MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Developmental Science

Impact factor: 3.628 5-Year impact factor: 4.773 Print ISSN: 1363-755X Online ISSN: 1467-7687 Publisher: Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)

Subjects: Experimental Psychology, Developmental Psychology

Most recent papers:

  • Metacognitive scaffolding boosts cognitive and neural benefits following executive attention training in children.
    Joan Paul Pozuelos, Lina M. Combita, Alicia Abundis, Pedro M. Paz‐Alonso, Ángela Conejero, Sonia Guerra, M. Rosario Rueda.
    Developmental Science. October 26, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Interventions including social scaffolding and metacognitive strategies have been used in educational settings to promote cognition. In addition, increasing evidence shows that computerized process‐based training enhances cognitive skills. However, no prior studies have examined the effect of combining these two training strategies. The goal of this study was to test the combined effect of metacognitive scaffolding and computer‐based training of executive attention in a sample of typically developing preschoolers at the cognitive and brain levels. Compared to children in the regular training protocol and an untrained active control group, children in the metacognitive group showed larger gains on intelligence and significant increases on an electrophysiological index associated with conflict processing. Moreover, changes in the conflict‐related brain activity predicted gains in intelligence in the metacognitive scaffolding group. These results suggest that metacognitive scaffolding boosts the influence of process‐based training on cognitive efficiency and brain plasticity related to executive attention. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 26, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12756   open full text
  • Front Cover: Cover Image, Volume 21, Issue 6.
    Maria E Barnes‐Davis, Stephanie L Merhar, Scott K Holland, Darren S Kadis.
    Developmental Science. October 25, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    October 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12760   open full text
  • Inside Front Cover: Cover Image, Volume 21, Issue 6.
    Michael A. Skeide, Tanya M. Evans, Edward Z. Mei, Daniel A. Abrams, Vinod Menon.
    Developmental Science. October 25, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    October 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12759   open full text
  • Issue Information.

    Developmental Science. October 25, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    October 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12621   open full text
  • Word comprehension mediates the link between gesture and word production: Examining language development in infant siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    Emily J Roemer, Kelsey L. West, Jessie B. Northrup, Jana M. Iverson.
    Developmental Science. October 23, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Children's gesture production precedes and predicts language development, but the pathways linking these domains are unclear. It is possible that gesture production assists in children's developing word comprehension, which in turn supports expressive vocabulary acquisition. The present study examines this mediation pathway in a population with variability in early communicative abilities – the younger siblings of children with ASD (High Risk infants; HR). Participants included 92 HR infants and 28 infants at low risk (LR) for ASD. A primary caregiver completed the MacArthur‐Bates Communicative Development Inventory (Fenson et al., 1993) at 12, 14, and 18 months, and HR infants received a diagnostic evaluation for ASD at 36 months. Word comprehension at 14 months mediated the relationship between 12‐month gesture and 18‐month word production in LR and HR infants (ab = .263; p < .01). For LR infants and HR infants with no diagnosis or language delay, gesture was strongly associated with word comprehension (as = .666; .646; .561; ps < .01). However, this relationship did not hold for infants later diagnosed with ASD (a = .073; p = .840). This finding adds to a growing literature suggesting that children with ASD learn language differently. Furthermore, this study provides an initial step towards testing the developmental pathways by which infants transition from early actions and gestures to expressive language. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 23, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12767   open full text
  • Natural reference: A phylo‐ and ontogenetic perspective on the comprehension of iconic gestures and vocalizations.
    Manuel Bohn, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello.
    Developmental Science. October 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The recognition of iconic correspondence between signal and referent has been argued to bootstrap the acquisition and emergence of language. Here, we study the ontogeny, and to some extent the phylogeny, of the ability to spontaneously relate iconic signals, gestures, and/or vocalizations, to previous experience. Children at 18, 24, and 36 months of age (N = 216) and great apes (N = 13) interacted with two apparatuses, each comprising a distinct action and sound. Subsequently, an experimenter mimicked either the action, the sound, or both in combination to refer to one of the apparatuses. Experiments 1 and 2 found no spontaneous comprehension in great apes and in 18‐month‐old children. At 24 months of age, children were successful with a composite vocalization‐gesture signal but not with either vocalization or gesture alone. At 36 months, children succeeded both with a composite vocalization‐gesture signal and with gesture alone, but not with vocalization alone. In general, gestures were understood better compared to vocalizations. Experiment 4 showed that gestures were understood irrespective of how children learned about the corresponding action (through observation or self‐experience). This pattern of results demonstrates that iconic signals can be a powerful way to establish reference in the absence of language, but they are not trivial for children to comprehend and not all iconic signals are created equal. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12757   open full text
  • From negative reactivity to empathic responding: Infants high in negative reactivity express more empathy later in development, with the help of regulation.
    Lior Abramson, Yael Paz, Ariel Knafo‐Noam.
    Developmental Science. October 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Empathy has great effect on human well‐being, promoting healthy relationships and social competence. Although it is increasingly acknowledged that infants show empathy toward others, individual differences in infants’ empathy from the first year of life have rarely been investigated longitudinally. Here we examined how negative reactivity and regulation, two temperament traits that predict empathic responses in older children and adults, relate to infants’ empathy. Infants were studied at the ages of nine (N=275) and 18 (N=301) months (194 infants were studied at both ages). Empathic responses were assessed by infants’ observed reactions to an experimenter's simulated distress. Negative reactivity (fear, sadness, and distress to limitations) and regulation (soothability and effortful control) were assessed by parental reports. Negative reactivity was also examined by infants’ observed reactions to an adult stranger (fear) and during interaction with their mothers (displays of sadness/distress). When examined cross‐sectionally, infants’ fear and distress to limitations associated with self‐distress in response to others’ distress. In contrast, when examined longitudinally, early sadness and distress to limitations, but not fear, associated with later empathic concern and inquisitiveness. Moreover, this longitudinal relation was moderated by infants’ soothability, and was evident only for children that had high soothability by the later time‐point. Our findings suggest that infants who at an earlier age show negative reactivity, react later in development with more empathy if they achieve sufficient regulation abilities. By that, the findings stress the developmental nature of temperament‐empathy relations during infancy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12766   open full text
  • Getting less than their fair share: Maltreated youth are hyper‐cooperative yet vulnerable to exploitation in a Public Goods Game.
    Jan Keil, Sonja Perren, Andrea Schlesier‐Michel, Fabio Sticca, Susan Sierau, Annette M. Klein, Nikolaus Steinbeis, Kai von Klitzing, Lars O. White.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Human cooperative behavior has long been thought to decline under adversity. However, studies have primarily examined perceived patterns of cooperation, with little eye to actual cooperative behavior embedded within social interaction. Game‐theoretical paradigms can help close this gap by unpacking subtle differences in how cooperation unfolds during initial encounters. This study is the first to use a child‐appropriate, virtual, public goods game to study actual cooperative behavior in 329 participants aged 9 to 16 years with histories of maltreatment (n=99) and no maltreatment (n=230) while controlling for psychiatric symptoms. Unlike work on perceived patterns of cooperation, we found that maltreated participants actually contribute more resources to a public good during peer‐interaction than their non‐maltreated counterparts. This effect was robust to controlling for psychiatric symptoms and peer problems as well as demographic variables. We conclude that maltreatment may engender a hyper‐cooperative strategy to minimize the odds of hostility and preserve positive interaction during initial encounters. This, however, comes at the cost of potential exploitation by others. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 17, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12765   open full text
  • Neural correlates of facial emotion processing in infancy.
    Wanze Xie, Sarah A. McCormick, Alissa Westerlund, Lindsay C. Bowman, Charles A. Nelson.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract In the present study we examined the neural correlates of facial emotion processing in the first year of life using ERP measures and cortical source analysis. EEG data were collected cross‐sectionally from 5‐ (N = 49), 7‐ (N = 50), and 12‐month‐old (N = 51) infants while they were viewing images of angry, fearful, and happy faces. The N290 component was found to be larger in amplitude in response to fearful and happy than angry faces in all posterior clusters and showed largest response to fear than the other two emotions only over the right occipital area. The P400 and Nc components were found to be larger in amplitude in response to angry than happy and fearful faces over central and frontal scalp. Cortical source analysis of the N290 component revealed greater cortical activation in the right fusiform face area in response to fearful faces. This effect started to emerge at 5 months and became well established at 7 months, but it disappeared at 12 months. The P400 and Nc components were primarily localized to the PCC/Precuneus where heightened responses to angry faces were observed. The current results suggest the detection of a fearful face in infants’ brain can happen shortly (~200–290 ms) after the stimulus onset, and this process may rely on the face network and develop substantially between 5 to 7 months of age. The current findings also suggest the differential processing of angry faces occurred later in the P400/Nc time window, which recruits the PCC/Precuneus and is associated with the allocation of infants’ attention. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12758   open full text
  • Do children's number words begin noisy?
    Katie Wagner, Junyi Chu, David Barner.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract How do children acquire exact meanings for number words like three or forty‐seven? In recent years, a lively debate has probed the cognitive systems that support learning, with some arguing that an evolutionarily ancient “approximate number system” drives early number word meanings, and others arguing that learning is supported chiefly by representations of small sets of discrete individuals. This debate has centered around the findings generated by Wynn's (, ) Give‐a‐Number task, which she used to categorize children into discrete “knower level” stages. Early reports confirmed Wynn's analysis, and took these stages to support the “small sets” hypothesis. However, more recent studies have disputed this analysis, and have argued that Give‐a‐Number data reveal a strong role for approximate number representations. In the present study, we use previously collected Give‐a‐Number data to replicate the analyses of these past studies, and to show that differences between past studies are due to assumptions made in analyses, rather than to differences in data themselves. We also show how Give‐a‐Number data violate the assumptions of parametric tests used in past studies. Based on simple non‐parametric tests and model simulations, we conclude that (a) before children learn exact meanings for words like one, two, three, and four, they first acquire noisy preliminary meanings for these words, (b) there is no reliable evidence of preliminary meanings for larger meanings, and (c) Give‐a‐Number cannot be used to readily identify signatures of the approximate number system. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12752   open full text
  • Parents’ early book reading to children: Relation to children's later language and literacy outcomes controlling for other parent language input.
    Ö. Ece Demir‐Lira, Lauren R. Applebaum, Susan Goldin‐Meadow, Susan C. Levine.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract It is widely believed that reading to preschool children promotes their language and literacy skills. Yet, whether early parent‐child book reading is an index of generally rich linguistic input or a unique predictor of later outcomes remains unclear. To address this question, we asked whether naturally occurring parent‐child book reading interactions between 1 and 2.5 years‐of‐age predict elementary school language and literacy outcomes, controlling for the quantity of other talk parents provide their children, family socioeconomic status, and children's own early language skill. We find that the quantity of parent‐child book reading interactions predicts children's later receptive vocabulary, reading comprehension, and internal motivation to read (but not decoding, external motivation to read, or math skill), controlling for these other factors. Importantly, we also find that parent language that occurs during book reading interactions is more sophisticated than parent language outside book reading interactions in terms of vocabulary diversity and syntactic complexity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12764   open full text
  • Parent coaching at 6 and 10 months improves language outcomes at 14 months: A randomized controlled trial.
    Naja Ferjan Ramírez, Sarah Roseberry Lytle, Melanie Fish, Patricia K Kuhl.
    Developmental Science. October 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Previous studies reveal an association between particular features of parental language input and advances in children's language learning. However, it is not known whether parent coaching aimed to enhance specific input components would (i) successfully increase these components in parents’ language input, and (ii) result in concurrent increases in children's language development. The present randomized controlled trial assigned families of typically developing 6‐month‐old infants to Intervention (parent coaching) and Control (no coaching) groups. Families were equivalent on socioeconomic status, infants’ gender, and infants’ age. Parent coaching took place when infants were 6 and 10 months of age, and included quantitative and qualitative linguistic feedback on the amount of child directed speech, back‐and‐forth interactions, and parentese speech style. These variables were derived from each family's first‐person LENA recordings at home. Input variables and infant language were measured at 6, 10, and 14 months. Parent coaching significantly enhanced language input as measured by two social interaction variables: percentage of speech directed to the child and percentage of parentese speech. These two variables were correlated, and were both related to growth in infant babbling between 6 and 14 months. Intervention infants showed greater growth in babbling than control infants. Furthermore, at 14 months, intervention infants produced significantly more words than control infants, as indicated by LENA recordings and parent report via the MacArthur‐Bates Communicative Developmental Inventory. Together, these results indicate that parent coaching can enrich specific aspects of parental language input, and can immediately and positively impact child language outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12762   open full text
  • The relation between infant freezing and the development of internalizing symptoms in adolescence: A prospective longitudinal study.
    Hannah C M Niermann, Anna Tyborowska, Antonius H N Cillessen, Marjolein M van Donkelaar, Femke Lammertink, Megan R Gunnar, Barbara Franke, Bernd Figner, Karin Roelofs.
    Developmental Science. October 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Given the long‐lasting detrimental effects of internalizing symptoms, there is great need for detecting early risk markers. One promising marker is freezing behavior. Whereas initial freezing reactions are essential for coping with threat, prolonged freezing has been associated with internalizing psychopathology. However, it remains unknown whether early life alterations in freezing reactions predict changes in internalizing symptoms during adolescent development. In a longitudinal study (N = 116), we tested prospectively whether observed freezing in infancy predicted the development of internalizing symptoms from childhood through late adolescence (until age 17). Both longer and absent infant freezing behavior during a standard challenge (robot‐confrontation task) were associated with internalizing symptoms in adolescence. Specifically, absent infant freezing predicted a relative increase in internalizing symptoms consistently across development, from relatively low symptom levels in childhood to relatively high levels in late adolescence. Longer infant freezing also predicted a relative increase in internalizing symptoms, but only up until early adolescence. This latter effect was moderated by peer stress and was followed by a later decrease in internalizing symptoms. The findings suggest that early deviations in defensive freezing responses signal risk for internalizing symptoms and may constitute important markers in future stress vulnerability and resilience studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12763   open full text
  • Early development of visual attention in infants in rural Malawi.
    Juha Pyykkö, Linda Forssman, Kenneth Maleta, Per Ashorn, Ulla Ashorn, Jukka M Leppänen.
    Developmental Science. October 13, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Eye tracking research has shown that infants develop a repertoire of attentional capacities during the first year. The majority of studies examining the early development of attention comes from Western, high‐resource countries. We examined visual attention in a heterogeneous sample of infants in rural Malawi (N = 312‐376, depending on analysis). Infants were assessed with eye‐tracking‐based tests that targeted visual orienting, anticipatory looking, and attention to faces at 7 and 9 months. Consistent with prior research, infants exhibited active visual search for salient visual targets, anticipatory saccades to predictable events, and a robust attentional bias for happy and fearful faces. Individual variations in these processes had low to moderate odd‐even split‐half and test‐retest reliability. There were no consistent associations between attention measures and gestational age, nutritional status, or characteristics of the rearing environment (i.e., maternal cognition, psychosocial well‐being, socioeconomic status, and care practices). The results replicate infants’ early attentional biases in a large, unique sample, and suggest that some of these biases (e.g., bias for faces) are pronounced in low‐resource settings. The results provided no evidence that the initial manifestation of infants’ attentional capacities is associated with risk factors that are common in low‐resource environments. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - Developmental Science, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.
    October 13, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12761   open full text
  • What Do North American Babies Hear? A large‐scale cross‐corpus analysis.
    Elika Bergelson, Marisa Casillas, Melanie Soderstrom, Amanda Seidl, Anne S. Warlaumont, Andrei Amatuni.
    Developmental Science. October 12, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract A range of demographic variables influences how much speech young children hear. However, because studies have used vastly different sampling methods, quantitative comparison of interlocking demographic effects has been nearly impossible, across or within studies. We harnessed a unique collection of existing naturalistic, day‐long recordings from 61 homes across four North American cities to examine language input as a function of age, gender, and maternal education. We analyzed adult speech heard by 3‐ to 20‐month‐olds who wore audio recorders for an entire day. We annotated speaker gender and speech register (child‐directed or adult‐directed) for 10,861 utterances from female and male adults in these recordings. Examining age, gender, and maternal education collectively in this ecologically valid dataset, we find several key results. First, the speaker gender imbalance in the input is striking: children heard 2–3× more speech from females than males. Second, children in higher‐maternal education homes heard more child‐directed speech than those in lower‐maternal education homes. Finally, our analyses revealed a previously unreported effect: the proportion of child‐directed speech in the input increases with age, due to a decrease in adult‐directed speech with age. This large‐scale analysis is an important step forward in collectively examining demographic variables that influence early development, made possible by pooled, comparable, day‐long recordings of children's language environments. The audio recordings, annotations, and annotation software are readily available for reuse and reanalysis by other researchers. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 12, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12724   open full text
  • Fourteen‐month‐old infants track the language comprehension of communicative partners.
    Bálint Forgács, Eugenio Parise, Gergely Csibra, György Gergely, Lisa Jacquey, Judit Gervain.
    Developmental Science. October 10, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Infants employ sophisticated mechanisms to acquire their first language, including some that rely on taking the perspective of adults as speakers or listeners. When do infants first show awareness of what other people understand? We tested 14‐month‐old infants in two experiments measuring event‐related potentials. In Experiment 1, we established that infants produce the N400 effect, a brain signature of semantic violations, in a live object naming paradigm in the presence of an adult observer. In Experiment 2, we induced false beliefs about the labeled objects in the adult observer to test whether infants keep track of the other person's comprehension. The results revealed that infants reacted to the semantic incongruity heard by the other as if they encountered it themselves: they exhibited an N400‐like response, even though labels were congruous from their perspective. This finding demonstrates that infants track the linguistic understanding of social partners. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 10, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12751   open full text
  • Inside bilingualism: Language background modulates selective attention to a talker's mouth.
    Joan Birulés, Laura Bosch, Ricarda Brieke, Ferran Pons, David J. Lewkowicz.
    Developmental Science. October 10, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Previous findings indicate that bilingual Catalan/Spanish‐learning infants attend more to the highly salient audiovisual redundancy cues normally available in a talker's mouth than do monolingual infants. Presumably, greater attention to such cues renders the challenge of learning two languages easier. Spanish and Catalan are, however, rhythmically and phonologically close languages. This raises the possibility that bilinguals only rely on redundant audiovisual cues when their languages are close. To test this possibility, we exposed 15‐month‐old and 4‐ to 6‐year‐old close‐language bilinguals (Spanish/Catalan) and distant‐language bilinguals (Spanish/”other”) to videos of a talker uttering Spanish or Catalan (native) and English (non‐native) monologues and recorded eye‐gaze to the talker's eyes and mouth. At both ages, the close‐language bilinguals attended more to the talker's mouth than the distant‐language bilinguals. This indicates that language proximity modulates selective attention to a talker's mouth during early childhood and suggests that reliance on the greater salience of audiovisual speech cues depends on the difficulty of the speech‐processing task. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 10, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12755   open full text
  • The vocabulary spurt predicts the emergence of backward semantic inhibition in 18‐month‐old toddlers.
    Janette Chow, Anne M. Aimola Davies, Luis J. Fuentes, Kim Plunkett.
    Developmental Science. October 08, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The current study examines the relationship between 18‐month‐old toddlers’ vocabulary size and their ability to inhibit attention to no‐longer relevant information using the backward semantic inhibition paradigm. When adults switch attention from one semantic category to another, the former and no‐longer‐relevant semantic category becomes inhibited, and subsequent attention to an item that belongs to the inhibited semantic category is impaired. Here we demonstrate that 18‐month‐olds can inhibit attention to no‐longer relevant semantic categories, but only if they have a relatively large vocabulary. These findings suggest that an increased number of items (word knowledge) in the toddler lexical‐semantic system during the “vocabulary spurt” at 18‐months may be an important driving force behind the emergence of a semantic inhibitory mechanism. Possessing more words in the mental lexicon likely results in the formation of inhibitory links between words, which allow toddlers to select and deselect words and concepts more efficiently. Our findings highlight the role of vocabulary growth in the development of inhibitory processes in the emerging lexical‐semantic system. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 08, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12754   open full text
  • The malleability of executive function in early childhood: Effects of schooling and targeted training.
    Qiong Zhang, Cuiping Wang, Qianwen Zhao, Ling Yang, Martin Buschkuehl, Susanne M. Jaeggi.
