in infants correlated with faster habituation to looking-time displays. These results support a linkage between social-cognitive looking-time laboratory paradigms and more naturalistic partner interaction, at this key age. The data both provide external validation for the large body of social-cognitive findings emerging from laboratory looking-time paradigms, and contribute to a growing literature tracking the developmental trajectory of infants' understanding of people over the first two years.
Map reading is unique to humans but present in people of diverse cultures, at ages as young as 4 years. Here we explore the nature and sources of this ability, asking both what geometric information young children use in maps and what non-symbolic systems are associated with their map-reading performance. Four-year-old children were given two tests of map-based navigation (placing an object within a small 3D surface layout at a position indicated on a 2D map), one focused on distance relations and the other on angle relations. Children also were given two non-symbolic tasks, testing their use of geometry for navigation (a reorientation task) and for visual form analysis (a deviant-detection task). Although children successfully performed both map tasks, their performance on the two map tasks was uncorrelated, providing evidence for distinct abilities to represent distance and angle on 2D maps of 3D surface layouts. In contrast, performance on each map task was associated with performance on one of the two non-symbolic tasks: map-based navigation by distance correlated with sensitivity to the shape of the environment in the reorientation task, whereas map-based navigation by angle correlated with sensitivity to the shapes of 2D forms and patterns in the deviant detection task. These findings suggest links between one uniquely human, emerging symbolic ability, geometric map use, and two core systems of geometry.
Two experiments investigated the influence of socially conveyed emotions and speech on infants' preferences in the food domain. After watching films in which two unfamiliar actresses each spoke while eating a different kind of food, 12-month-old infants were allowed to choose between the two foods. In Experiment 1, infants selected a food endorsed by a speaker of their native language who displayed positive affect over a food endorsed by a foreign-language speaker who displayed negative affect. In Experiment 2, both actresses displayed positive affect yet spoke in different languages, and infants again selected the food associated with the speaker of their native language. The findings contrast with previous research in which infants and toddlers have shown little selectivity when presented with foods that differ in their intrinsic properties such as color, texture, and familiarity. Although infants may lack capacities for evaluating foods on their own, they do look to other people for guidance in food selection.
Research in developmental psychology requires sampling at different time points. Accurate depictions of developmental change provide a foundation for further empirical studies and theories about developmental mechanisms. However, overreliance on widely spaced sampling intervals in cross-sectional and longitudinal designs threatens the validity of the enterprise. This article discusses how to sample development in order to accurately discern the shape of developmental change. The ideal solution is daunting: to summarize behavior over 24-hour intervals and collect daily samples over the critical periods of change. We discuss the magnitude of errors due to undersampling, and the risks associated with oversampling. When daily sampling is not feasible, we offer suggestions for sampling methods that can provide preliminary reference points and provisional sketches of the general shape of a developmental trajectory. Denser sampling then can be applied strategically during periods of enhanced variability, inflections in the rate of developmental change, or in relation to key events or processes that may affect the course of change. Despite the challenges of dense repeated sampling, researchers must take seriously the problem of sampling on a developmental time scale if we are to know the true shape of developmental change.
Four studies investigated whether 4- and 5-yr-olds recognize the potential for diversity in the intentions that motivate a given action. Children heard stories in which 2 characters performed the same action (e.g., running) yet had different desires (e.g., to be home for dinner vs. to be healthy and strong). Children were asked to determine what each character was trying to do (e.g., get somewhere fast vs. get some exercise). 24 5-yr-olds successfully assigned different intentions to the characters, despite the fact that their actions were identical. 24 4-yr-olds, in contrast, tended to attribute the same intention to characters performing the same action, even though their desires clearly differed. Children of this age were, nevertheless, capable of attributing different intentions to characters performing different actions (Study 2 with 18 4-yr-olds). 4-yr-olds' difficulty differentiating 2 intentions for a given action persisted despite several task simplifications (Studies 3 and 4, with 24 Ss each), suggesting that children's early concept of intention may be intimately tied to action. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Two studies with 92 male and female children were conducted to describe 4- through 8-year-olds' knowledge of the distances of daily activities and of annual events in the future. Children were tested on a task that used a linear representation of the future. At each age, a substantial number of children responded on the daily-activities task as if they ignored the present reference time and judged the cards according to their earliness within the waking day. However, when separated from this morning-reference group, the remaining 4- and 5-year-olds significantly differentiated events according to their distances in the future. In this present-reference group, 7- and 8-year-olds showed greater differentiation of the future distances of daily activities than of annual events. Results demonstrate that a sense of the future depends on the specific representations available for each of a number of different time patterns. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This article addresses a question that was a topic of debate in the middle decades of the 20th century but was then abandoned as interest in children's learning declined. The question is, does learning develop? In other words, does the learning process itself undergo age-related change, or does it remain invariant ontogenetically and phylogenetically, as early learning theories claimed? We suggest that new conceptions of learning make the question worth revisiting. A study is presented of 11- to 12-year-old children and young adults engaged in an identical learning task. Results support the proposal that learning comes to operate under increasing executive control in the years between middle childhood and early adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Comments on the article by J. M. Mandler (see record