    Developmental Science. October 08, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Executive function (EF), its importance for scholastic achievement and the question of whether or not EF is malleable, have become a topic of intense interest. Education or schooling is often seen as effective approaches to enhance EF due to the specific school‐related requirements as compared to kindergarten or pre‐school. However, no study to date has investigated whether targeted training focusing on those domains might be comparable with regular schooling in improving EF and fluid intelligence (Gf). The aim of the present study was to replicate and extend the previously demonstrated schooling effects on EF by using a school‐cutoff design, and to further investigate whether a theoretically motivated intervention targeting specific EF, i.e., working memory (WM) or inhibitory control (IC), could achieve comparable effects with schooling in both, WM and IC, as well as Gf. 91 6‐year‐old kindergarteners and first‐graders with similar chronological age participated the study. We compared the performance of a first‐grade schooling group with that of two kindergarten training groups as well as a business‐as‐usual kindergarten control group. Participants were assessed in WM, IC and Gf at baseline, immediately after the intervention (posttest), as well as 3 months after training completion (follow‐up). The results showed that the schooling group indeed outperformed the kindergarten groups at baseline in several cognitive tasks. Furthermore, both the WM and IC training showed pronounced gains in the trained tasks, as well as varying degrees of improvement in non‐trained outcome measures. Most importantly, both training groups achieved comparable performance with the schooling group, which was especially apparent in Gf at follow‐up. Our findings provide further evidence for the malleability of EF demonstrating that both, long‐term and short‐term interventions can facilitate the acquisition of those important skills, and as such, our work has important implications for educational practice. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 08, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12748   open full text
  • It's the journey, not the destination: Locomotor exploration in infants.
    Justine E. Hoch, Sinclaire M. O'Grady, Karen E. Adolph.
    Developmental Science. October 08, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract What incites infant locomotion? Recent research suggests that locomotor exploration is not primarily directed toward distant people, places, or things. However, this question has not been addressed experimentally. In the current study, we asked whether a room filled with toys designed to encourage locomotion (stroller, ball, etc.) elicits different quantities or patterns of exploration than a room with no toys. Caregivers were present but did not interact with infants. Although most walking bouts in the toy‐filled room involved toys, to our surprise, 15‐month‐olds in both rooms produced the same quantity of locomotion. This finding suggests that mere space to move is sufficient to elicit locomotion. However, infants’ patterns of locomotor exploration differed: Infants in the toy‐filled room spent a smaller percent of the session within arms’ reach of their caregiver and explored more locations in the room. Real‐time analyses show that infants in the toy‐filled room took an increasing number of steps per bout and covered more area as the session continued, whereas infants in the no‐toy room took fewer and fewer steps per bout and traveled repeatedly over the same ground. Although not required to elicit locomotion, moving with toys encouraged infants to travel farther from their caregivers and to explore new areas. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 08, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12740   open full text
  • The organization of words and environmental sounds in the second year: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence.
    Kristi Hendrickson, Tracy Love, Matthew Walenski, Margaret Friend.
    Developmental Science. October 08, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The majority of research examining early auditory‐semantic processing and organization is based on studies of meaningful relations between words and referents. However, a thorough investigation into the fundamental relation between acoustic signals and meaning requires an understanding of how meaning is associated with both lexical and non‐lexical sounds. Indeed, it is unknown how meaningful auditory information that is not lexical (e.g., environmental sounds) is processed and organized in the young brain. To capture the structure of semantic organization for words and environmental sounds, we record event‐related potentials as 20‐month‐olds view images of common nouns (e.g., dog) while hearing words or environmental sounds that match the picture (e.g., “dog” or barking), that are within‐category violations (e.g., “cat” or meowing), or that are between‐category violations (e.g., “pen” or scribbling). Results show both words and environmental sounds exhibit larger negative amplitudes to between‐category violations relative to matches. Unlike words, which show a greater negative response early and consistently to within‐category violations, such an effect for environmental sounds occurs late in semantic processing. Thus, as in adults, the young brain represents semantic relations between words and between environmental sounds, though it more readily differentiates semantically similar words compared to environmental sounds. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 08, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12746   open full text
  • Gender differences in egalitarian behavior and attitudes in early childhood.
    Joyce F. Benenson, Ariel Durosky, Jennifer Nguyen, Alexandra Crawford, Evelyne Gauthier, Éloise Dubé.
    Developmental Science. October 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract It is axiomatic that human females are more egalitarian than males. However, surprisingly little empirical research exists that empirically assesses this stereotype. We created two studies designed to objectively examine egalitarian behavior in 3‐ to 5‐year‐old children. In Study 1 we compared the egalitarian behavior and attitudes of American girls versus boys by tabulating the extent to which each gender awarded the same number of stickers to, and liked to the same degree, two puppets. One puppet followed the child's instructions or actions while the other did not during a drawing task in which the child played the roles of leader and peer. In the peer role, girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys. In Study 2, French‐Canadian children were shown two drawings by unknown peers—one messily and one neatly colored—, then asked to distribute stickers to each peer's drawing. Again, girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys. Results suggest the origins of gender differences in egalitarian behavior occur early in life and merit further investigation. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 03, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12750   open full text
  • Enhancing the language development of toddlers in foster care by promoting foster parents’ sensitivity: Results from a randomized controlled trial.
    Kenneth Lee Raby, Emily Freedman, Heather A. Yarger, Teresa Lind, Mary Dozier.
    Developmental Science. October 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Young children in foster care are at increased risk for problematic language development, making early intervention a critical tool in enhancing these children's foundational language abilities. This study examined the efficacy of an early preventative intervention, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch‐up for Toddlers (ABC‐T), in improving the receptive vocabulary abilities of toddlers placed in foster care. All the children had been removed from their biological parents’ care and placed into foster care. When children were between 24 and 36 months old, foster parents were contacted by research staff and consented to participate. Parents were randomly assigned using a random number generator to receive either ABC‐T (n = 45), which aimed to promote sensitive parenting for children who have experienced early adversity, or a control intervention (n = 43). Foster children's receptive vocabulary skills were assessed post‐intervention using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition, when children were between 36 and 60 months old. Children whose foster parents received ABC‐T demonstrated more advanced receptive vocabulary abilities than children whose foster parents received the control intervention. The positive effect of ABC‐T on foster children's receptive vocabulary was mediated by increases in foster parents’ sensitivity during parent–child interactions. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01261806. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 03, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12753   open full text
  • The ontogeny of intent‐based normative judgments.
    Marina Proft, Hannes Rakoczy.
    Developmental Science. October 02, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract When evaluating norm transgressions, children begin to show some sensitivity to the agent's intentionality around preschool age. However, the specific developmental trajectories of different forms of such intent‐based judgments and their cognitive underpinnings are still largely unclear. The current studies, therefore, systematically investigated the development of intent‐based normative judgments as a function of two crucial factors: (a) the type of the agent's mental state underlying a normative transgression, and (b) the type of norm transgressed (moral versus conventional). In Study 1, 5‐ and 7‐year‐old children as well as adults were presented with vignettes in which an agent transgressed either a moral or a conventional norm. Crucially, she did so either intentionally, accidentally (not intentionally at all) or unknowingly (intentionally, yet based on a false belief regarding the outcome). The results revealed two asymmetries in children's intent‐based judgments. First, all age groups showed greater sensitivity to mental state information for moral compared to conventional transgressions. Second, children's (but not adults’) normative judgments were more sensitive to the agent's intention than to her belief. Two subsequent studies investigated this asymmetry in children more closely and found evidence that it is based on performance factors: children are able in principle to take into account an agent's false belief in much the same way as her intentions, yet do not make belief‐based judgments in many existing tasks (like that of Study 1) due to their inferential complexity. Taken together, these findings contribute to a more systematic understanding of the development of intent‐based normative judgment. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 02, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12728   open full text
  • Learning to read in Chinese: Evidence for reciprocal relationships between word reading and oral language skills.
    Charles Hulme, Lulin Zhou, Xiuli Tong, Arne Lervåg, Kelly Burgoyne.
    Developmental Science. October 02, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract This study investigates the longitudinal predictors of the development of Chinese word reading skills and potential bidirectional relationships between Chinese word reading and oral language skills. We examine, in a 2‐year longitudinal study, a wide range of theoretically important predictors (phonological awareness, tone awareness, morphological awareness, visual skills, rapid automatized naming, Pinyin knowledge, and vocabulary knowledge) of reading in 143 primary‐school children living in mainland China. Initial levels of reading were predicted by vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and visual discrimination skills. Only initial reading levels predicted growth in reading. Initial reading also predicted growth in vocabulary knowledge and morphological construction. This pattern demonstrates that the early stages of learning to read in Chinese places demands on semantic (vocabulary) and visual skills in addition to phonological skills. Furthermore, early levels of word reading predict the growth of vocabulary knowledge and morphological awareness suggesting that the development of these oral language skills is facilitated by learning to read. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 02, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12745   open full text
  • Interindividual differences in neonatal sociality and emotionality predict juvenile social status in rhesus monkeys.
    Lauren J. Wooddell, Elizabeth A. Simpson, Ashley M. Murphy, Amanda M. Dettmer, Annika Paukner.
    Developmental Science. October 02, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract In humans, socioeconomic status (SES) has profound outcomes on socio‐emotional development and health. However, while much is known about the consequences of SES, little research has examined the predictors of SES due to the longitudinal nature of such studies. We sought to explore whether interindividual differences in neonatal sociality, temperament, and early social experiences predicted juvenile social status in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), as a proxy for SES in humans. We performed neonatal imitation tests in infants’ first week of life and emotional reactivity assessments at 2 and 4 weeks of age. We examined whether these traits, as well as the rearing environment in the first 8 months of life (with the mother or with same‐aged peers only) and maternal social status predicted juvenile (2–3 years old) social status following the formation of peer social groups at 8 months. We found that infants who exhibited higher rates of neonatal imitation and newborn emotional reactivity achieved higher social status as juveniles, as did infants who were reared with their mothers, compared to infants reared with peers. Maternal social status was only associated with juvenile status for infant dyads reared in the same maternal group, indicating that relative social relationships were transferred through social experience. These results suggest that neonatal imitation and emotional reactivity may reflect ingrained predispositions toward sociality that predict later outcomes, and that nonnormative social experiences can alter socio‐developmental trajectories. Our results indicate that neonatal characteristics and early social experiences predict later social outcomes in adolescence, including gradients of social stratification. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    October 02, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12749   open full text
  • Remapping the cognitive and neural profiles of children who struggle at school.
    Duncan E. Astle, Joe Bathelt, The CALM Team, Joni Holmes.
    Developmental Science. September 30, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Our understanding of learning difficulties largely comes from children with specific diagnoses or individuals selected from community/clinical samples according to strict inclusion criteria. Applying strict exclusionary criteria overemphasizes within group homogeneity and between group differences, and fails to capture comorbidity. Here, we identify cognitive profiles in a large heterogeneous sample of struggling learners, using unsupervised machine learning in the form of an artificial neural network. Children were referred to the Centre for Attention Learning and Memory (CALM) by health and education professionals, irrespective of diagnosis or comorbidity, for problems in attention, memory, language, or poor school progress (n = 530). Children completed a battery of cognitive and learning assessments, underwent a structural MRI scan, and their parents completed behavior questionnaires. Within the network we could identify four groups of children: (a) children with broad cognitive difficulties, and severe reading, spelling and maths problems; (b) children with age‐typical cognitive abilities and learning profiles; (c) children with working memory problems; and (d) children with phonological difficulties. Despite their contrasting cognitive profiles, the learning profiles for the latter two groups did not differ: both were around 1 SD below age‐expected levels on all learning measures. Importantly a child's cognitive profile was not predicted by diagnosis or referral reason. We also constructed whole‐brain structural connectomes for children from these four groupings (n = 184), alongside an additional group of typically developing children (n = 36), and identified distinct patterns of brain organization for each group. This study represents a novel move toward identifying data‐driven neurocognitive dimensions underlying learning‐related difficulties in a representative sample of poor learners. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 30, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12747   open full text
  • Children's scale errors: A by‐product of lexical development?
    Beata J. Grzyb, Angelo Cangelosi, Allegra Cattani, Caroline Floccia.
    Developmental Science. September 27, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Scale errors occur when young children seriously attempt to perform an action on an object which is impossible due to its size. Children vary substantially in the incidence of scale errors with many factors potentially contributing to these differences, such as age and the type of scale errors. In particular, the evidence for an inverted U‐shaped curve of scale errors involving the child's body (i.e., body scale errors), which would point to a developmental stage, is mixed. Here we re‐examine how body scale errors vary with age and explore the possibility that these errors would be related to the size and properties of children's lexicon. A large sample of children aged 18–30 months (N = 125) was tested in a scale error elicitation situation. Additionally, parental questionnaires were collected to assess children's receptive and expressive lexicon. Our key findings are that scale errors linearly decrease with age in childhood, and are more likely to be found in early talkers rather than in less advanced ones. This suggests that scale errors do not correspond to a developmental stage, and that one determinant of these errors is the speed of development of the linguistic and conceptual system, as a potential explanation for the individual variability in prevalence. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 27, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12741   open full text
  • The reciprocal relation between sleep and memory in infancy: Memory‐dependent adjustment of sleep spindles and spindle‐dependent improvement of memories.
    Manuela Friedrich, Matthias Mölle, Angela D. Friederici, Jan Born.
    Developmental Science. September 27, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Sleep spindle activity in infants supports their formation of generalized memories during sleep, indicating that specific sleep processes affect the consolidation of memories early in life. Characteristics of sleep spindles depend on the infant's developmental state and are known to be associated with trait‐like factors such as intelligence. It is, however, largely unknown which state‐like factors affect sleep spindles in infancy. By varying infants’ wake experience in a within‐subject design, here we provide evidence for a learning‐ and memory‐dependent modulation of infant spindle activity. In a lexical‐semantic learning session before a nap, 14‐ to 16‐month‐old infants were exposed to unknown words as labels for exemplars of unknown object categories. In a memory test on the next day, generalization to novel category exemplars was tested. In a nonlearning control session preceding a nap on another day, the same infants heard known words as labels for exemplars of already known categories. Central–parietal fast sleep spindles increased after the encoding of unknown object–word pairings compared to known pairings, evidencing that an infant's spindle activity varies depending on its prior knowledge for newly encoded information. Correlations suggest that enhanced spindle activity was particularly triggered, when similar unknown pairings were not generalized immediately during encoding. The spindle increase triggered by previously not generalized object–word pairings, moreover, boosted the formation of generalized memories for these pairings. Overall, the results provide first evidence for a fine‐tuned regulation of infant sleep quality according to current consolidation requirements, which improves the infant long‐term memory for new experiences. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 27, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12743   open full text
  • Laterality of the frontal aslant tract (FAT) explains externalizing behaviors through its association with executive function.
    Dea Garic, Iris Broce, Paulo Graziano, Aaron Mattfeld, Anthony Steven Dick.
    Developmental Science. September 27, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract We investigated the development of a recently identified white matter pathway, the frontal aslant tract (FAT) and its association with executive function and externalizing behaviors in a sample of 129 neurotypical male and female human children ranging in age from 7 months to 19 years. We found that the FAT could be tracked in 92% of those children, and that the pathway showed age‐related differences into adulthood. The change in white matter microstructure was very rapid until about 6 years, and then plateaued, only to show age‐related increases again after the age of 11 years. In a subset of those children (5–18 years; n = 70), left laterality of the microstructural properties of the FAT was associated with greater attention problems as measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). However, this relationship was fully mediated by higher executive dysfunction as measured by the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). This relationship was specific to the FAT—we found no relationship between laterality of a control pathway, or of the white matter of the brain in general, and attention and executive function. These findings suggest that the degree to which the developing brain favors a right lateralized structural dominance of the FAT is directly associated with executive function and attention. This novel finding provides a new potential structural biomarker to assess attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and associated executive dysfunction during development. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 27, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12744   open full text
  • Infant sustained attention but not joint attention to objects at 9 months predicts vocabulary at 12 and 15 months.
    Chen Yu, Sumarga H. Suanda, Linda B. Smith.
    Developmental Science. September 26, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Vocabulary differences early in development are highly predictive of later language learning as well as achievement in school. Early word learning emerges in the context of tightly coupled social interactions between the early learner and a mature partner. In the present study, we develop and apply a novel paradigm—dual head‐mounted eye tracking—to record momentary gaze data from both parents and infants during free‐flowing toy‐play contexts. With fine‐grained sequential patterns extracted from continuous gaze streams, we objectively measure both joint attention and sustained attention as parents and 9‐month‐old infants played with objects and as parents named objects during play. We show that both joint attention and infant sustained attention predicted vocabulary sizes at 12 and 15 months, but infant sustained attention in the context of joint attention, not joint attention itself, is the stronger unique predictor of later vocabulary size. Joint attention may predict word learning because joint attention supports infant attention to the named object. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 26, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12735   open full text
  • Selective attention, filtering, and the development of working memory.
    Daniel J Plebanek, Vladimir M Sloutsky.
    Developmental Science. September 24, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Selective attention is fundamental for learning across many situations, yet it exhibits protracted development, with young children often failing to filter out distractors. In this research, we examine links between selective attention and working memory (WM) capacity across development. One possibility is that WM is resource‐limited, with development resulting in an increase in the amount of resources available for processing information. However, it is also possible that development results in greater efficiency of using available resources. In the current research, we explore the latter possibility by examining the developmental trajectory of selectivity and filtering in relation to WM capacity. We report that filtering efficiency of adults (N = 30), 7‐year‐olds (N = 29), and 4‐year‐olds (N = 28) was uniquely predictive of WM capacity. We also report that filtering efficiency continues to develop after 7 years of age, whereas WM capacity may reach an asymptote around 7 years of age. The latter finding suggests that selective attention plays a critical role in developmental and individual differences in visual working memory capacity. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 24, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12727   open full text
  • Children's biobehavioral reactivity to challenge predicts DNA methylation in adolescence and emerging adulthood.
    Sarah J. Goodman, Danielle S. Roubinov, Nicole R. Bush, Mina Park, Pau Farré, Eldon Emberly, Clyde Hertzman, Marilyn J. Essex, Michael S. Kobor, W. Thomas Boyce.
    Developmental Science. September 21, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract A growing body of research has documented associations between adverse childhood environments and DNA methylation, highlighting epigenetic processes as potential mechanisms through which early external contexts influence health across the life course. The present study tested a complementary hypothesis: indicators of children's early internal, biological, and behavioral responses to stressful challenges may also be linked to stable patterns of DNA methylation later in life. Children's autonomic nervous system reactivity, temperament, and mental health symptoms were prospectively assessed from infancy through early childhood, and principal components analysis (PCA) was applied to derive composites of biological and behavioral reactivity. Buccal epithelial cells were collected from participants at 15 and 18 years of age. Findings revealed an association between early life biobehavioral inhibition/disinhibition and DNA methylation across many genes. Notably, reactive, inhibited children were found to have decreased DNA methylation of the DLX5 and IGF2 genes at both time points, as compared to non‐reactive, disinhibited children. Results of the present study are provisional but suggest that the gene's profile of DNA methylation may constitute a biomarker of normative or potentially pathological differences in reactivity. Overall, findings provide a foundation for future research to explore relations among epigenetic processes and differences in both individual‐level biobehavioral risk and qualities of the early, external childhood environment. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 21, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12739   open full text
  • Eliciting imitation in early infancy.
    Andrew N. Meltzoff, Lynne Murray, Elizabeth Simpson, Mikael Heimann, Emese Nagy, Jacqueline Nadel, Eric J. Pedersen, Rechele Brooks, Daniel S. Messinger, Leonardo De Pascalis, Francys Subiaul, Annika Paukner, Pier F. Ferrari.
    Developmental Science. September 19, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12738   open full text
  • Behaviors speak louder than explicit reports: Implicit metacognition in 2.5‐year‐old children.
    Marie Geurten, Christine Bastin.
    Developmental Science. September 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Recent research has shown that children as young as age 3.5 show behavioral responses to uncertainty although they are not able to report it explicitly. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that some form of metacognition is already available to guide children's decisions before the age of 3. Two groups of 2.5‐ and 3.5‐year‐old children were asked to complete a forced‐choice perceptual identification test and to explicitly rate their confidence in each decision. Moreover, participants had the opportunity to ask for a cue to help them decide if their response was correct. Our results revealed that all children asked for a cue more often after an incorrect response than after a correct response in the forced‐choice identification test, indicating a good ability to implicitly introspect on the results of their cognitive operations. On the contrary, none of these children displayed metacognitive sensitivity when making explicit confidence judgments, consistent with previous evidence of later development of explicit metacognition. Critically, our findings suggest that implicit metacognition exists much earlier than typically assumed, as early as 2.5 years of age. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12742   open full text
  • A little labeling goes a long way: Semi‐supervised learning in infancy.
    Alexander LaTourrette, Sandra R. Waxman.
    Developmental Science. September 18, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract There is considerable evidence that labeling supports infants' object categorization. Yet in daily life, most of the category exemplars that infants encounter will remain unlabeled. Inspired by recent evidence from machine learning, we propose that infants successfully exploit this sparsely labeled input through “semi‐supervised learning.” Providing only a few labeled exemplars leads infants to initiate the process of categorization, after which they can integrate all subsequent exemplars, labeled or unlabeled, into their evolving category representations. Using a classic novelty preference task, we introduced 2‐year‐old infants (n = 96) to a novel object category, varying whether and when its exemplars were labeled. Infants were equally successful whether all exemplars were labeled (fully supervised condition) or only the first two exemplars were labeled (semi‐supervised condition), but they failed when no exemplars were labeled (unsupervised condition). Furthermore, the timing of the labeling mattered: when the labeled exemplars were provided at the end, rather than the beginning, of familiarization (reversed semi‐supervised condition), infants failed to learn the category. This provides the first evidence of semi‐supervised learning in infancy, revealing that infants excel at learning from exactly the kind of input that they typically receive in acquiring real‐world categories and their names. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 18, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12736   open full text
  • Dissociable spatial memory systems revealed by typical and atypical human development.
    Joshua B. Julian, Frederik S. Kamps, Russell A. Epstein, Daniel D. Dilks.
    Developmental Science. September 18, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Rodent lesion studies have revealed the existence of two causally dissociable spatial memory systems, localized to the hippocampus and striatum that are preferentially sensitive to environmental boundaries and landmark objects, respectively. Here we test whether these two memory systems are causally dissociable in humans by examining boundary‐ and landmark‐based memory in typical and atypical development. Adults with Williams syndrome (WS)—a developmental disorder with known hippocampal abnormalities—and typical children and adults, performed a navigation task that involved learning locations relative to a boundary or a landmark object. We found that boundary‐based memory was severely impaired in WS compared to typically‐developing mental‐age matched (MA) children and chronological‐age matched (CA) adults, whereas landmark‐based memory was similar in all groups. Furthermore, landmark‐based memory matured earlier in typical development than boundary‐based memory, consistent with the idea that the WS cognitive phenotype arises from developmental arrest of late maturing cognitive systems. Together, these findings provide causal and developmental evidence for dissociable spatial memory systems in humans. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 18, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12737   open full text
  • Longitudinal relationships between speech perception, phonological skills and reading in children at high‐risk of dyslexia.
    Margaret J Snowling, Arne Lervåg, Hannah M Nash, Charles Hulme.
    Developmental Science. September 12, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Speech perception deficits are commonly reported in dyslexia but longitudinal evidence that poor speech perception compromises learning to read is scant. We assessed the hypothesis that phonological skills, specifically phoneme awareness and RAN, mediate the relationship between speech perception and reading. We assessed longitudinal predictive relationships between categorical speech perception, phoneme awareness, RAN, language, attention and reading at ages 5½ and 6½ years in 237 children many of whom were at high risk of reading difficulties. Speech perception at 5½ years correlated with language, attention, phoneme awareness and RAN concurrently and was a predictor of reading at 6½ years. There was no significant indirect effect of speech perception on reading via phoneme awareness, suggesting that its effects are separable from those of phoneme awareness. Children classified with dyslexia at 8 years had poorer speech perception than age‐controls at 5½ years and children with language disorders (with or without dyslexia) had more severe difficulties with both speech perception and attention control. Categorical speech perception tasks tap factors extraneous to perception, including decision‐making skills. Further longitudinal studies are needed to unravel the complex relationships between categorical speech perception tasks and measures of reading and language and attention. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 12, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12723   open full text
  • The development of children's preferences for equality and equity across 13 individualistic and collectivist cultures.
    Elizabeth Huppert, Jason M. Cowell, Yawei Cheng, Carlos Contreras‐Ibáñez, Natalia Gomez‐Sicard, Luz Maria Gonzalez‐Gaeda, David Huepe, Agustin Ibanez, Kang Lee, Randa Mahasneh, Susan Malcolm‐Smith, Natalia Salas, Bilge Selcuk, Bertil Tungodden, Alina Wong, Xinyue Zhou, Jean Decety.
    Developmental Science. September 12, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract A concern for fairness is a fundamental and universal element of morality. To examine the extent to which cultural norms are integrated into fairness cognitions and influence social preferences regarding equality and equity, a large sample of children (N 2,163) aged 4–11 were tested in 13 diverse countries. Children participated in three versions of a third‐party, contextualized distributive justice game between two hypothetical recipients differing in terms of wealth, merit, and empathy. Social decision‐making in these games revealed universal age‐related shifts from equality‐based to equity‐based distribution motivations across cultures. However, differences in levels of individualism and collectivism between the 13 countries predicted the age and extent to which children favor equity in each condition. Children from the most individualistic cultures endorsed equitable distributions to a greater degree than children from more collectivist cultures when recipients differed in regards to wealth and merit. However, in an empathy context where recipients differed in injury, children from the most collectivist cultures exhibited greater preferences to distribute resource equitably compared to children from more individualistic cultures. Children from the more individualistic cultures also favored equitable distributions at an earlier age than children from more collectivist cultures overall. These results demonstrate aspects of both cross‐cultural similarity and divergence in the development of fairness preferences. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 12, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12729   open full text
  • Body mass index, peer victimization, and body dissatisfaction across 7 years of childhood and adolescence: Evidence of moderated and mediated pathways.
    Kirsty S. Lee, Tracy Vaillancourt.
    Developmental Science. September 11, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Numerous studies have reported that children and adolescents who are overweight are more likely to get bullied, yet the literature is replete with methodological limitations. We examined the transactional associations between peer victimization and body mass index (BMI), considering potential mediating (body dissatisfaction) and moderating (biological sex) factors. Participants (n = 631) came from the McMaster Teen Study, where students were assessed annually between Grades 5–11, approximately half were girls (53.9%), and the majority were white (76.4%). Peer victimization (from Grade 5) and body dissatisfaction (from Grade 6) were self‐reported by students, while parents reported their child's height and weight (from Grade 5). Cascade models were built up sequentially using path analysis across 2‐year increments (Grades 5, 7, 9, and 11). The final model had excellent fit to the data (χ2 = 73.961, df = 66, p = 0.234). Grade 5 peer victimization had a direct effect on BMI across a 2‐year period in girls (b = 0.59, SE = 0.21, p = 0.005) and boys (b = 0.82, SE = 0.30, p = 0.006), and an indirect effect on BMI via body dissatisfaction across a 4‐year period (b = 0.074, 95% CI = 0.012–0.152, p = 0.036). At no point did BMI directly increase risk for peer victimization, yet there were indirect effects via body dissatisfaction among girls but not boys. Peer victimization and body dissatisfaction were proximally and longitudinally related at every time point and there was a transactional association in late‐adolescence among girls but not boys. Targeting modifiable factors in the social (peer victimization) and psychological (body dissatisfaction) domains may limit accelerated weight gain and the health risks associated with excess adiposity. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 11, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12734   open full text
  • Developmental changes of sleep spindles and their impact on sleep‐dependent memory consolidation and general cognitive abilities: A longitudinal approach.
    Michael Hahn, Ann‐Kathrin Joechner, Judith Roell, Manuel Schabus, Dominik PJ Heib, Georg Gruber, Philippe Peigneux, Kerstin Hoedlmoser.
    Developmental Science. September 05, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Sleep spindles are related to sleep‐dependent memory consolidation and general cognitive abilities. However, they undergo drastic maturational changes during adolescence. Here we used a longitudinal approach (across 7 years) to explore whether developmental changes in sleep spindle density can explain individual differences in sleep‐dependent memory consolidation and general cognitive abilities. Ambulatory polysomnography was recorded during four nights in 34 healthy subjects (24 female) with two nights (baseline and experimental) at initial recording (age range 8–11 years) and two nights at follow‐up recording (age range 14–18 years). For declarative learning, participants encoded word pairs with a subsequent recall before and after sleep. General cognitive abilities were measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. Higher slow (11–13 Hz) than fast (13–15 Hz) spindle density at frontal, central, and parietal sites during initial recordings, followed by a shift to higher fast than slow spindle density at central and parietal sites during follow‐up recordings, suggest that mature spindle topography develops throughout adolescence. Fast spindle density increases from baseline to experimental night were positively related to sleep‐dependent memory consolidation. In addition, we found that the development of fast spindles predicted the improvement in memory consolidation across the two longitudinal measurements, a finding that underlines a crucial role for mature fast spindles for sleep‐dependent memory consolidation. Furthermore, slow spindle changes across adolescence were related to general cognitive abilities, a relationship that could indicate the maturation of frontal networks relevant for efficient cognitive processing. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 05, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12706   open full text
  • Withstanding the test of time: Multisensory cues improve the delayed retention of incidental learning.
    Hannah J. Broadbent, Tamsin Osborne, Denis Mareschal, Natasha Z. Kirkham.
    Developmental Science. September 05, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Multisensory tools are commonly employed within educational settings (e.g. Carter & Stephenson, ), and there is a growing body of literature advocating the benefits of presenting children with multisensory information over unisensory cues for learning (Baker & Jordan, ; Jordan & Baker, ). This is even the case when the informative cues are only arbitrarily related (Broadbent, White, Mareschal, & Kirkham, ). However, the delayed retention of learning following exposure to multisensory compared to unisensory cues has not been evaluated, and has important implications for the utility of multisensory educational tools. This study examined the retention of incidental categorical learning in 5‐, 7‐ and 9‐year‐olds (N = 181) using either unisensory or multisensory cues. Results found significantly greater retention of learning following multisensory cue exposure than with unisensory information when category knowledge was tested following a 24‐hour period of delay. No age‐related changes were found, suggesting that multisensory information can facilitate the retention of learning across this age range. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 05, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12726   open full text
  • Gender equality in 4‐ to 5‐year‐old preschoolers’ early numerical competencies.
    Merel Bakker, Joke Torbeyns, Nore Wijns, Lieven Verschaffel, Bert De Smedt.
    Developmental Science. September 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Numerical competencies acquired in preschool are foundational and predictive for children's later mathematical development. It remains to be determined whether there are gender differences in these early numerical competencies which could explain the often‐reported gender differences in later mathematics and STEM‐related abilities. Using a Bayesian approach, we quantified the evidence in favor of the alternative hypothesis of gender differences versus the null hypothesis of gender equality. Participants were 402 4‐ to 5‐year‐old children attending preschool in Flanders (Belgium). Children were selected via stratified cluster sampling to represent the full range of socioeconomic backgrounds. All children completed eight numerical tasks (verbal counting, object counting, numeral recognition, symbolic comparison, nonsymbolic comparison, nonverbal calculation, number order, dot enumeration). Results supported the gender equality hypothesis, and this evidence was substantial for seven of the eight numerical tasks. Preschoolers’ early numerical competencies are characterized by gender equality. They probably do not explain later‐reported gender differences. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    September 03, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12718   open full text
  • An intervention that increases parental sensitivity in families referred to Child Protective Services also changes toddlers’ parasympathetic regulation.
    Paul D Hastings, Sarah Kahle, Charles Fleming, Mary Jane Lohr, Lynn Fainsilber Katz, Monica L Oxford.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Experiencing maltreatment in early childhood predicts poor parasympathetic regulation, characterized by low baseline parasympathetic activity and strong withdrawal of parasympathetic influence in response to tasks. The Promoting First Relationships® (PFR) program improves parental sensitivity toward young children in families identified as maltreating. Using a subsample from a randomized control trial, we examined whether parental participation in PFR had lasting effects on toddlers’ parasympathetic regulation, as measured by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), relative to a resource and referral control condition. In addition, we examined whether parental sensitive and responsive behavior mediated or moderated associations between parent treatment group and children's RSA. More than 6 months after completing treatment, 29 families in the PFR condition and 30 families in the control condition were visited at home, and toddlers’ RSA was assessed at baseline and during five moderately challenging tasks. Groups did not differ in baseline RSA, but differed in RSA reactivity to the tasks. Across tasks, toddlers of parents in the control condition manifested significantly larger RSA decreases than toddlers of parents in the PFR condition. Parental behavior showed divergent associations with RSA change for toddlers of parents in the PFR versus control condition, with PFR treatment predicting RSA change ranging from small decreases to increases in toddlers of parents who showed the most sensitive, responsive behavior in the 6 months following treatment. This preliminary study showed that the same intervention that improved parenting also improved toddlers’ parasympathetic regulation in response to everyday activities, warranting further experimental investigation. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12725   open full text
  • The ontogeny of intentional communication in chimpanzees in the wild.
    Marlen Fröhlich, Roman M. Wittig, Simone Pika.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The onset of intentional communication in children's first year of life represents a major milestone in human cognitive development. Similarly, it is well established that our closest living relatives, the great apes, communicate with signals characterized by at least first‐order intentionality. Despite the well‐documented influence of developmental experiences on socio‐cognitive abilities in apes, the developmental trajectory of intentional signal use as well as effects of social exposure remain poorly understood under naturalistic conditions. Here, we addressed these issues by studying the ontogeny of intentional communication in chimpanzee infants of two subspecies (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii/verus) and communities living in their natural environments. Overall, we found that gestures and bimodal signal combinations were most commonly accompanied by markers of intentional communication: audience checking, persistence to the goal, and sensitivity to recipient’s attentional state. Within individuals, the proportion of communicative behaviours associated with goal persistence and sensitivity to attention increased with age. Cross‐sectional comparisons between infants revealed an age effect on the use of audience checking. Context, interaction partner and site affiliation affected the production of specific markers irrespective of infants' age. The present study provided hitherto undocumented evidence for the development of three important markers of intentional communication in great apes. Moreover, our results suggest that social exposure impacts early intentional signal use. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12716   open full text
  • School climate is associated with cortical thickness and executive function in children and adolescents.
    Luciane R Piccolo, Emily C Merz, Kimberly G Noble, for the Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics Study.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract A positive school climate has been found to support mental and physical health, academic achievement and social adjustment among youth. However, links between school climate and brain structure have not been investigated to date. In this study, we investigated whether school climate was associated with executive function (EF) and brain structure (cortical thickness and surface area) in children and adolescents. We further examined whether these links varied as a function of socioeconomic background. Participants who ranged from 9 to 18 years of age (N = 108) completed EF tasks and a high‐resolution, 3‐Tesla, T1‐weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Overall school climate, academic support, and family socioeconomic background were assessed using questionnaires. Higher academic support was associated with greater EF task performance and increased global cortical thickness. Additionally, academic support moderated the association between family income and EF, such that children from lower income families performed similarly to their more advantaged peers on EF tasks in the context of positive academic support. This work is the first to link school climate to brain structure and contributes to the growing body of evidence suggesting that academic support may be an important protective factor in the context of socioeconomic disadvantage. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12719   open full text
  • Sex differences in ADHD trajectories across childhood and adolescence.
    Aja Louise Murray, Tom Booth, Manuel Eisner, Bonnie Auyeung, George Murray, Denis Ribeaud.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Previous studies have hinted at sex differences in developmental trajectories in ADHD symptoms; however, little is known about the nature or cause of these differences and their implications for clinical practice. We used growth mixture modelling in a community‐ascertained cohort of n = 1,571 participants to study sex differences in ADHD symptom developmental trajectories across the elementary and secondary school years. Participants were measured at ages 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15. We found that females were more likely to show large symptom increases in early adolescence while males were more likely to show elevated symptoms from childhood. For both males and females, early adolescence represented a period of vulnerability characterized by relatively sudden symptom increases. Females affected by hyperactivity/impulsivity may be more likely to be excluded from diagnosis due to current age of onset criteria. More attention should be paid to early adolescence as a period of risk for hyperactivity/impulsivity symptom onset or worsening. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12721   open full text
  • Back Cover: Cover Image, Volume 21, Issue 5.
    Joe Bathelt, Susan E Gathercole, Sally Butterfield, the CALM team.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12733   open full text
  • Inside Back Cover: Cover Image, Volume 21, Issue 5.
    Mengmeng Su, Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Jingjing Zhao, Shuang Song, Wei Zhou, Gaolang Gong, Catherine McBride, Franck Ramus, Hua Shu.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12732   open full text
  • Inside Front Cover: Cover Image, Volume 21, Issue 5.
    Francesca Foti, Deny Menghini, Paolo Alfieri, Floriana Costanzo, Laura Mandolesi, Laura Petrosini, Stefano Vicari.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12731   open full text
  • Front Cover: Cover Image, Volume 21, Issue 5.
    Katie Davis, Amy E. Margolis, Lauren Thomas, Zhiyong Huo, Rachel Marsh.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12730   open full text
  • Issue Information.

    Developmental Science. August 29, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    August 29, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12620   open full text
  • Re‐evaluating the neonatal imitation hypothesis.
    Janine Oostenbroek, Jonathan Redshaw, Jacqueline Davis, Siobhan Kennedy‐Costantini, Mark Nielsen, Virginia Slaughter, Thomas Suddendorf.
    Developmental Science. August 20, 2018
    --- - - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 20, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12720   open full text
  • Is there a direct relation between the development of vocabulary and grammar?
    Ellen Irén Brinchmann, Johan Braeken, Solveig‐Alma Halaas Lyster.
    Developmental Science. August 20, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Previous studies of individual differences have revealed strong correlations between children's vocabulary and grammatical abilities, and these data have been used to support theoretical accounts positing direct developmental relations between these two areas of language. However, between‐person differences do not necessarily reflect intra‐individual dynamics. Thus, in the present study, we analysed longitudinal data from three annual assessments of vocabulary and grammar in 217 children (Mage = 4 years and 3 months at first assessment) using a modelling strategy with some utility in distinguishing relations at the between‐ and within‐person levels. The results revealed strong correlations between grammar and vocabulary at the between‐person level, but the evidence of direct dependencies between the variables at the within‐person level was rather limited. Specifically, we found a small direct contribution from grammar to vocabulary for children between the ages of 4 and 5, but there was no evidence of any direct contributions from vocabulary to grammar. Further analyses suggested that the home literacy environment may represent a common source of individual differences in children's vocabulary and grammatical skills. In light of these results, we argue that the evidence of direct relations between vocabulary and grammatical development in preschool‐aged children may not be as strong as previously assumed. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 20, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12709   open full text
  • The old, the new, and the in‐between: Preadolescents’ use of stylistic variation in speech in projecting their own identity in a culturally changing environment.
    Ewa Jacewicz, Robert A. Fox.
    Developmental Science. August 20, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Cultural learning begins early, with infants’ and young children's initial imitations of group‐specific local behaviors. Comparatively little is known about cultural development in older children, whose more advanced socio‐cognitive skills can moderate their decisions about adherence to the established cultural conventions and acceptance of new norms. Focusing on the acquisition of a regional dialect, the current study was conducted in a small community in western North Carolina, whose rich Appalachian heritage grew from distinctive cultural and living traditions. The region has gradually opened up to outside influences and the local culture is now shifting toward mainstream American socio‐cultural norms. The study sought to determine how preadolescents positioned themselves in this socio‐culturally changing environment. Using detailed acoustic analysis to measure stylistic variation in speech in 9–12‐year‐olds and perceptual ratings to verify its salience, we examined the pronunciation of the vowel /ai/ to test children's adherence to the old Appalachian identity marker (the monophthong) and their acceptance of the modern American society (the diphthong). As an innovation, children created an intermediate phonetic variant that reduced the pronunciation differences between the old and modern patterns. Demonstrating the ability to adapt speech style to context, they increased the degree of diphthongization in this /ai/‐variant in careful speech (reading), and reduced it in casual conversations. Girls’ productions were more diphthongal than were boys’ in reading but not in conversations. The new variant in children represents regional dialect levelling, and likely results from their accommodation to the changing environment, which promotes reduction of old marked forms. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 20, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12722   open full text
  • Accounting for the shared environment in cognitive abilities and academic achievement with measured socioecological contexts.