2001-16715-001) which discussed the differences between perceptual categorization and conceptual categorization in infant development. The present authors discuss primarily the development of the initial categorical and later conceptual representation for animals, a global mental entity. They also discuss the information (knowledge) that underlies this representation, of which motion is particularly important in their view and that of Mandler. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This article explores the functional significance of affective messages for behavior in early childhood. Previous research indicates that children's affective judgments are influenced more by what is said than by how it is said. Of particular interest is the extent to which this tendency toward literal interpretation has real consequences for behavior. The effect of consistent and conflicting affective messages on child behavior was assessed in a social-referencing procedure. What was said had a stronger effect than facial and vocal paralanguage on 56 4-yr-old children's exploration of novel objects. This suggests that the lexical bias evident in children's interpretations reflects a genuine developmental transition in the primary cues on which attributions are based, and these cues have direct consequences for behavior regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The development of
representational insight, or the understanding that one object can stand for another, is an important process for the growth of problem solving in young children. Three experiments were conducted to determine what role different task demands play in 2.5-yr-old children's performance on J. S. DeLoache's (1987) model-room task. The Ss were males and females, aged 28 to 32 mo, from the Springfield, MA area. The results of Experiment 1 (with 51 Ss) reveal that the size of the toy to be retrieved had little bearing on performance; only the size of the spaces affected performance. Experiment 2 (with 14 Ss) demonstrated that the large number of perseverative errors produced by children in these tasks was not reduced when the toy on each of the 4 test trials was changed and, thus suggested that characteristics of the toy had little influence on performance. Experiment 3 (with 33 Ss) showed that elimination of the possibility of perseverative response through removal of the previously used hiding locations did not facilitate transfer. The results point to conceptual inflexibility or difficulty of engagement in dual representation associated with the search space as important contributors to the lack of representational insight demonstrated by 2.5-yr-old children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This study examines the conditions under which 3-year-olds can use the desires of others to predict others' behavior. In Study 1, children were highly successful in predicting the actions of an agent based on that agent's desires when they were explicitly told about the agent's desires, even when the agent's desires were strongly different from the children's own. Study 2 showed that 3-year-olds could also predict the actions of an agent when they had to infer the agent's desires from the previous good and bad experiences of the agent and from information about the agent's general behavioral preferences. Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that children had difficulty predicting an agent's behavior when they both had to infer the desire of the agent and this desire conflicted with their own desires. These results suggest that preschoolers' desire reasoning is sophisticated but also may be influenced by the processing demands of the task. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Responds to comments by S. Carey (see record
2001-16715-002), E. Gibson (see record
2001-16715-003), K. Nelson (see record
2001-16715-004), P. C. Quinn and P. D. Eimas (see record
2001-16715-005), and J. S. Reznick (see record
2001-16715-006) on the present author's original article (see record
2001-16715-001) which discussed the differences between perceptual categorization and conceptual categorization in infant development. J. Mandler defends her theory by examining each point made by the commentators. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
To determine whether infants follow the gaze of adults because they understand the referential nature of looking or because they use the adult turn as a predictive cue for the location of interesting events, the gaze-following behavior of 14- and 18-mo-olds was examined in the joint visual attention paradigm under varying visual obstruction conditions: (1) when the experimenter's line of sight was obstructed by opaque screens (screen condition), (2) when the experimenter's view was not obstructed (no-screen condition), and (3) when the opaque screens contained a large transparent window (window condition.) 18-mo-olds responding in accord with the referential position (turning much more in the no-screen and window conditions than in the screen condition.) However, 14-mo-olds yielded a mixed response pattern (turning less in the screen than the no-screen condition but turning still less in the window condition.) Results suggest that, unlike 18-mo-olds, 14-mo-olds do not understand the intentional nature of looking and are unclear about the requirements for successful looking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)