    Laura E. Engelhardt, Jessica A. Church, K. Paige Harden, Elliot M. Tucker‐Drob.
    Developmental Science. August 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Behavioral and molecular genetic research has established that child cognitive ability and academic performance are substantially heritable, but genetic variation does not account for all of the stratification of cognitive and academic outcomes across families. Which specific contexts and experiences contribute to these shared environmental influences on cognitive ability and academic achievement? Using an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of N = 1728 twins ages 7–20 from the Texas Twin Project, we identified specific measured family, school, and neighborhood socioecological contexts that statistically accounted for latent shared environmental variance in cognitive abilities and academic skills. Composite measures of parent socioeconomic status (SES), school demographic composition, and neighborhood SES accounted for moderate proportions of variation in IQ and achievement. Total variance explained by the multilevel contexts ranged from 15% to 22%. The influence of family SES on IQ and achievement overlapped substantially with the influence of school and neighborhood predictors. Together with race, the measured socioecological contexts explained 100% of shared environmental influences on IQ and approximately 79% of shared environmental influences on both verbal comprehension and reading ability. In contrast, nontrivial proportions of shared environmental variation in math performance were left unexplained. We highlight the potential utility of constructing “polyenvironmental risk scores” in an effort to better predict developmental outcomes and to quantify children's and adolescents’ interrelated networks of experiences. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/77E_DctFsr0 - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12699   open full text
  • Developmental patterns of change in the influence of safe and risky peer choices on risky decision‐making.
    Barbara R. Braams, Juliet Y. Davidow, Leah H. Somerville.
    Developmental Science. August 14, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Adolescents take more risks when peers monitor their behavior. However, it is largely unknown how different types of peer influence affect adolescent decision‐making. In this study, we investigate how information about previous choices of peers differentially influences decision‐making in adolescence and young adulthood. Participants (N = 99, age range 12–22) completed an economic choice task in which choice options were systematically varied on levels of risk and ambiguity. On each trial, participants selected between a safer choice (low variability in outcome) and a riskier choice (high variability in outcome). Participants made choices in three conditions: a solo condition in which they made choices with no additional information, a social condition in which they saw choices of supposed peers, and a computer condition in which they saw choices of a computer. Results showed that participants’ choices conform to the choices made by the peers, but not a computer. Furthermore, when peers chose the safe option, late adolescents were especially likely to make a safe choice. Conversely, when the peer made a risky choice, late adolescents were least likely to follow choices made by the peer. We did not find evidence for differential influence of social information on decisions depending on their level of risk and ambiguity. These results show that information about previous decisions of peers are a powerful modifier for behavior and that the effect of peers on adolescents’ decisions is less ubiquitous and more specific than previously assumed. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 14, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12717   open full text
  • Day by day, hour by hour: Naturalistic language input to infants.
    Elika Bergelson, Andrei Amatuni, Shannon Dailey, Sharath Koorathota, Shaelise Tor.
    Developmental Science. August 10, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Measurements of infants’ quotidian experiences provide critical information about early development. However, the role of sampling methods in providing these measurements is rarely examined. Here we directly compare language input from hour‐long video‐recordings and daylong audio‐recordings within the same group of 44 infants at 6 and 7 months. We compared 12 measures of language quantity and lexical diversity, talker variability, utterance‐type, and object presence, finding moderate correlations across recording‐types. However, video‐recordings generally featured far denser noun input across these measures compared to the daylong audio‐recordings, more akin to ‘peak’ audio hours (though not as high in talkers and word‐types). Although audio‐recordings captured ~10 times more awake‐time than videos, the noun input in them was only 2–4 times greater. Notably, whether we compared videos to daylong audio‐recordings or peak audio times, videos featured relatively fewer declaratives and more questions; furthermore, the most common video‐recorded nouns were less consistent across families than the top audio‐recording nouns were. Thus, hour‐long videos and daylong audio‐recordings revealed fairly divergent pictures of the language infants hear and learn from in their daily lives. We suggest that short video‐recordings provide a dense and somewhat different sample of infants’ language experiences, rather than a typical one, and should be used cautiously for extrapolation about common words, talkers, utterance‐types, and contexts at larger timescales. If theories of language development are to be held accountable to ‘facts on the ground’ from observational data, greater care is needed to unpack the ramifications of sampling methods of early language input. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 10, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12715   open full text
  • Cross‐magnitude interactions across development: Longitudinal evidence for a general magnitude system.
    Stella F Lourenco, Lauren S Aulet.
    Developmental Science. August 08, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract There is general agreement that humans represent numerical, spatial, and temporal magnitudes from early in development. However, there is disagreement about whether different magnitudes converge within a general magnitude system and whether this system supports behavioral demonstrations of cross‐magnitude interactions at different developmental time points. Using a longitudinal design, we found a relation between children's cross‐magnitude interactions assessed at two developmental time points with different behavioral measures. More specifically, stronger cross‐magnitude interactions in infancy (M = 9.3 months) predicted a stronger cross‐magnitude congruity effect at preschool age (M = 44.2 months), even when controlling for performance on measures of inhibitory control, analogical reasoning, and verbal competence at preschool age. The results suggest a common mechanism for cross‐magnitude interactions at different points in development as well as stability of the underlying individual differences. We argue that this mechanism reflects a nonverbal general magnitude system that is operational early in life and that displays continuity from infancy to preschool age. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    August 08, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12707   open full text
  • Explaining early moral hypocrisy: Numerical cognition promotes equal sharing behavior in preschool‐aged children.
    Nadia Chernyak, Paul L. Harris, Sara Cordes.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Recent work has documented that despite preschool‐aged children's understanding of social norms surrounding sharing, they fail to share their resources equally in many contexts. Here we explored two hypotheses for this failure: an insufficient motivation hypothesis and an insufficient cognitive resources hypothesis. With respect to the latter, we specifically explored whether children's numerical cognition—their understanding of the cardinal principle—might underpin their abilities to share equally. In Experiment 1, preschoolers’ numerical cognition fully mediated age‐related changes in children's fair sharing. We found little support for the insufficient motivation hypothesis—children stated that they had shared fairly, and failures in sharing fairly were a reflection of their number knowledge. Numerical cognition did not relate to children's knowledge of the norms of equality (Experiment 2). Results suggest that the knowledge–behavior gap in fairness may be partly explained by the differences in cognitive skills required for conceptual and behavioral equality. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    July 30, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12695   open full text
  • Semantic detail in the developing verb lexicon: An extension of Naigles and Kako (1993).
    Sudha Arunachalam, Shaun Dennis.
    Developmental Science. July 24, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Verbs are often uttered before the events they describe. By 2 years of age, toddlers can learn from such an encounter. Hearing a novel verb in transitive sentences (e.g. The boy lorped the cat), even with no visual referent present, they later map it to a causative meaning (e.g. feed) (e.g. Yuan & Fisher, ). How much semantic detail does their verb representation include on this first, underinformative, encounter? Is the representation sparse, including only information for which they have evidence, or do toddlers make more specific guesses about the verb's meaning? In two experiments (N = 76, mean age 27 months), we address this using an event type studied by Naigles and Kako (); they found that when toddlers hear a novel transitive verb while simultaneously viewing a non‐causative referent—a contact event such as patting—they map the verb to the contact event. In Experiment 1 we replicated this basic result. Further, toddlers’ representations persisted over a 5‐minute delay, manifesting again during a retest. In Experiment 2, toddlers heard the verbs while watching two actors converse instead of while seeing contact events. At test, they showed no evidence of mapping the verbs to contact events, either initially or after a 5‐minute delay, despite that in prior work they mapped verbs to causative events under identical circumstances. We infer that on hearing a novel verb in a transitive frame, absent a relevant visual scene, toddlers posit a more specific representation than the evidence requires—one that incorporates causative semantics. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/aRCqSTbr6Bw - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    July 24, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12697   open full text
  • The neural development of pragmatic inference‐making in natural discourse.
    Flora Schwartz, Justine Epinat‐Duclos, Ira Noveck, Jérôme Prado.
    Developmental Science. July 20, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Older interlocutors are more likely than younger ones to make pragmatic inferences, that is, inferences that go beyond the linguistically encoded meaning of a sentence. Here we ask whether pragmatic development is associated with increased activity in brain structures associated with inference‐making or in those associated with Theory of Mind. We employed a reading task that presents vignettes in one of two versions, one of which is expected to prompt more pragmatic processing. Both versions present a major premise containing three possibilities (e.g., Xavier is considering Thursday, Friday or Saturday for inviting his girlfriend out). In the Fully‐Deductive (control) condition, the major premise is followed by two disjunction‐elimination premises through two separate lines (one indicating that Saturday is not convenient and another saying that Thursday is not convenient); this is followed by a valid conclusion (e.g., “I'll reserve Friday”). In the Implicated‐Premise condition, the first disjunction‐elimination premise is followed by a second similar one that eliminates the same disjunction (e.g., both lines explain why Saturday is not convenient). In this condition, readers may pragmatically enrich the conclusion (i.e., “I'll reserve Friday” pragmatically implicates that Xavier is also eliminating Thursday from consideration). Reading times in Experiment 1 showed that processing the speaker's conclusion in the Implicated‐Premise condition becomes increasingly more effort‐demanding as readers reach adolescence. Experiment 2 showed that this developmental pattern is related to age‐related increases in fMRI activity in fronto‐parietal regions typically involved in inference‐making processes. We found no evidence indicating age effects related to Theory of Mind areas. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    July 20, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12678   open full text
  • Language experience influences audiovisual speech integration in unimodal and bimodal bilingual infants.
    Evelyne Mercure, Elena Kushnerenko, Laura Goldberg, Harriet Bowden‐Howl, Kimberley Coulson, Mark H Johnson, Mairéad MacSweeney.
    Developmental Science. July 17, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Infants as young as 2 months can integrate audio and visual aspects of speech articulation. A shift of attention from the eyes towards the mouth of talking faces occurs around 6 months of age in monolingual infants. However, it is unknown whether this pattern of attention during audiovisual speech processing is influenced by speech and language experience in infancy. The present study investigated this question by analysing audiovisual speech processing in three groups of 4‐ to 8‐month‐old infants who differed in their language experience: monolinguals, unimodal bilinguals (infants exposed to two or more spoken languages) and bimodal bilinguals (hearing infants with Deaf mothers). Eye‐tracking was used to study patterns of face scanning while infants were viewing faces articulating syllables with congruent, incongruent and silent auditory tracks. Monolinguals and unimodal bilinguals increased their attention to the mouth of talking faces between 4 and 8 months, while bimodal bilinguals did not show any age difference in their scanning patterns. Moreover, older (6.6 to 8 months), but not younger, monolinguals (4 to 6.5 months) showed increased visual attention to the mouth of faces articulating audiovisually incongruent rather than congruent faces, indicating surprise or novelty. In contrast, no audiovisual congruency effect was found in unimodal or bimodal bilinguals. Results suggest that speech and language experience influences audiovisual integration in infancy. Specifically, reduced or more variable experience of audiovisual speech from the primary caregiver may lead to less sensitivity to the integration of audio and visual cues of speech articulation. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    July 17, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12701   open full text
  • The profile of abstract rule learning in infancy: Meta‐analytic and experimental evidence.
    Hugh Rabagliati, Brock Ferguson, Casey Lew‐Williams.
    Developmental Science. July 17, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Everyone agrees that infants possess general mechanisms for learning about the world, but the existence and operation of more specialized mechanisms is controversial. One mechanism—rule learning—has been proposed as potentially specific to speech, based on findings that 7‐month‐olds can learn abstract repetition rules from spoken syllables (e.g. ABB patterns: wo‐fe‐fe, ga‐tu‐tu…) but not from closely matched stimuli, such as tones. Subsequent work has shown that learning of abstract patterns is not simply specific to speech. However, we still lack a parsimonious explanation to tie together the diverse, messy, and occasionally contradictory findings in that literature. We took two routes to creating a new profile of rule learning: meta‐analysis of 20 prior reports on infants’ learning of abstract repetition rules (including 1,318 infants in 63 experiments total), and an experiment on learning of such rules from a natural, non‐speech communicative signal. These complementary approaches revealed that infants were most likely to learn abstract patterns from meaningful stimuli. We argue that the ability to detect and generalize simple patterns supports learning across domains in infancy but chiefly when the signal is meaningfully relevant to infants’ experience with sounds, objects, language, and people. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    July 17, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12704   open full text
  • Worth the wait: Children trade off delay and reward in self‐ and other‐benefiting decisions.
    Shari Liu, Gorana Gonzalez, Felix Warneken.
    Developmental Science. July 06, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Human prosocial behaviors are supported by early‐emerging psychological processes that detect and fulfill the needs of others. However, little is known about the mechanisms that enable children to deliver benefits to others at costs to the self, which requires weighing other‐regarding and self‐serving preferences. We used an intertemporal choice paradigm to systematically study and compare these behaviors in 5‐year‐old children. Our results show that other‐benefiting and self‐benefiting behavior share a common decision‐making process that integrates delay and reward. Specifically, we found that children sought to minimize delay and maximize reward, and traded off delays against rewards, regardless of whether these rewards were for the children themselves or another child. However, we found that children were more willing to invest their time to benefit themselves than someone else. Together, these findings show that from childhood, other‐ and self‐serving decisions are supported by a general mechanism that flexibly integrates information about the magnitude of rewards, and the opportunity costs of pursuing them. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/r8S0DGe7f8Q - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    July 06, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12702   open full text
  • Contributions of mothers’ and fathers’ parenting to children's self‐regulation: Evidence from an adoption study.
    David J. Bridgett, Jody M. Ganiban, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Daniel S. Shaw, David Reiss, Leslie D. Leve.
    Developmental Science. July 06, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The origins of top‐down self‐regulation are attributed to genetic and socialization factors as evidenced by high heritability estimates from twin studies and the influential role of parenting. However, recent evidence suggests that parenting behavior itself is affected by parents’ own top‐down self‐regulation. Because children's top‐down self‐regulation is influenced by genetic factors and parenting is influenced by top‐down self‐regulation, the effects of parenting on children's top‐down self‐regulation identified in prior studies may partially reflect passive gene–environment correlation. The goal of this study was to examine parenting influences on children's top‐down self‐regulation using a longitudinal, adoption‐at‐birth design, a method of identifying parenting influences that are independent of the role of shared genetic influences on children's characteristics because adoptive parents are genetically unrelated to their adopted child. Participants (N = 361) included adoptive families and biological mothers of adopted children. Adoptive mothers’ and fathers’ harsh/negative parenting were assessed when children were 27 months of age and biological mothers’ top‐down self‐regulation was assessed when children were 54 months of age. Adopted children's top‐down self‐regulation was assessed when they were 54 and 72 months of age. Results, accounting for child gender, biological mother top‐down self‐regulation, and the potential evocative effects of adopted child anger, provide evidence that inherited influences and socialization processes uniquely contribute to children's top‐down self‐regulation. Furthermore, findings demonstrate the importance of both mother's and father's parenting behavior as an influence on young children's top‐down self‐regulation. The implications of these findings for understanding the complex mechanisms that influence children's top‐down self‐regulation are discussed. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    July 06, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12692   open full text
  • Development of brain functional connectivity and its relation to infant sustained attention in the first year of life.
    Wanze Xie, Brittany M. Mallin, John E. Richards.
    Developmental Science. July 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The study of brain functional connectivity is crucial to understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the improved behavioral performance and amplified ERP responses observed during infant sustained attention. Previous investigations on the development of functional brain connectivity during infancy are primarily confined to the use of functional and structural MRI techniques. The current study examined the relation between infant sustained attention and brain functional connectivity and their development during infancy with high‐density EEG recordings. Fifty‐nine infants were tested at 6 (N = 15), 8 (N =14), 10 (N = 17), and 12 (N = 13) months. Infant sustained attention was defined by measuring infant heart rate changes during infants’ looking. Functional connectivity was estimated from the electrodes on the scalp and with reconstructed cortical source activities in brain regions. It was found that infant sustained attention was accompanied by attenuated functional connectivity in the dorsal attention and default mode networks in the alpha band. Graph theory analyses showed that there was an increase in path length and a decrease in clustering coefficient during infant sustained attention. The functional connectivity within the visual, somatosensory, dorsal attention, and ventral attention networks and graph theory measures of path length and clustering coefficient were found to increase with age. These findings suggest that infant sustained attention is accompanied by distinct patterns of brain functional connectivity. The current findings also suggest the rapid development of functional connectivity in brain networks during infancy. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    July 03, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12703   open full text
  • Infants' attention bias to faces as an early marker of social development.
    Mikko J. Peltola, Santeri Yrttiaho, Jukka M. Leppänen.
    Developmental Science. July 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Infants have a strong tendency to look at faces. We examined individual variations in this attentional bias in 7‐month‐old infants by using a face‐distractor competition paradigm and tested in a longitudinal sample whether these variations were associated with outcomes reflecting social behavior at 24 and 48 months of age (i.e., spontaneous helping, emotion understanding, mentalizing, and callous‐unemotional traits; N = 100–138). The results showed a robust and distinct attention bias to faces at 7 months, particularly when faces were displaying a fearful expression. This bias declined between 7 and 24 months and there were no significant correlations in attention dwell times between 7 and 24 months of age. Variations in attention to faces at 7 months were not associated with emotion understanding or mentalizing abilities at 48 months of age, but increased attention to faces at 7 months (regardless of facial expression) was related to more frequent helping responses at 24 months and reduced callous‐unemotional traits at 48 months of age. Thus, while the results fail to associate infants' face bias with later‐emerging emotion understanding and mentalizing capacities, they are consistent with a model whereby increased attention to faces in infancy is linked with the development of affective empathy and responsivity to others' needs. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    July 03, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12687   open full text
  • Developmental changes in automatic rule‐learning mechanisms across early childhood.
    Jutta L Mueller, Angela D Friederici, Claudia Männel.
    Developmental Science. June 27, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Infants’ ability to learn complex linguistic regularities from early on has been revealed by electrophysiological studies indicating that 3‐month‐olds, but not adults, can automatically detect non‐adjacent dependencies between syllables. While different ERP responses in adults and infants suggest that both linguistic rule learning and its link to basic auditory processing undergo developmental changes, systematic investigations of the developmental trajectories are scarce. In the present study, we assessed 2‐ and 4‐year‐olds’ ERP indicators of pitch discrimination and linguistic rule learning in a syllable‐based oddball design. To test for the relation between auditory discrimination and rule learning, ERP responses to pitch changes were used as predictor for potential linguistic rule‐learning effects. Results revealed that 2‐year‐olds, but not 4‐year‐olds, showed ERP markers of rule learning. Although, 2‐year‐olds’ rule learning was not dependent on differences in pitch perception, 4‐year‐old children demonstrated a dependency, such that those children who showed more pronounced responses to pitch changes still showed an effect of rule learning. These results narrow down the developmental decline of the ability for automatic linguistic rule learning to the age between 2 and 4 years, and, moreover, point towards a strong modification of this change by auditory processes. At an age when the ability of automatic linguistic rule learning phases out, rule learning can still be observed in children with enhanced auditory responses. The observed interrelations are plausible causes for age‐of‐acquisition effects and inter‐individual differences in language learning. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    June 27, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12700   open full text
  • Neural representations of the body in 60‐day‐old human infants.
    Andrew N. Meltzoff, Joni N. Saby, Peter J. Marshall.
    Developmental Science. June 25, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The organization of body representations in the adult brain has been well documented. Little is understood about this aspect of brain organization in human infancy. The current study employed electroencephalography (EEG) with 60‐day‐old infants to test the distribution of brain responses to tactile stimulation of three different body parts: hand, foot, and lip. Analyses focused on a prominent positive response occurring at 150–200 ms in the somatosensory evoked potential at central and parietal electrode sites. The results show differential electrophysiological signatures for touch of these three body parts. Stimulation of the left hand was associated with greater positive amplitude over the lateral central region contralateral to the side stimulated. Left foot stimulation was associated with greater positivity over the midline parietal site. Stimulation of the midline of the upper lip was associated with a strong bilateral response over the central region. These findings provide new insights into the neural representation of the body in infancy and shed light on research and theories about the involvement of somatosensory cortex in infant imitation and social perception. - Developmental Science, EarlyView.
    June 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12698   open full text
  • Questioning supports effective transmission of knowledge and increased exploratory learning in pre‐kindergarten children.
    Yue Yu, Asheley R. Landrum, Elizabeth Bonawitz, Patrick Shafto.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract How can education optimize transmission of knowledge while also fostering further learning? Focusing on children at the cusp of formal schooling (N = 180, age = 4.0–6.0 y), we investigate learning after direct instruction by a knowledgeable teacher, after questioning by a knowledgeable teacher, and after questioning by a naïve informant. Consistent with previous findings, instruction by a knowledgeable teacher allows effective information transmission but at the cost of exploration and further learning. Critically, we find a dual benefit for questioning by a knowledgeable teacher: Such pedagogical questioning both effectively transmits knowledge and fosters exploration and further learning, regardless of whether the question was directed to the child or directed to a third party and overheard by the child. These effects are not observed when the same question is asked by a naïve informant. We conclude that a teacher's choice of pedagogical method may differentially influence learning through their choices of how, and how not, to present evidence, with implications for transmission of knowledge and self‐directed discovery. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJXH2b65wL8 - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12696   open full text
  • Mothers’ and fathers’ mind‐mindedness influences physiological emotion regulation of infants across the first year of life.
    Moniek A.J. Zeegers, Wieke Vente, Milica Nikolić, Mirjana Majdandžić, Susan M. Bögels, Cristina Colonnesi.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The main aim of this study was to test whether mothers’ (n = 116) and fathers’ (n = 116) mind‐mindedness predicts infants’ physiological emotion regulation (heart rate variability; HRV) across the first year of life. Three hypotheses were examined: (a) parents’ mind‐mindedness at 4 and 12 months predicts infants’ HRV at 12 months over and above infants’ initial HRV levels at 4 months, (b) mothers’ and fathers’ mind‐mindedness independently predict infant HRV, and (c) the effects of mind‐mindedness on infant HRV (partially) operate via parenting behaviour. Infants’ HRV was assessed during rest and a stranger approach. Mind‐mindedness was assessed by calculating the proportions of appropriate and non‐attuned mind‐related comments during free‐play interactions, and parenting quality was observed at 4 and 12 months in the same interactions. Path analyses showed that mothers’ appropriate mind‐related comments at 4 and 12 months predicted higher baseline HRV at 12 months, whereas mothers’ non‐attuned comments predicted lower baseline HRV at 12 months. Similar, but concurrent, relations were found for fathers’ appropriate and non‐attuned mind‐related comments and infant baseline HRV at 12 months. In addition, fathers’ appropriate mind‐related comments showed an indirect association with infant baseline HRV at 12 months via fathers’ parenting quality. With regard to infant HRV reactivity during the stranger approach, mothers’ appropriate mind‐related comments at 4 months and fathers’ non‐attuned mind‐related comments at 12 months predicted a larger HRV decline during the stranger approach at 12 months. Infants’ HRV at 4 months did not predict parents’ later mind‐mindedness. The results indicate that mothers’ and fathers’ appropriate and non‐attuned mind‐related speech uniquely impacts the development of infants’ physiological emotion regulation. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12689   open full text
  • Monozygotic twin differences in school performance are stable and systematic.
    Sophie Stumm, Robert Plomin.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract School performance is one of the most stable and heritable psychological characteristics. Notwithstanding, monozygotic twins (MZ), who have identical genotypes, differ in school performance. These MZ differences result from non‐shared environments that do not contribute to the similarity within twin pairs. Because to date few non‐shared environmental factors have been reliably associated with MZ differences in school performance, they are thought to be idiosyncratic and due to chance, suggesting that the effect of non‐shared environments on MZ differences are age‐ and trait‐specific. In a sample of 2768 MZ twin pairs, we found first that MZ differences in school performance were moderately stable from age 12 through 16, with differences at the ages 12 and 14 accounting for 20% of the variance in MZ differences at age 16. Second, MZ differences in school performance correlated positively with MZ differences across 16 learning‐related variables, including measures of intelligence, personality and school attitudes, with the twin who scored higher on one also scoring higher on the other measures. Finally, MZ differences in the 16 learning‐related variables accounted for 22% of the variance in MZ differences in school performance at age 16. These findings suggest that, unlike for other psychological domains, non‐shared environmental factors affect school performance in systematic ways that have long‐term and generalist influence. Our findings should motivate the search for non‐shared environmental factors responsible for the stable and systematic effects on children’s differences in school performance. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/0bw2Fl_HGq0 - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12694   open full text
  • Prospective organization of neonatal arm movements: A motor foundation of embodied agency, disrupted in premature birth.
    Jonathan T. Delafield‐Butt, Yvonne Freer, Jon Perkins, David Skulina, Ben Schögler, David N. Lee.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Prospective motor control moves the body into the future, from where one is to where one wants to be. It is a hallmark of intentionality. But its origin in development is uncertain. In this study, we tested whether or not the arm movements of newborn infants were prospectively controlled. We measured the spatiotemporal organization of 480 full‐term neonatal arm movements and 384 arm movements of prematurely born infants at‐risk for neurodevelopmental disorder. We found 75% of healthy term‐birth neonatal movements and 68% of prematurely born infant movements conformed to the τG‐coupling model of prospective sensorimotor control. Prospective coupling values were significantly reduced in the latter (p = .010, r = .087). In both cases prospectively controlled movements were tightly organized by fixed‐duration units with a base duration of 218 ms and additional temporal units of 145 ms. Yet distances remained constant. Thus, we demonstrate for the first time a precise prospective spatiotemporal organization of neonatal arm movements and demonstrate that at‐risk infants exhibit reduced sensorimotor control. Prospective motor control is a hallmark of primary sensorimotor intentionality and gives a strong embodied foundation to conscious motor agency. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12693   open full text
  • Neural signatures of co‐occurring reading and mathematical difficulties.
    Michael A. Skeide, Tanya M. Evans, Edward Z. Mei, Daniel A. Abrams, Vinod Menon.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Impaired abilities in multiple domains is common in children with learning difficulties. Co‐occurrence of low reading and mathematical abilities (LRLM) appears in almost every second child with learning difficulties. However, little is known regarding the neural bases of this combination. Leveraging a unique and tightly controlled sample including children with LRLM, isolated low reading ability (LR), and isolated low mathematical ability (LM), we uncover a distinct neural signature in children with co‐occurring low reading and mathematical abilities differentiable from LR and LM. Specifically, we show that LRLM is neuroanatomically distinct from both LR and LM based on reduced cortical folding of the right parahippocampal gyrus, a medial temporal lobe region implicated in visual associative learning. LRLM children were further distinguished from LR and LM by patterns of intrinsic functional connectivity between parahippocampal gyrus and brain circuitry underlying reading and numerical quantity processing. Our results critically inform cognitive and neural models of LRLM by implicating aberrations in both domain‐specific and domain‐general brain regions involved in reading and mathematics. More generally, our results provide the first evidence for distinct multimodal neural signatures associated with LRLM, and suggest that this population displays an independent phenotype of learning difficulty that cannot be explained simply as a combination of isolated low reading and mathematical abilities. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12680   open full text
  • Syntactical regularities of action sequences in the infant brain: when structure matters.
    Laura Maffongelli, Katharina Antognini, Moritz M. Daum.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Throughout life, actions and language are inherent to social interactions. A long‐standing research question in cognitive neuroscience concerns the interrelation between verbal and non‐verbal forms of social interactions, that is, language and action. Perceiving how actions are performed and why they are performed in a certain way is crucial for the observer to anticipate the actor’s goal and to prepare an appropriate response. It is suggested that predicting upcoming events in a given action sequence can be compared to the way we process the language information flow. Goal‐directed actions can be sequenced in small units, which are organized according to a hierarchical plan, resembling the hierarchical organization of language. Research on adults suggests that manipulating the action structure (i.e., action syntax) leads to analogous cortical signatures as a similar manipulation of a sentence structure (i.e., language syntax). Whereas in adults language and action knowledge are based on life‐time experience, in infants both domains are still developing. The current study examined the neural processing of structural violations of observed goal‐directed action sequences in infants at 6–7 months, using event‐related potentials (ERPs). Results showed that a structural violation of the action sequence elicited bilateral frontal positivity effects. This suggests that infants capture structural regularities, and it adds a crucial element to the understanding of general syntactic regularities and their violation from an ontogenetic perspective. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 19, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12682   open full text
  • Longitudinal development of attention and inhibitory control during the first year of life.
    Karla Holmboe, Arielle Bonneville‐Roussy, Gergely Csibra, Mark H. Johnson.
    Developmental Science. June 17, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Executive functions (EFs) are key abilities that allow us to control our thoughts and actions. Research suggests that two EFs, inhibitory control (IC) and working memory (WM), emerge around 9 months. Little is known about IC earlier in infancy and whether basic attentional processes form the “building blocks” of emerging IC. These questions were investigated longitudinally in 104 infants tested behaviorally on two screen‐based attention tasks at 4 months, and on IC tasks at 6 and 9 months. Results provided no evidence that basic attention formed precursors for IC. However, there was full support for coherence in IC at 9 months and partial support for stability in IC from 6 months. This suggests that IC emerges earlier than previously assumed. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVE17hooANY - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 17, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12690   open full text
  • Community violence exposure in early adolescence: Longitudinal associations with hippocampal and amygdala volume and resting state connectivity.
    Darby Saxbe, Hannah Khoddam, Larissa Del Piero, Sarah A. Stoycos, Sarah I. Gimbel, Gayla Margolin, Jonas T. Kaplan.
    Developmental Science. June 11, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Community violence exposure is a common stressor, known to compromise youth cognitive and emotional development. In a diverse, urban sample of 22 adolescents, participants reported on community violence exposure (witnessing a beating or illegal drug use, hearing gun shots, or other forms of community violence) in early adolescence (average age 12.99), and underwent a neuroimaging scan 3–5 years later (average age 16.92). Community violence exposure in early adolescence predicted smaller manually traced left and right hippocampal and amygdala volumes in a model controlling for age, gender, and concurrent community violence exposure, measured in late adolescence. Community violence continued to predict hippocampus (but not amygdala) volumes after we also controlled for family aggression exposure in early adolescence. Community violence exposure was also associated with stronger resting state connectivity between the right hippocampus (using the manually traced structure as a seed region) and bilateral frontotemporal regions including the superior temporal gyrus and insula. These resting state connectivity results held after controlling for concurrent community violence exposure, SES, and family aggression. Although this is the first study focusing on community violence in conjunction with brain structure and function, these results dovetail with other research linking childhood adversity with smaller subcortical volumes in adolescence and adulthood, and with altered frontolimbic resting state connectivity. Our findings suggest that even community‐level exposure to neighborhood violence can have detectable neural correlates in adolescents. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 11, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12686   open full text
  • The independent and interacting effects of socioeconomic status and dual‐language use on brain structure and cognition.
    Natalie H. Brito, Kimberly G. Noble, for the Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, Genetics Study.
    Developmental Science. June 07, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Family socioeconomic status (SES) is strongly associated with children's cognitive development, and past studies have reported socioeconomic disparities in both neurocognitive skills and brain structure across childhood. In other studies, bilingualism has been associated with cognitive advantages and differences in brain structure across the lifespan. The aim of the current study is to concurrently examine the joint and independent associations between family SES and dual‐language use with brain structure and cognitive skills during childhood. A subset of data from the Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition and Genetics (PING) study was analyzed; propensity score matching established an equal sample (N = 562) of monolinguals and dual‐language users with similar socio‐demographic characteristics (Mage = 13.5, Range = 3–20 years). When collapsing across all ages, SES was linked to both brain structure and cognitive skills. When examining differences by age group, brain structure was significantly associated with both income and dual‐language use during adolescence, but not earlier in childhood. Additionally, in adolescence, a significant interaction between dual‐language use and SES was found, with no difference in cortical surface area (SA) between language groups of higher‐SES backgrounds but significantly increased SA for dual‐language users from lower‐SES families compared to SES‐matched monolinguals. These results suggest both independent and interacting associations between SES and dual‐language use with brain development. To our knowledge, this is the first study to concurrently examine dual‐language use and socioeconomic differences in brain structure during childhood and adolescence. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 07, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12688   open full text
  • Age‐related change in brain rhythms from early to middle childhood: Links to executive function.
    Sammy Perone, Jeeva Palanisamy, Stephanie M. Carlson.
    Developmental Science. June 04, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The connection between brain rhythms at rest and cognition remains poorly understood. This is especially true during early childhood in which neuroimaging data are relatively scarce. We developed a new method for collecting eyes closed and eyes open resting state electroencephalography (EEG) suitable for young children. We report results characterizing age‐related change in power in multiple brain rhythms over frontal and posterior regions under eyes closed and open conditions of rest in 3‐, 4‐, 5‐ and 9‐year‐old children (N = 162). We observed two key patterns of results. First, with age theta decreased, alpha increased, and alpha peak frequency increased. Second, power was generally higher when eyes were closed than open for theta and alpha but higher when eyes were open than closed for beta and gamma. We also investigated the relation between resting state EEG activity and executive function (EF) using the Minnesota Executive Function Scale, a standardized behavioral measure of EF for ages 2 and up. Correlational and regression analyses showed that individual differences in the theta/beta ratio is associated with EF even after controlling for children's age and verbal abilities. We situate our results in a theoretical discussion of theta/beta and its role in control processes. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    June 04, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12691   open full text
  • Using language input and lexical processing to predict vocabulary size.
    Tristan Mahr, Jan Edwards.
    Developmental Science. May 20, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Children learn words by listening to caregivers, and the quantity and quality of early language input predict later language development. Recent research suggests that word recognition efficiency may influence the relationship between input and vocabulary growth. We asked whether language input and lexical processing at 28–39 months predicted vocabulary size one year later in 109 preschoolers. Input was measured using adult word counts from LENA recordings. We used the visual world paradigm and measured lexical processing as the rate of change in proportion of looks to target. Regression analysis showed that lexical processing did not constrain the effect of input on vocabulary size. We also found that input and processing were more reliable predictors of receptive than expressive vocabulary growth. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    May 20, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12685   open full text
  • Attention to speech and spoken language development in deaf children with cochlear implants: a 10‐year longitudinal study.
    Yuanyuan Wang, Carissa L. Shafto, Derek M. Houston.
    Developmental Science. May 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Early auditory/language experience plays an important role in language development. In this study, we examined the effects of severe‐to‐profound hearing loss and subsequent cochlear implantation on the development of attention to speech in children with cochlear implants (CIs). In addition, we investigated the extent to which attention to speech may predict spoken language development in children with CIs. We tested children with CIs and compared them to chronologically age‐matched peers with normal hearing (NH) on their attention to speech at four time points post implantation; specifically, less than 1 month, 3 to 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months post implantation. We also collected a variety of well‐established speech perception and spoken language measures from the children with CIs in a 10‐year longitudinal study. Children with CIs showed reduced attention to speech as compared to their peers with NH at less than 1 month post implantation, but a similar degree of attention to speech as their NH peers during later time points. In addition, attention to speech at 3 to 6 months post implantation predicts speech perception in children with CIs. These results inform language acquisition theories and bring insights into our understanding of early severe‐to‐profound hearing loss on infants’ attention to speech skills. In addition, the findings have significant clinical implications for early intervention on hearing loss, which emphasizes the importance of developing strong listening skills. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7xiYo3Ua08&feature=youtu.be - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    May 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12677   open full text
  • Attentional selection and suppression in children and adults.
    Meirong Sun, Encong Wang, Jing Huang, Chenguang Zhao, Jialiang Guo, Dongwei Li, Li Sun, Boqi Du, Yulong Ding, Yan Song.
    Developmental Science. May 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The fundamental role of covert spatial attention is to enhance the processing of attended items while simultaneously ignoring irrelevant items. However, relatively little is known about how brain electrophysiological activities associated with target selection and distractor suppression are involved as they develop and become fully functional. The current study aimed to identify the neurophysiological bases of the development of covert spatial attention, focusing on electroencephalographic (EEG) markers of attentional selection (N2pc) and suppression (PD). EEG data were collected from healthy young adults and typically developing children (9–15 years old) as they searched for a shape singleton target in either the absence or the presence of a salient‐but‐irrelevant color singleton distractor. The ERP results showed that a lateral shape target elicited a smaller N2pc in children compared with adults regardless of whether a distractor was present or not. Moreover, the target‐elicited N2pc was always followed by a similar positivity in both age groups. Counterintuitively, a lateral salient‐but‐irrelevant distractor elicited a large PD in children with low behavioral accuracy, whereas high‐accuracy children exhibited a small and “adult‐like” PD. More importantly, we found no evidence for a correlation between the target‐elicited N2pc and the distractor‐elicited PD in either age group. Our results provide neurophysiological evidence for the developmental differences between target selection and distractor suppression. Compared with adults, 9–15‐year‐old children deploy insufficient attentional selection resources to targets but use “adult‐like” or even more attentional suppression resources to resist irrelevant distractors. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhWapx0d75I - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    May 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12684   open full text
  • A cross‐cultural investigation of children’s implicit attitudes toward White and Black racial outgroups.
    Jennifer R. Steele, Meghan George, Amanda Williams, Elaine Tay.
    Developmental Science. May 14, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Initial theory and research examining children’s implicit racial attitudes suggest that an implicit preference favoring socially advantaged groups emerges early in childhood and remains stable across development (Dunham, Baron, & Banaji, 2008). In two studies, we examined the ubiquity of this theory by measuring non‐Black minority and non‐White majority children’s implicit racial attitudes toward White and Black racial outgroups in two distinct cultural contexts. In Study 1, non‐Black minority children in an urban North American community with a large Black population showed an implicit pro‐White (versus Black) bias in early childhood. Contrary to previous findings, the magnitude of this bias was lower among older children. In Study 2, Malay (majority) and Chinese (minority) children and adults in the Southeast Asian country of Brunei, with limited contact with White or Black peers, showed an implicit pro‐White (versus Black) bias in early childhood. However, the magnitude of bias was greater for adults. Together, these findings support initial theorizing about the early development of implicit intergroup cognition, but suggest that context may affect these biases across development to a greater extent than was previously thought. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgQP8e4MSCk&feature=youtu.be - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    May 14, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12673   open full text
  • The mental timeline is gradually constructed in childhood.
    Katharine A. Tillman, Nestor Tulagan, Eren Fukuda, David Barner.
    Developmental Science. May 11, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract When reasoning about time, English‐speaking adults often invoke a “mental timeline” stretching from left to right. Although the direction of the timeline varies across cultures, the tendency to represent time as a line has been argued to be ubiquitous and primitive. On this hypothesis, we might predict that children also spontaneously invoke a spatial timeline when reasoning about time. However, little is known about how and when the mental timeline develops, or to what extent it is variable and malleable in childhood. Here, we used a sticker placement task to test whether preschoolers and kindergarteners spontaneously map temporal events (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and deictic time words (yesterday, today, tomorrow) onto lines, and to what degree their representations of time are adult‐like. We found that, at age 4, preschoolers were able to arrange temporal items in lines with minimal spatial priming. However, unlike kindergarteners and adults, most preschoolers did not represent time as a line spontaneously, in the absence of priming, and did not prefer left‐to‐right over right‐to‐left lines. Furthermore, unlike most adults, children of all ages could be easily primed to adopt an unconventional vertical timeline. Our findings suggest that mappings between time and space in children are initially flexible, and become increasingly automatic and conventionalized in the early school years. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    May 11, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12679   open full text
  • Visual search and autism symptoms: What young children search for and co‐occurring ADHD matter.
    Brianna R Doherty, Tony Charman, Mark H Johnson, Gaia Scerif, Teodora Gliga, the BASIS Team, Simon Baron‐Cohen, Rachael Bedford, Patrick Bolton, Anna Blasi, Celeste Cheung, Edwin Dalmaijer, Kim Davies, Mayada Elsabbagh, Janice Fernandes, Issy Gammer, Jeanne Guiraud, Mark H. Johnson, M. Liew, Sarah Lloyd‐Fox, Helen Maris, L. Hara, Greg Pasco, Andrew Pickles, Helena Ribeiro, E. Salomone, Leslie Tucker, F. Yemane.
    Developmental Science. May 03, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Superior visual search is one of the most common findings in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) literature. Here, we ascertain how generalizable these findings are across task and participant characteristics, in light of recent replication failures. We tested 106 3‐year‐old children at familial risk for ASD, a sample that presents high ASD and ADHD symptoms, and 25 control participants, in three multi‐target search conditions: easy exemplar search (look for cats amongst artefacts), difficult exemplar search (look for dogs amongst chairs/tables perceptually similar to dogs), and categorical search (look for animals amongst artefacts). Performance was related to dimensional measures of ASD and ADHD, in agreement with current research domain criteria (RDoC). We found that ASD symptom severity did not associate with enhanced performance in search, but did associate with poorer categorical search in particular, consistent with literature describing impairments in categorical knowledge in ASD. Furthermore, ASD and ADHD symptoms were both associated with more disorganized search paths across all conditions. Thus, ASD traits do not always convey an advantage in visual search; on the contrary, ASD traits may be associated with difficulties in search depending upon the nature of the stimuli (e.g., exemplar vs. categorical search) and the presence of co‐occurring symptoms. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    May 03, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12661   open full text
  • Training with a three‐dimensional multiple object‐tracking (3D‐MOT) paradigm improves attention in students with a neurodevelopmental condition: a randomized controlled trial.
    Domenico Tullo, Jacalyn Guy, Jocelyn Faubert, Armando Bertone.
    Developmental Science. April 30, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The efficacy of attention training paradigms is influenced by many factors, including the specificity of targeted cognitive processes, accuracy of outcome measures, accessibility to specialized populations, and adaptability to user capability. These issues are increasingly significant when working with children diagnosed with neurodevelopmental conditions that are characterized by attentional difficulties. This study investigated the efficacy of training attention in students with neurodevelopmental conditions using a novel three‐dimensional Multiple Object‐Tracking (3D‐MOT) task. All students (ages 6–18 years) performed the Conners Continuous Performance Task (CPT‐3) as a baseline measure of attention. They were then equally and randomly assigned to one of three groups: a treatment group, (3D‐MOT); an active control group (visual strategy/math‐based game, 2048); and a treatment as usual group. Students were trained on their respective tasks for a total of 15 training sessions over a five‐week period and then reassessed on the CPT‐3. Results showed that post‐training CPT‐3 performance significantly improved from baseline for participants in the treatment group only. This improvement indicates that training with 3D‐MOT increased attentional abilities in students with neurodevelopmental conditions. These results suggest that training attention with a non‐verbal, visual‐based task is feasible in a school setting and accessible to atypically developing students with attentional difficulties. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 30, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12670   open full text
  • The development of fast‐mapping and novel word retention strategies in monolingual and bilingual infants.
    Marina Kalashnikova, Paola Escudero, Evan Kidd.
    Developmental Science. April 30, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The mutual exclusivity (ME) assumption is proposed to facilitate early word learning by guiding infants to map novel words to novel referents. This study assessed the emergence and use of ME to both disambiguate and retain the meanings of novel words across development in 18‐month‐old monolingual and bilingual children (Experiment 1; N = 58), and in a sub‐group of these children again at 24 months of age (Experiment 2: N = 32). Both monolinguals and bilinguals employed ME to select the referent of a novel label to a similar extent at 18 and 24 months. At 18 months, there were also no differences in novel word retention between the two language‐background groups. However, at 24 months, only monolinguals showed the ability to retain these label–object mappings. These findings indicate that the development of the ME assumption as a reliable word‐learning strategy is shaped by children's individual language exposure and experience with language use. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 30, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12674   open full text
  • Children imitate antisocial in‐group members.
    Matti Wilks, James Kirby, Mark Nielsen.
    Developmental Science. April 25, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Children demonstrate a pervasive in‐group bias, preferring their in‐group across a range of contexts that encompass measures of liking, imitation, and, in some cases, resource allocation. A growing number of studies have begun to explore whether antisocial in‐group behavior reduces the robustness of this bias. However, these studies have focused on transgression evaluations, with only two studies focusing on social learning and none explicitly on imitation. This, therefore, limits the extent to which children's responses to interaction between in‐group bias and antisocial behavior can be fully understood. The current research expands on the prevailing literature, utilizing imitation as a behavioral measure to explore the reactions of children aged 4–5 and 7–8 years in response to antisocial in‐group behavior. Consistent with previous literature, antisocial in‐group behavior reduced in‐group liking ratings. Surprisingly, however, children's behavioral imitation preferences were guided solely by group membership, disregarding prosocial or antisocial behavior. These results indicate that children's explicitly reported social preferences and imitative preferences may be motivated by two independent drives. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12675   open full text
  • Children's neural processing of moral scenarios provides insight into the formation and reduction of in‐group biases.
    Kimberly L. Meidenbauer, Jason M. Cowell, Jean Decety.
    Developmental Science. April 25, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Survival is dependent on sociality within groups which ensure sustenance and protection. From an early age, children show a natural tendency to sort people into groups and discriminate among them. The computations guiding evaluation of third‐party behaviors are complex, requiring integration of intent, consequences, and knowledge of group affiliation. This study examined how perceiving third‐party morally laden behavior influences children's likelihood to exhibit or reduce group bias. Following a minimal group paradigm assignment, young children (4–7 years) performed a moral evaluation task where group affiliations and moral actions were systematically juxtaposed, so that they were exposed to disproportionately antisocial in‐group and prosocial out‐group scenarios. Electroencephalography was recorded, and group preference was assessed with a resource allocation game before and after the EEG session. Across all children, evaluations of others' moral actions arose from early and automatic processing (~150 ms), followed by later interactive processing of affiliation and moral valence (~500 ms). Importantly, individual differences in bias manifestation and attitude change were predicted by children's neural responses. Children with high baseline bias selectively exhibited a rapid detection (~200 ms) of scenarios inconsistent with their bias (in‐group harm and out‐group help). Changes in bias corresponded to distinct patterns in longer latency neural processing. These new developmental neuroscience findings elucidate the multifaceted processing involved in moral evaluation of others' actions, their group affiliations, the nature of the integration of both into full judgments, and the relation of individual differences in neural responses to social decision‐making in childhood. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12676   open full text
  • Cognitive predictors of children's development in mathematics achievement: A latent growth modeling approach.
    Iro Xenidou‐Dervou, Johannes E.H. Van Luit, Evelyn H. Kroesbergen, Ilona Friso‐van den Bos, Lisa M. Jonkman, Menno Schoot, Ernest C.D.M. Lieshout.
    Developmental Science. April 24, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Research has identified various domain‐general and domain‐specific cognitive abilities as predictors of children's individual differences in mathematics achievement. However, research into the predictors of children's individual growth rates, namely between‐person differences in within‐person change in mathematics achievement is scarce. We assessed 334 children's domain‐general and mathematics‐specific early cognitive abilities and their general mathematics achievement longitudinally across four time‐points within the first and second grades of primary school. As expected, a constellation of multiple cognitive abilities contributed to the children's starting level of mathematical success. Specifically, latent growth modeling revealed that WM abilities, IQ, counting skills, nonsymbolic and symbolic approximate arithmetic and comparison skills explained individual differences in the children's initial status on a curriculum‐based general mathematics achievement test. Surprisingly, however, only one out of all the assessed cognitive abilities was a unique predictor of the children's individual growth rates in mathematics achievement: their performance in the symbolic approximate addition task. In this task, children were asked to estimate the sum of two large numbers and decide if this estimated sum was smaller or larger compared to a third number. Our findings demonstrate the importance of multiple domain‐general and mathematics‐specific cognitive skills for identifying children at risk of struggling with mathematics and highlight the significance of early approximate arithmetic skills for the development of one's mathematical success. We argue the need for more research focus on explaining children's individual growth rates in mathematics achievement. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 24, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12671   open full text
  • Extremely preterm children exhibit increased interhemispheric connectivity for language: findings from fMRI‐constrained MEG analysis.
    Maria E Barnes‐Davis, Stephanie L Merhar, Scott K Holland, Darren S Kadis.
    Developmental Science. April 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Children born extremely preterm are at significant risk for cognitive impairment, including language deficits. The relationship between preterm birth and neurological changes that underlie cognitive deficits is poorly understood. We use a stories‐listening task in fMRI and MEG to characterize language network representation and connectivity in children born extremely preterm (n = 15, <28 weeks gestation, ages 4–6 years), and in a group of typically developing control participants (n = 15, term birth, 4–6 years). Participants completed a brief neuropsychological assessment. Conventional fMRI analyses revealed no significant differences in language network representation across groups (p > .05, corrected). The whole‐group fMRI activation map was parcellated to define the language network as a set of discrete nodes, and the timecourse of neuronal activity at each position was estimated using linearly constrained minimum variance beamformer in MEG. Virtual timecourses were subjected to connectivity and network‐based analyses. We observed significantly increased beta‐band functional connectivity in extremely preterm compared to controls (p < .05). Specifically, we observed an increase in connectivity between left and right perisylvian cortex. Subsequent effective connectivity analyses revealed that hyperconnectivity in preterms was due to significantly increased information flux originating from the right hemisphere (p < 0.05). The total strength and density of the language network were not related to language or nonverbal performance, suggesting that the observed hyperconnectivity is a “pure” effect of prematurity. Although our extremely preterm children exhibited typical language network architecture, we observed significantly altered network dynamics, indicating reliance on an alternative neural strategy for the language task. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12669   open full text
  • Real‐time lexical comprehension in young children learning American Sign Language.
    Kyle MacDonald, Todd LaMarr, David Corina, Virginia A. Marchman, Anne Fernald.
    Developmental Science. April 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract When children interpret spoken language in real time, linguistic information drives rapid shifts in visual attention to objects in the visual world. This language–vision interaction can provide insights into children's developing efficiency in language comprehension. But how does language influence visual attention when the linguistic signal and the visual world are both processed via the visual channel? Here, we measured eye movements during real‐time comprehension of a visual‐manual language, American Sign Language (ASL), by 29 native ASL‐learning children (16–53 mos, 16 deaf, 13 hearing) and 16 fluent deaf adult signers. All signers showed evidence of rapid, incremental language comprehension, tending to initiate an eye movement before sign offset. Deaf and hearing ASL‐learners showed similar gaze patterns, suggesting that the in‐the‐moment dynamics of eye movements during ASL processing are shaped by the constraints of processing a visual language in real time and not by differential access to auditory information in day‐to‐day life. Finally, variation in children's ASL processing was positively correlated with age and vocabulary size. Thus, despite competition for attention within a single modality, the timing and accuracy of visual fixations during ASL comprehension reflect information processing skills that are important for language acquisition regardless of language modality. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12672   open full text
  • Gesture helps learners learn, but not merely by guiding their visual attention.
    Elizabeth Wakefield, Miriam A. Novack, Eliza L. Congdon, Steven Franconeri, Susan Goldin‐Meadow.
    Developmental Science. April 16, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Teaching a new concept through gestures—hand movements that accompany speech—facilitates learning above‐and‐beyond instruction through speech alone (e.g., Singer & Goldin‐Meadow, ). However, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still under investigation. Here, we use eye tracking to explore one often proposed mechanism—gesture's ability to direct visual attention. Behaviorally, we replicate previous findings: Children perform significantly better on a posttest after learning through Speech+Gesture instruction than through Speech Alone instruction. Using eye tracking measures, we show that children who watch a math lesson with gesture do allocate their visual attention differently from children who watch a math lesson without gesture—they look more to the problem being explained, less to the instructor, and are more likely to synchronize their visual attention with information presented in the instructor's speech (i.e., follow along with speech) than children who watch the no‐gesture lesson. The striking finding is that, even though these looking patterns positively predict learning outcomes, the patterns do not mediate the effects of training condition (Speech Alone vs. Speech+Gesture) on posttest success. We find instead a complex relation between gesture and visual attention in which gesture moderates the impact of visual looking patterns on learning—following along with speech predicts learning for children in the Speech+Gesture condition, but not for children in the Speech Alone condition. Gesture's beneficial effects on learning thus come not merely from its ability to guide visual attention, but also from its ability to synchronize with speech and affect what learners glean from that speech. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 16, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12664   open full text
  • Age differences in the prosocial influence effect.
    Lucy Foulkes, Jovita T Leung, Delia Fuhrmann, Lisa J Knoll, Sarah‐Jayne Blakemore.
    Developmental Science. April 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Social influence occurs when an individual's thoughts or behaviours are affected by other people. There are significant age effects on susceptibility to social influence, typically a decline from childhood to adulthood. Most research has focused on negative aspects of social influence, such as peer influence on risky behaviour, particularly in adolescence. The current study investigated the impact of social influence on the reporting of prosocial behaviour (any act intended to help another person). In this study, 755 participants aged 8–59 completed a computerized task in which they rated how likely they would be to engage in a prosocial behaviour. Afterwards, they were told the average rating (in fact fictitious) that other participants had given to the same question, and then were asked to rate the same behaviour again. We found that participants' age affected the extent to which they were influenced by other people: children (8–11 years), young adolescents (12–14 years) and mid‐adolescents (15–18 years) all significantly changed their ratings, while young adults (19–25 years) and adults (26–59 years) did not. Across the three youngest age groups, children showed the most susceptibility to prosocial influence, changing their reporting of prosocial behaviour the most. The study provides evidence that younger people's increased susceptibility to social influence can have positive outcomes. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12666   open full text
  • Prosocial and self‐interested intra‐twin pair behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins in the early to middle childhood transition.
    Karen Yirmiya, Nancy L. Segal, Guy Bloch, Ariel Knafo‐Noam.
    Developmental Science. April 06, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Several related and complementary theoretical frameworks have been proposed to explain the existence of prosocial behavior, despite its potential fitness cost to the individual. These include kin selection theory, proposing that organisms have a propensity to help those to whom they are genetically related, and reciprocity, referring to the benefit of being prosocial, depending on past and future mutual interactions. A useful paradigm to examine prosociality is to compare mean levels of this behavior between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins. Here, we examined the performance of 883 6.5‐year‐old twins (139 MZ and 302 DZ same‐sex 6.5‐year‐old full twin pairs) in the Differential Productivity Task. In this task, the twins’ behaviors were observed under two conditions: working for themselves vs. working for their co‐twin. There were no significant differences between the performances of MZ and DZ twins in the prosocial condition of the task. Correlations within the twin dyads were significantly higher in MZ than DZ twins in the self‐interested condition. However, similar MZ and DZ correlations were found in the prosocial condition, supporting the role of reciprocity in twins’ prosociality towards each other. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 06, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12665   open full text
  • Infants' visual sustained attention is higher during joint play than solo play: is this due to increased endogenous attention control or exogenous stimulus capture?
    Sam V Wass, Kaili Clackson, Stanimira D Georgieva, Laura Brightman, Rebecca Nutbrown, Victoria Leong.
    Developmental Science. April 06, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Previous research has suggested that when a social partner, such as a parent, pays attention to an object, this increases the attention that infants pay to that object during spontaneous, naturalistic play. There are two contrasting reasons why this might be: first, social context may influence increases in infants' endogenous (voluntary) attention control; second, social settings may offer increased opportunities for exogenous attentional capture. To differentiate these possibilities, we compared 12‐month‐old infants' naturalistic attention patterns in two settings: Solo Play and Joint Play with a social partner (the parent). Consistent with previous research, we found that infants' look durations toward play objects were longer during Joint Play, and that moments of inattentiveness were fewer, and shorter. Follow‐up analyses, conducted to differentiate the two above‐proposed hypotheses, were more consistent with the latter hypothesis. We found that infants' rate of change of attentiveness was faster during Joint Play than Solo Play, suggesting that internal attention factors, such as attentional inertia, may influence looking behaviour less during Joint Play. We also found that adults' attention forwards‐predicted infants' subsequent attention more than vice versa, suggesting that adults' behaviour may drive infants' behaviour. Finally, we found that mutual gaze did not directly facilitate infant attentiveness. Overall, our results suggest that infants spend more time attending to objects during Joint Play than Solo Play, but that these differences are more likely attributable to increased exogenous attentional scaffolding from the parent during social play, rather than to increased endogenous attention control from the infant. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    April 06, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12667   open full text
  • Digit identity influences numerical estimation in children and adults.
    Maxine Lai, Alexandra Zax, Hilary Barth.
    Developmental Science. March 22, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Learning the meanings of Arabic numerals involves mapping the number symbols to mental representations of their corresponding, approximate numerical quantities. It is often assumed that performance on numerical tasks, such as number line estimation (NLE), is primarily driven by translating from a presented numeral to a mental representation of its overall magnitude. Part of this assumption is that the overall numerical magnitude of the presented numeral, not the specific digits that comprise it, is what matters for task performance. Here we ask whether the magnitudes of the presented target numerals drive symbolic number line performance, or whether specific digits influence estimates. If the former is true, estimates of numerals with very similar magnitudes but different hundreds digits (such as 399 and 402) should be placed in similar locations. However, if the latter is true, these placements will differ significantly. In two studies (N = 262), children aged 7–11 and adults completed 0–1000 NLE tasks with target values drawn from a set of paired numerals that fell on either side of “Hundreds” boundaries (e.g., 698 and 701) and “Fifties” boundaries (e.g., 749 and 752). Study 1 used an atypical speeded NLE task, while Study 2 used a standard non‐speeded NLE task. Under both speeded and non‐speeded conditions, specific hundreds digits in the target numerals exerted a strong influence on estimates, with large effect sizes at all ages, showing that the magnitudes of target numerals are not the primary influence shaping children's or adults’ placements. We discuss patterns of developmental change and individual difference revealed by planned and exploratory analyses. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 22, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12657   open full text
  • Eighteen‐month‐olds selectively generalize words from accurate speakers to novel contexts.
    Elena Luchkina, David M. Sobel, James L. Morgan.
    Developmental Science. March 22, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The present studies examine whether and how 18‐month‐olds use informants' accuracy to acquire novel labels for novel objects and generalize them to a new context. In Experiment 1, two speakers made statements about the labels of familiar objects. One used accurate labels and the other used inaccurate labels. One of these speakers then introduced novel labels for two novel objects. At test, toddlers saw those two novel objects and heard an unfamiliar voice say one of the labels provided by the speaker. Only toddlers who had heard the novel labels introduced by the accurate speaker looked at the appropriate novel object above chance. Experiment 2 explored possible mechanisms underlying this difference in generalization. Rather than making statements about familiar objects' labels, both speakers asked questions about the objects' labels, with one speaker using accurate labels and the other using inaccurate labels. Toddlers' generalization of novel labels for novel objects was at chance for both speakers, suggesting that toddlers do not simply associate hearing the accurate label with the reliability of the speaker. We discuss these results in terms of potential mechanisms by which children learn and generalize novel labels across contexts from speaker reliability. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2018.
    March 22, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12663   open full text
  • Symbouki: a meta‐analysis on the emergence of sound symbolism in early language acquisition.
    Mathilde Fort, Imme Lammertink, Sharon Peperkamp, Adriana Guevara‐Rukoz, Paula Fikkert, Sho Tsuji.
    Developmental Science. March 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Adults and toddlers systematically associate pseudowords such as “bouba” and “kiki” with round and spiky shapes, respectively, a sound symbolic phenomenon known as the “bouba‐kiki effect”. To date, whether this sound symbolic effect is a property of the infant brain present at birth or is a learned aspect of language perception remains unknown. Yet, solving this question is fundamental for our understanding of early language acquisition. Indeed, an early sensitivity to such sound symbolic associations could provide a powerful mechanism for language learning, playing a bootstrapping role in the establishment of novel sound–meaning associations. The aim of the present meta‐analysis (SymBouKi) is to provide a quantitative overview of the emergence of the bouba‐kiki effect in infancy and early childhood. It allows a high‐powered assessment of the true sound symbolic effect size by pooling over the entire set of 11 extant studies (six published, five unpublished), entailing data from 425 participants between 4 and 38 months of age. The quantitative data provide statistical support for a moderate, but significant, sound symbolic effect. Further analysis found a greater sensitivity to sound symbolism for bouba‐type pseudowords (i.e., round sound‐shape correspondences) than for kiki‐type pseudowords (i.e., spiky sound‐shape correspondences). For the kiki‐type pseudowords, the effect emerged with age. Such discrepancy challenges the view that sensitivity to sound symbolism is an innate language mechanism rooted in an exuberant interconnected brain. We propose alternative hypotheses where both innate and learned mechanisms are at play in the emergence of sensitivity to sound symbolic relationships. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12659   open full text
  • Gesture for generalization: gesture facilitates flexible learning of words for actions on objects.
    Elizabeth M. Wakefield, Casey Hall, Karin H. James, Susan Goldin‐Meadow.
    Developmental Science. March 15, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Verb learning is difficult for children (Gentner, ), partially because children have a bias to associate a novel verb not only with the action it represents, but also with the object on which it is learned (Kersten & Smith, ). Here we investigate how well 4‐ and 5‐year‐old children (N = 48) generalize novel verbs for actions on objects after doing or seeing the action (e.g., twisting a knob on an object) or after doing or seeing a gesture for the action (e.g., twisting in the air near an object). We find not only that children generalize more effectively through gesture experience, but also that this ability to generalize persists after a 24‐hour delay. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 15, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12656   open full text
  • Children's academic attainment is linked to the global organization of the white matter connectome.
    Joe Bathelt, Susan E Gathercole, Sally Butterfield, the CALM team, Duncan E Astle.
    Developmental Science. March 13, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Literacy and numeracy are important skills that are typically learned during childhood, a time that coincides with considerable shifts in large‐scale brain organization. However, most studies emphasize focal brain contributions to literacy and numeracy development by employing case‐control designs and voxel‐by‐voxel statistical comparisons. This approach has been valuable, but may underestimate the contribution of overall brain network organization. The current study includes children (N = 133 children; 86 male; mean age = 9.42, SD = 1.715; age range = 5.92–13.75y) with a broad range of abilities, and uses whole‐brain structural connectomics based on diffusion‐weighted MRI data. The results indicate that academic attainment is associated with differences in structural brain organization, something not seen when focusing on the integrity of specific regions. Furthermore, simulated disruption of highly‐connected brain regions known as hubs suggests that the role of these regions for maintaining the architecture of the network may be more important than specific aspects of processing. Our findings indicate that distributed brain systems contribute to the etiology of difficulties with academic learning, which cannot be captured using a more traditional voxel‐wise statistical approach. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 13, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12662   open full text
  • Two‐year‐olds use adults' but not peers' points.
    Gregor Kachel, Richard Moore, Michael Tomasello.
    Developmental Science. March 12, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract In the current study, 24‐ to 27‐month‐old children (N = 37) used pointing gestures in a cooperative object choice task with either peer or adult partners. When indicating the location of a hidden toy, children pointed equally accurately for adult and peer partners but more often for adult partners. When choosing from one of three hiding places, children used adults’ pointing to find a hidden toy significantly more often than they used peers’. In interaction with peers, children's choice behavior was at chance level. These results suggest that toddlers ascribe informative value to adults’ but not peers’ pointing gestures, and highlight the role of children's social expectations in their communicative development. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 12, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12660   open full text
  • Functional neuroanatomy of gesture–speech integration in children varies with individual differences in gesture processing.
    Özlem Ece Demir‐Lira, Salomi S. Asaridou, Anjali Raja Beharelle, Anna E. Holt, Susan Goldin‐Meadow, Steven L. Small.
    Developmental Science. March 08, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Gesture is an integral part of children's communicative repertoire. However, little is known about the neurobiology of speech and gesture integration in the developing brain. We investigated how 8‐ to 10‐year‐old children processed gesture that was essential to understanding a set of narratives. We asked whether the functional neuroanatomy of gesture–speech integration varies as a function of (1) the content of speech, and/or (2) individual differences in how gesture is processed. When gestures provided missing information not present in the speech (i.e., disambiguating gesture; e.g., “pet” + flapping palms = bird), the presence of gesture led to increased activity in inferior frontal gyri, the right middle temporal gyrus, and the left superior temporal gyrus, compared to when gesture provided redundant information (i.e., reinforcing gesture; e.g., “bird” + flapping palms = bird). This pattern of activation was found only in children who were able to successfully integrate gesture and speech behaviorally, as indicated by their performance on post‐test story comprehension questions. Children who did not glean meaning from gesture did not show differential activation across the two conditions. Our results suggest that the brain activation pattern for gesture–speech integration in children overlaps with—but is broader than—the pattern in adults performing the same task. Overall, our results provide a possible neurobiological mechanism that could underlie children's increasing ability to integrate gesture and speech over childhood, and account for individual differences in that integration. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 08, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12648   open full text
  • Early development of letter specialization in left fusiform is associated with better word reading and smaller fusiform face area.
    Tracy M Centanni, Elizabeth S Norton, Anne Park, Sara D Beach, Kelly Halverson, Ola Ozernov‐Palchik, Nadine Gaab, John DE Gabrieli.
    Developmental Science. March 05, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract A functional region of left fusiform gyrus termed “the visual word form area” (VWFA) develops during reading acquisition to respond more strongly to printed words than to other visual stimuli. Here, we examined responses to letters among 5‐ and 6‐year‐old early kindergarten children (N = 48) with little or no school‐based reading instruction who varied in their reading ability. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure responses to individual letters, false fonts, and faces in left and right fusiform gyri. We then evaluated whether signal change and size (spatial extent) of letter‐sensitive cortex (greater activation for letters versus faces) and letter‐specific cortex (greater activation for letters versus false fonts) in these regions related to (a) standardized measures of word‐reading ability and (b) signal change and size of face‐sensitive cortex (fusiform face area or FFA; greater activation for faces versus letters). Greater letter specificity, but not letter sensitivity, in left fusiform gyrus correlated positively with word reading scores. Across children, in the left fusiform gyrus, greater size of letter‐sensitive cortex correlated with lesser size of FFA. These findings are the first to suggest that in beginning readers, development of letter responsivity in left fusiform cortex is associated with both better reading ability and also a reduction of the size of left FFA that may result in right‐hemisphere dominance for face perception. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    March 05, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12658   open full text
  • Neuroanatomical profiles of bilingual children.
    Pilar Archila‐Suerte, Elizabeth A. Woods, Christine Chiarello, Arturo E. Hernandez.
    Developmental Science. February 26, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The goal of the present study was to examine differences in cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and subcortical volume between bilingual children who are highly proficient in two languages (i.e., English and Spanish) and bilingual children who are mainly proficient in one of the languages (i.e., Spanish). All children (N = 49) learned Spanish as a native language (L1) at home and English as a second language (L2) at school. Proficiency of both languages was assessed using the standardized Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery. Five‐minute high‐resolution anatomical scans were acquired with a 3‐Tesla scanner. The degree of discrepancy between L1 and L2 proficiency was used to classify the children into two groups: children with balanced proficiency and children with unbalanced proficiency. The groups were comparable on language history, parental education, and other variables except English proficiency. Values of cortical thickness and surface area of the transverse STG, IFG‐pars opercularis, and MFG, as well as subcortical volume of the caudate and putamen, were extracted from FreeSurfer. Results showed that children with balanced bilingualism had thinner cortices of the left STG, left IFG, left MFG and a larger bilateral putamen, whereas unbalanced bilinguals showed thicker cortices of the same regions and a smaller putamen. Additionally, unbalanced bilinguals with stronger foreign accents in the L2 showed reduced surface areas of the MFG and STS bilaterally. The results suggest that balanced/unbalanced bilingualism is reflected in different neuroanatomical characteristics that arise from biological and/or environmental factors. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    February 26, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12654   open full text
  • About why there is a shift from cardinal to ordinal processing in the association with arithmetic between first and second grade.
    Delphine Sasanguie, Helene Vos.
    Developmental Science. February 07, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Digit comparison is strongly related to individual differences in children's arithmetic ability. Why this is the case, however, remains unclear to date. Therefore, we investigated the relative contribution of three possible cognitive mechanisms in first and second graders’ digit comparison performance: digit identification, digit–number word matching and digit ordering ability. Furthermore, we examined whether these components could account for the well‐established relation between digit comparison performance and arithmetic. As expected, all candidate predictors were related to digit comparison in both age groups. Moreover, in first graders, digit ordering and in second graders both digit identification and digit ordering explained unique variance in digit comparison performance. However, when entering these unique predictors of digit comparison into a mediation model with digit comparison as predictor and arithmetic as outcome, we observed that whereas in second graders digit ordering was a full mediator, in first graders this was not the case. For them, the reverse was true and digit comparison fully mediated the relation between digit ordering and arithmetic. These results suggest that between first and second grade, there is a shift in the predictive value for arithmetic from cardinal processing and procedural knowledge to ordinal processing and retrieving declarative knowledge from memory; a process which is possibly due to a change in arithmetic strategies at that age. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/dDB0IGi2Hf8 - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    February 07, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12653   open full text
  • Vocabulary growth rate from preschool to school‐age years is reflected in the connectivity of the arcuate fasciculus in 14‐year‐old children.
    Mengmeng Su, Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Jingjing Zhao, Shuang Song, Wei Zhou, Gaolang Gong, Catherine McBride, Franck Ramus, Hua Shu.
    Developmental Science. February 06, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract The acquisition of language involves the functional specialization of several cortical regions. Connectivity between these brain regions may also change with the development of language. Various studies have demonstrated that the arcuate fasciculus was essential for language function. Vocabulary learning is one of the most important skills in language acquisition. In the present longitudinal study, we explored the influence of vocabulary development on the anatomical properties of the arcuate fasciculus. Seventy‐nine Chinese children participated in this study. Between age 4 and age 10, they were administered the same vocabulary task repeatedly. Following a previous study, children's vocabulary developmental trajectories were clustered into three subgroups (consistently good, catch‐up, consistently poor). At age 14, diffusion tensor imaging data were collected. Using ROI‐based tractography, the anterior, posterior and direct segments of the bilateral arcuate fasciculus were delineated in each child's native space. Group comparisons showed a significantly reduced fractional anisotropy in the left arcuate fasciculus of children in the consistently poor group, in particular in the posterior and direct segments of the arcuate fasciculus. No group differences were observed in the right hemisphere, nor in the left anterior segment. Further regression analyses showed that the rate of vocabulary development, rather than the initial vocabulary size, was a specific predictor of the left arcuate fasciculus connectivity. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    February 06, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12647   open full text
  • Young children's non‐numerical ordering ability at the start of formal education longitudinally predicts their symbolic number skills and academic achievement in maths.
    Patrick A. O'Connor, Kinga Morsanyi, Teresa McCormack.
    Developmental Science. January 25, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Ordinality is a fundamental feature of numbers and recent studies have highlighted the role that number ordering abilities play in mathematical development (e.g., Lyons et al., ), as well as mature mathematical performance (e.g., Lyons & Beilock, ). The current study tested the novel hypothesis that non‐numerical ordering ability, as measured by the ordering of familiar sequences of events, also plays an important role in maths development. Ninety children were tested in their first school year and 87 were followed up at the end of their second school year, to test the hypothesis that ordinal processing, including the ordering of non‐numerical materials, would be related to their maths skills both cross‐sectionally and longitudinally. The results confirmed this hypothesis. Ordinal processing measures were significantly related to maths both cross‐sectionally and longitudinally, and children's non‐numerical ordering ability in their first year of school (as measured by order judgements for everyday events and the parents’ report of their child's everyday ordering ability) was the strongest longitudinal predictor of maths one year later, when compared to several measures that are traditionally considered to be important predictors of early maths development. Children's everyday ordering ability, as reported by parents, also significantly predicted growth in formal maths ability between Year 1 and Year 2, although this was not the case for the event ordering task. The present study provides strong evidence that domain‐general ordering abilities play an important role in the development of children's maths skills at the beginning of formal education. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    January 25, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12645   open full text
  • Effects of school‐based mindfulness training on emotion processing and well‐being in adolescents: evidence from event‐related potentials.
    Kevanne Louise Sanger, Guillaume Thierry, Dusana Dorjee.
    Developmental Science. January 22, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract In a non‐randomized controlled study, we investigated the efficacy of a school‐based mindfulness curriculum delivered by schoolteachers to older secondary school students (16–18 years). We measured changes in emotion processing indexed by P3b event‐related potential (ERP) modulations in an affective oddball task using static human faces. ERPs were recorded to happy and sad face oddballs presented in a stimulus stream of frequent faces with neutral expression, before and after 8 weeks of mindfulness training. Whilst the mean amplitude of the P3b, an ERP component typically elicited by infrequent oddballs, decreased between testing sessions in the control group, it remained unchanged in the training group. Significant increases in self‐reported well‐being and fewer doctor visits for mental health support were also reported in the training group as compared to controls. The observed habituation to emotional stimuli in controls thus contrasted with maintained sensitivity in mindfulness‐trained students. These results suggest that in‐school mindfulness training for adolescents has scope for increasing awareness of socially relevant emotional stimuli, irrespective of valence, and thus may decrease vulnerability to depression. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    January 22, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12646   open full text
  • Phonological processing during silent reading in teenagers who are deaf/hard of hearing: an eye movement investigation.
    Hazel I. Blythe, Jonathan H. Dickins, Colin R. Kennedy, Simon P. Liversedge.
    Developmental Science. January 22, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract There has been considerable variability within the literature concerning the extent to which deaf/hard of hearing individuals are able to process phonological codes during reading. Two experiments are reported in which participants’ eye movements were recorded as they read sentences containing correctly spelled words (e.g., church), pseudohomophones (e.g., cherch), and spelling controls (e.g., charch). We examined both foveal processing and parafoveal pre‐processing of phonology for three participant groups—teenagers with permanent childhood hearing loss (PCHL), chronological age‐matched controls, and reading age‐matched controls. The teenagers with PCHL showed a pseudohomophone advantage from both directly fixated words and parafoveal preview, similar to their hearing peers. These data provide strong evidence for phonological recoding during silent reading in teenagers with PCHL. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    January 22, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12643   open full text
  • Infant brain responses to felt and observed touch of hands and feet: an MEG study.
    Andrew N. Meltzoff, Rey R. Ramírez, Joni N. Saby, Eric Larson, Samu Taulu, Peter J. Marshall.
    Developmental Science. January 14, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract There is growing interest concerning the ways in which the human body, both one's own and that of others, is represented in the developing human brain. In two experiments with 7‐month‐old infants, we employed advances in infant magnetoencephalography (MEG) brain imaging to address novel questions concerning body representations in early development. Experiment 1 evaluated the spatiotemporal organization of infants’ brain responses to being touched. A punctate touch to infants’ hands and feet produced significant activation in the hand and foot areas of contralateral primary somatosensory cortex as well as in other parietal and frontal areas. Experiment 2 explored infant brain responses to visually perceiving another person's hand or foot being touched. Results showed significant activation in early visual regions and also in regions thought to be involved in multisensory body and self–other processing. Furthermore, observed touch of the hand and foot activated the infant's own primary somatosensory cortex, although less consistently than felt touch. These findings shed light on aspects of early social cognition, including action imitation, which may build, at least in part, on infant neural representations that map equivalences between the bodies of self and other. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    January 14, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12651   open full text
  • Effect of the COMT Val158Met genotype on lateral prefrontal activations in young children.
    Yusuke Moriguchi, Ikuko Shinohara.
    Developmental Science. January 04, 2018
    --- - |2 Abstract Low executive function (EF) during early childhood is a major risk factor for developmental delay, academic failure, and social withdrawal. Susceptible genes may affect the molecular and biological mechanisms underpinning EF. More specifically, genes associated with the regulation of prefrontal dopamine may modulate the response of prefrontal neurons during executive control. Several studies with adults and older children have shown that variants of the catechol‐O‐methyltransferase (COMT) gene are associated with behavioral performance and prefrontal activations in EF tasks. However, the effect of the COMT genotype on prefrontal activations during EF tasks on young children is still unknown. The present study examined whether a common functional polymorphism (Val158Met) in the COMT gene was associated with prefrontal activations and cognitive shifting in 3‐ to 6‐year‐old children. The study revealed that, compared with children with at least one Met allele (Met/Met and Met/Val), children who were Val homozygous (i) were more able to flexibly switch rules in cognitive shifting tasks and (ii) exhibited increased activations in lateral prefrontal regions during these tasks. This is the first evidence that demonstrates the relationship between a gene polymorphism and prefrontal activations in young children. It also indicates that COMT Val homozygosity may be advantageous for cognitive shifting and prefrontal functions, at least during early childhood, and children who possess this variant may have a lower risk of developing future cognitive and social development issues. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    January 04, 2018   doi: 10.1111/desc.12649   open full text
  • “Mummy, keep it steady”: phonetic variation shapes word learning at 15 and 17 months.
    Paola Escudero, Karen E. Mulak, Jaydene Elvin, Nicole M. Traynor.
    Developmental Science. December 29, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Fifteen‐month‐olds have difficulty detecting differences between novel words differing in a single vowel. Previous work showed that Australian English (AusE) infants habituated to the word‐object pair DEET detected an auditory switch to DIT and DOOT in Canadian English (CanE) but not in their native AusE (Escudero et al., ). The authors speculated that this may be because the vowel inherent spectral change variation (VISC) in AusE DEET is larger than in CanE DEET. We investigated whether VISC leads to difficulty in encoding phonetic detail during early word learning, and whether this difficulty dissipates with age. In Experiment 1, we familiarized AusE‐learning 15‐month‐olds to AusE DIT, which contains smaller VISC than AusE DEET. Unlike infants familiarized with AusE DEET (Escudero et al., ), infants detected a switch to DEET and DOOT. In Experiment 2, we familiarized AusE‐learning 17‐month‐olds to AusE DEET. This time, infants detected a switch to DOOT, and marginally detected a switch to DIT. Our acoustic analysis showed that AusE DEET and DOOT are differentiated by the second vowel formant, while DEET and DIT can only be distinguished by their changing dynamic properties throughout the vowel trajectory. Thus, by 17 months, AusE infants can encode highly dynamic acoustic properties, enabling them to learn the novel vowel minimal pairs that are difficult at 15 months. These findings suggest that the development of word learning is shaped by the phonetic properties of the specific word minimal pair. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 29, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12640   open full text
  • Learning by observation and learning by doing in Down and Williams syndromes.
    Francesca Foti, Deny Menghini, Paolo Alfieri, Floriana Costanzo, Laura Mandolesi, Laura Petrosini, Stefano Vicari.
    Developmental Science. December 26, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract New skills may be learned by active experience (experiential learning or learning by doing) or by observation of others’ experience (learning by observation). In general, learning by observation reduces the time and the attempts needed to learn complex actions and behaviors. The present research aimed to compare learning by observation and learning by doing in two clinical populations with different etiology of intellectual disability (ID), as individuals with Down syndrome (DS) and individuals with Williams syndrome (WS), with the hypothesis that specific profiles of learning may be found in each syndrome. To this end, we used a mixture of new and existing data to compare the performances of 24 individuals with DS, 24 individuals with WS and 24 typically developing children on computerized tasks of learning by observation or learning by doing. The main result was that the two groups with ID exhibited distinct patterns of learning by observation. Thus, individuals with DS were impaired in reproducing the previously observed visuo‐motor sequence, while they were as efficient as TD children in the experiential learning task. On the other hand, individuals with WS benefited from the observational training while they were severely impaired in detecting the visuo‐motor sequence in the experiential learning task (when presented first). The present findings reinforce the syndrome‐specific hypothesis and the view of ID as a variety of conditions in which some cognitive functions are more disrupted than others because of the differences in genetic profile and brain morphology and functionality. These findings have important implications for clinicians, who should take into account the genetic etiology of ID in developing learning programs for treatment and education. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 26, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12642   open full text
  • Is conditional reasoning related to mathematical problem solving?
    Terry Tin‐Yau Wong.
    Developmental Science. December 20, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract The current study aimed to investigate the relation between conditional reasoning, which is a common type of logical reasoning, and children's mathematical problem solving. A sample of 124 fourth graders was tested for their conditional reasoning skills and their mathematical problem solving skills, as well as a list of control variables (e.g., IQ, working memory, reading) and potential mediators (number sentence construction and computation). The children's ability to make modus ponens (MP) inferences significantly predicted their mathematical problem solving skills, even after controlling for the potential confounding variables. The relation was mediated by the number sentence construction skills. The findings, in addition to supporting the link between conditional reasoning and mathematics, further indicate that the ability to process relations may be the mechanism underlying the relation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 20, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12644   open full text
  • Children retain implicitly learned phonological sequences better than adults: a longitudinal study.
    Eleonore H.M. Smalle, Mike P.A. Page, Wouter Duyck, Martin Edwards, Arnaud Szmalec.
    Developmental Science. December 17, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Whereas adults often rely on explicit memory, children appear to excel in implicit memory, which plays an important role in the acquisition of various cognitive skills, such as those involved in language. The current study aimed to test the assertion of an age‐dependent shift in implicit versus explicit learning within a theoretical framework that explains the link between implicit sequence memory and word‐form acquisition, using the Hebb repetition paradigm. We conducted a one‐year, multiple‐session longitudinal study in which we presented auditory sequences of syllables, co‐presented with pictures of aliens, for immediate serial recall by a group of children (8–9 years) and by an adult group. The repetition of one Hebb sequence was explicitly announced, while the repetition of another Hebb sequence was unannounced and, therefore, implicit. Despite their overall inferior recall performance, the children showed better offline retention of the implicit Hebb sequence, compared with adults who showed a significant decrement across the delays. Adults had gained more explicit knowledge of the implicit sequence than children, but this could not explain the age‐dependent decline in the delayed memory for it. There was no significant age‐effect for delayed memory of the explicit Hebb sequence, with both age groups showing retention. Overall performance by adults was positively correlated with measures of post‐learning awareness. Performance by children was positively correlated with vocabulary knowledge. We conclude that children outperform adults in the retention over time of implicitly learned phonological sequences that will gradually consolidate into novel word‐forms. The findings are discussed in the light of maturational differences for implicit versus explicit memory systems that also play a role in language acquisition. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/G5nOfJB72t4 - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 17, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12634   open full text
  • The social functions of babbling: acoustic and contextual characteristics that facilitate maternal responsiveness.
    Rachel R. Albert, Jennifer A. Schwade, Michael H. Goldstein.
    Developmental Science. December 17, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract What is the social function of babbling? An important function of prelinguistic vocalizing may be to elicit parental behavior in ways that facilitate the infant's own learning about speech and language. Infants use parental feedback to their babbling to learn new vocal forms, but the microstructure of parental responses to babbling has not been studied. To enable precise manipulation of the proximal infant cues that may influence maternal behavior, we used a playback paradigm to assess mothers’ responsiveness to prerecorded audiovisual clips of unfamiliar infants’ noncry prelinguistic vocalizations and actions. Acoustic characteristics and directedness of vocalizations were manipulated to test their efficacy in structuring social interactions. We also compared maternal responsiveness in the playback paradigm and in free play with their own infants. Maternal patterns of reactions to babbling were stable across both tasks. In the playback task, we found specific vocal cues, such as the degree of resonance and the transition timing of consonant‐vowel syllables, predicted contingent maternal responding. Vocalizations directed at objects also facilitated increased responsiveness. The responses mothers exhibited, such as sensitive speech and vocal imitation, are known to facilitate vocal learning and development. Infants, by influencing the behavior of their caregivers with their babbling, create social interactions that facilitate their own communicative development. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 17, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12641   open full text
  • Selective copying of the majority suggests children are broadly “optimal‐” rather than “over‐” imitators.
    Cara L. Evans, Kevin N. Laland, Malinda Carpenter, Rachel L. Kendal.
    Developmental Science. December 17, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Human children, in contrast to other species, are frequently cast as prolific “over‐imitators”. However, previous studies of “over‐imitation” have overlooked many important real‐world social dynamics, and may thus provide an inaccurate account of this seemingly puzzling and potentially maladaptive phenomenon. Here we investigate this topic using a cultural evolutionary approach, focusing particularly on the key adaptive learning strategy of majority‐biased copying. Most “over‐imitation” research has been conducted using consistent demonstrations to the observer, but we systematically varied the frequency of demonstrators that 4‐ to 6‐year‐old children observed performing a causally irrelevant action. Children who “over‐imitate” inflexibly should copy the majority regardless of whether the majority solution omits or includes a causally irrelevant action. However, we found that children calibrated their tendency to acquire the majority behavior, such that copying did not extend to majorities that performed irrelevant actions. These results are consistent with a highly functional, adaptive integration of social and causal information, rather than explanations implying unselective copying or causal misunderstanding. This suggests that our species might be better characterized as broadly “optimal‐” rather than “over‐” imitators. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 17, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12637   open full text
  • Family conflict is associated with longitudinal changes in insular‐striatal functional connectivity during adolescent risk taking under maternal influence.
    João F. Guassi Moreira, Eva H. Telzer.
    Developmental Science. December 11, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Maternal presence has marked effects on adolescent neurocognition during risk taking, influencing teenagers to make safer decisions. However, it is currently unknown whether maternal buffering changes over the course of adolescence itself, and whether its effects are robust to individual differences in family relationship quality. In the current longitudinal study, 23 adolescents completed a risk‐taking task under maternal presence during an fMRI scan before and after the transition to high school. Behavioral results reveal that adolescent risk taking increased under maternal presence across a one‐year period. At the neural level, we found that adolescents reporting higher family conflict showed longitudinal increases in functional coupling between the anterior insula (AI) and ventral striatum (VS) when making safe decisions in the presence of their mother, which was associated with increased real‐world risk taking. These findings show that individual differences in family relationship quality undermine effective development of AI‐VS connectivity resulting in increased risk taking. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 11, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12632   open full text
  • Consolidation of vocabulary is associated with sleep in typically developing children, but not in children with dyslexia.
    Faye R.H. Smith, M. Gareth Gaskell, Anna R. Weighall, Meesha Warmington, Alexander M. Reid, Lisa M. Henderson.
    Developmental Science. December 11, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Sleep is known to play an active role in consolidating new vocabulary in adults; however, the mechanisms by which sleep promotes vocabulary consolidation in childhood are less well understood. Furthermore, there has been no investigation into whether previously reported differences in sleep architecture might account for variability in vocabulary consolidation in children with dyslexia. Twenty‐three children with dyslexia and 29 age‐matched typically developing peers were exposed to 16 novel spoken words. Typically developing children showed overnight improvements in novel word recall; the size of the improvement correlated positively with slow wave activity, similar to previous findings with adults. Children with dyslexia showed poorer recall of the novel words overall, but nevertheless showed overnight improvements similar to age‐matched peers. However, comparisons with younger children matched on initial levels of novel word recall pointed to reduced consolidation in dyslexics after 1 week. Crucially, there were no significant correlations between overnight consolidation and sleep parameters in the dyslexic group. This suggests a reduced role of sleep in vocabulary consolidation in dyslexia, possibly as a consequence of lower levels of learning prior to sleep, and highlights how models of sleep‐associated memory consolidation can be usefully informed by data from typical and atypical development. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 11, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12639   open full text
  • Using facial muscular movements to understand young children's emotion regulation and concurrent neural activation.
    Adam S. Grabell, Theodore J. Huppert, Frank A. Fishburn, Yanwei Li, Hannah M. Jones, Aimee E. Wilett, Lisa M. Bemis, Susan B. Perlman.
    Developmental Science. December 11, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Individual differences in young children's frustration responses set the stage for myriad developmental outcomes and represent an area of intense empirical interest. Emotion regulation is hypothesized to comprise the interplay of complex behaviors, such as facial expressions, and activation of concurrent underlying neural systems. At present, however, the literature has mostly examined children's observed emotion regulation behaviors and assumed underlying brain activation through separate investigations, resulting in theoretical gaps in our understanding of how children regulate emotion in vivo. Our goal was to elucidate links between young children's emotion regulation‐related neural activation, facial muscular movements, and parent‐rated temperamental emotion regulation. Sixty‐five children (age 3–7) completed a frustration‐inducing computer task while lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) activation and concurrent facial expressions were recorded. Negative facial expressions with eye constriction were inversely associated with both parent‐rated temperamental emotion regulation and concurrent LPFC activation. Moreover, we found evidence that positive expressions with eye constriction during frustration may be associated with stronger LPFC activation. Results suggest a correspondence between facial expressions and LPFC activation that may explicate how children regulate emotion in real time. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    December 11, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12628   open full text
  • Mere social knowledge impacts children's consumption and categorization of foods.
    Jasmine M. DeJesus, Kristin Shutts, Katherine D. Kinzler.
    Developmental Science. November 29, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract How does social information affect the perception of taste early in life? Does mere knowledge of other people's food preferences impact children's own experience when eating? In Experiment 1, 5‐ and 6‐year‐old children consumed more of a food described as popular with other children than a food that was described as unpopular with other children, even though the two foods were identical. In Experiment 2, children ate more of a food described as popular with children than a food described as popular with adults. Experiment 3 tested whether different perceptual experiences of otherwise identical foods contributed to the mechanisms underlying children's consumption. After sampling both endpoints of a sweet‐to‐sour range (applesauce with 0 mL or 5mL of lemon juice added), children were asked to taste and categorize applesauce samples with varying amounts of lemon juice added. When classifying ambiguous samples that were near the midpoint of the range (2 mL and 3 mL), children were more likely to categorize popular foods as sweet as compared to unpopular foods. Together, these findings provide evidence that social information plays a powerful role in guiding children's consumption and perception of foods. Broader links to the sociality of food selection are discussed. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    November 29, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12627   open full text
  • Age‐related changes in the dynamics of fear‐related regulation in early childhood.
    Santiago Morales, Nilam Ram, Kristin A. Buss, Pamela M. Cole, Jonathan L. Helm, Sy‐Miin Chow.
    Developmental Science. November 29, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Self‐regulation is a dynamic process wherein executive processes (EP) delay, minimize or desist prepotent responses (PR) that arise in situations that threaten well‐being. It is generally assumed that, over the course of early childhood, children expand and more effectively deploy their repertoire of EP‐related strategies to regulate PR. However, longitudinal tests of these assumptions are scarce in part because self‐regulation has been mostly studied as a static construct. This study engages dynamic systems modeling to examine developmental changes in self‐regulation between ages 2 and 5 years. Second‐by‐second time‐series data derived from behavioral observations of 112 children (63 boys) faced with novel laboratory‐based situations designed to elicit wariness, hesitation, and fear were modeled using differential equation models designed to capture age‐related changes in the intrinsic dynamics and bidirectional coupling of PR (fear/wariness) and EP (strategy use). Results revealed that dynamic models allow for the conceptualization and measurement of fear regulation as intrinsic processes as well as direct and indirect coupling between PR and EP. Several patterns of age‐related changes were in line with developmental theory suggesting that PR weakened and was regulated more quickly and efficiently by EP at age 5 than at age 2. However, most findings were in the intrinsic dynamics and moderating influences between PR and EP rather than direct influences. The findings illustrate the precision with which specific aspects of self‐regulation can be articulated using dynamic systems models, and how such models can be used to describe the development of self‐regulation in nuanced and theoretically meaningful ways. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    November 29, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12633   open full text
  • Amygdala sub‐regional functional connectivity predicts anxiety in children with reading disorder.
    Katie Davis, Amy E. Margolis, Lauren Thomas, Zhiyong Huo, Rachel Marsh.
    Developmental Science. November 15, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Pediatric reading disorder (RD) is associated with an increased risk of anxiety symptoms, yet understudied are the neurobiological factors that might underlie anxiety in children with RD. Given the role of the amygdala in anxiety, we assessed resting state functional connectivity of amygdalar subregions in children with RD to identify functional correlates of anxiety and reading impairment. We collected resting state functional MRI data from 22 children with RD and 21 typically developing (TD) children, ages 7 to 13 years. We assessed group differences in resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) from amygdalar subregions. Associations of amygdalar RSFC and volume with reading impairment, reading fluency scores, and anxiety symptoms were explored. Relative to TD children, those with RD showed increased RSFC from amygdalar nuclei to medial prefrontal cortex. Across all subjects, RSFC from right centromedial amygdala to left medial prefrontal cortex positively predicted both reading impairment and self‐reported anxiety, and anxiety mediated the relationship between RSFC and reading impairment. These findings are consistent with amygdalar functional abnormalities in pediatric anxiety disorders, suggesting a common neurobiological mechanism underlying anxiety and reading impairment in children. Thus, aberrant patterns of RSFC from amygdalar subregions may serve as potential targets for the treatment of anxiety symptoms that typically co‐occur with RD. Our dimensional approach to studying anxiety in RD revealed how amygdalar connectivity underlies anxiety and reading impairment across a continuum from normal to abnormal. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    November 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12631   open full text
  • Development of the ability to combine visual and acoustic information in working memory.
    Nelson Cowan, Yu Li, Bret A. Glass, J. Scott Saults.
    Developmental Science. November 08, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Presentation of two kinds of materials in working memory (visual and acoustic), with the requirement to attend to one or both modalities, poses an interesting case for working memory development because competing predictions can be formulated. In two experiments, we assessed such predictions with children 7–13 years old and adults. With development, the ability to hold more information in the focus of attention could lead to an increase in the size of the trade‐off between modalities; if attention can hold A items during unimodal‐attention trials, then on average attention should hold A/2 of those same items during bimodal‐attention trials. If A increases with age, so would the dual‐task cost, A/2. The results clearly ruled out that possibility. It was the modality‐ or code‐specific components of working memory that improved with age and not the central component. We discuss various mechanisms that could have produced these results, including alternative attention‐based mechanisms. The findings point to a rich field for continued research. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    November 08, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12635   open full text
  • Genetic and environmental links between motor activity level and attention problems in early childhood.
    Kimberly J. Saudino, Manjie Wang, Megan Flom, Philip Asherson.
    Developmental Science. November 08, 2017
    --- - |2 Abstract Cross‐lagged biometric models were used to examine genetic and environmental links between actigraph‐assessed motor activity level (AL) and parent‐rated attention problems (AP) in 314 same‐sex twin pairs (MZ = 145, DZ = 169) at ages 2 and 3 years. At both ages, genetic correlations between AL and AP were moderate (ra2 = .35; ra3 = .39) indicating both overlap and specificity in genetic effects across the two domains. Within‐ and across‐age phenotypic associations between AL and AP were entirely due to overlapping genetic influences. There was a unidirectional effect of AL at age 2 predicting later AP. For AP, genetic and environmental influences from age 2 were transmitted to age 3 via stability effects and from AL. For AL, across‐age effects were transmitted only via stability. These results suggest that overactivity in late infancy may impact the later development of problems related to inattention, and that genetic factors explain the association between the two domains. - Developmental Science, Volume 21, Issue 5, September 2018.
    November 08, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12630   open full text
  • Instrumental learning and cognitive flexibility processes are impaired in children exposed to early life stress.
    Madeline B. Harms, Katherine E. Shannon Bowen, Jamie L. Hanson, Seth D. Pollak.
    Developmental Science. October 19, 2017
    Children who experience severe early life stress show persistent deficits in many aspects of cognitive and social adaptation. Early stress might be associated with these broad changes in functioning because it impairs general learning mechanisms. To explore this possibility, we examined whether individuals who experienced abusive caregiving in childhood had difficulties with instrumental learning and/or cognitive flexibility as adolescents. Fifty‐three 14–17‐year‐old adolescents (31 exposed to high levels of childhood stress, 22 control) completed an fMRI task that required them to first learn associations in the environment and then update those pairings. Adolescents with histories of early life stress eventually learned to pair stimuli with both positive and negative outcomes, but did so more slowly than their peers. Furthermore, these stress‐exposed adolescents showed markedly impaired cognitive flexibility; they were less able than their peers to update those pairings when the contingencies changed. These learning problems were reflected in abnormal activity in learning‐ and attention‐related brain circuitry. Both altered patterns of learning and neural activation were associated with the severity of lifetime stress that the adolescents had experienced. Taken together, the results of this experiment suggest that basic learning processes are impaired in adolescents exposed to early life stress. These general learning mechanisms may help explain the emergence of social problems observed in these individuals. Adolescents exposed to early stress showed diminished cognitive flexibility relative to controls when updating associations for stimuli associated with reward and punishment.
    October 19, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12596   open full text
  • The development of morphological representations in young readers: a cross‐modal priming study.
    Pauline Quémart, Laura M. Gonnerman, Jennifer Downing, S. Hélène Deacon.
    Developmental Science. October 12, 2017
    The way children organize words in their memory has intrigued many researchers in the past 20 years. Given the large number of morphologically complex words in many languages, the influence of morphemes on this organization is being increasingly examined. The aim of this study was to understand how morphemic information influences English‐speaking children's word recognition. Children in grades 3 and 5 were asked to complete a lexical decision priming task. Prime‐target pairs varied in semantic similarity, with low (e.g., belly‐bell), moderate (e.g., lately‐late), and high similarity relations (e.g., boldly‐bold). There were also word pairs similar in form only (e.g., spinach‐spin) and in semantics only (e.g., garbage‐trash). Primes were auditory and targets were presented visually. Analyses of children's lexical decision times revealed graded priming effects as a function of the convergence of form and meaning. These results indicate that developing readers do not necessarily need to lexicalize morphological units to facilitate word recognition. Their ability to process the morphological structure of words depends on their ability to develop connections between form and meaning. Children in grade 3 and 5 exhibit graded priming effects as a function of the convergence between form and meaning. Therefore,their processing of the morphological structure of words depends on their ability to develop connections between form and meaning.
    October 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12607   open full text
  • Family conflict shapes how adolescents take risks when their family is affected.
    João F. Guassi Moreira, Eva H. Telzer.
    Developmental Science. October 04, 2017
    Numerous studies have established that the social context greatly affects adolescent risk taking. However, it remains unexplored whether adolescents' decision‐making behaviors change when they take risks that affect other individuals such as a parent. In the current study, we sought to investigate how the social context influences risky decisions when adolescents' behavior affects their family using a formalized risk‐taking model. Sixty‐three early adolescents (Mage = 13.3 years; 51% female) played a risk‐taking task twice, once during which they could make risky choices that only affected themselves and another during which their risky choices only affected their parent. Results showed that adolescents reporting high family conflict made more risky decisions when taking risks for their parent compared to themselves, whereas adolescents reporting low family conflict made fewer risky decisions when taking risks for their parent compared to themselves. These findings are the first to show that adolescents change their decision‐making behaviors when their risks affect their family and have important implications for current theories of adolescent risk taking. The vast majority of research investigating adolescent risk taking has only considered decisions teens make that have consequences for themselves, neglecting to understand how risk taking behaviors vary when others are affected by their decisions. The current study examined whether adolescents changed their risky decision making when their parent was affected. We found that adolescents reporting high family conflict tended to take greater risks for their parent compared to themselves, whereas those reporting low family conflict took fewer risks. This work highlights the importance of adolescent‐parent relationships in helping shape other‐oriented risk taking.
    October 04, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12611   open full text
  • Probing the depth of infants’ theory of mind: disunity in performance across paradigms.
    Diane Poulin‐Dubois, Jessica Yott.
    Developmental Science. September 27, 2017
    There is currently a hot debate in the literature regarding whether or not infants have a true theory of mind (ToM) understanding. According to the mentalistic view, infants possess the same false belief understanding that older children have but their competence is masked by task demands. On the other hand, others have proposed that preverbal infants are incapable of mental state attribution and simply respond to superficial features of the events in spontaneous‐responses tasks. In the current study, we aimed to clarify the nature of infants’ performance in tasks designed to assess implicit theory of mind (ToM) by adopting a within‐subject design that involved testing 18‐month‐old infants on two batteries of tasks measuring the same four ToM constructs (intention, desire, true belief, and false belief). One battery included tasks based on the violation‐of‐ expectation (VOE) procedure, whereas the other set of tasks was based on the interactive, helping procedure. Replication of the original findings varied across tasks, due to methodological changes and the use of a within‐subject design. Convergent validity was examined by comparing performance on VOE and interactive tasks that are considered to be measures of the same theory of mind concept. The results revealed no significant relations between performance on the pairs of tasks for any of the four ToM constructs measured. This pattern of results is discussed in terms of current conflicting accounts of infants’ performance on implicit ToM tasks. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3vqfe_zdhA&feature=youtu.be Most published articles on infant ToM have argued for a relatively sophisticated understanding of mental states in infants. To understand the depth of infants’ theory of mind, we compared 18‐month‐olds’ performance across pairs of tasks that measured the same concept. Unlike what has been reported in older children with elicited‐response tasks, no convergence in performance across tasks was apparent.
    September 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12600   open full text
  • Re‐examination of Oostenbroek et al. (2016): evidence for neonatal imitation of tongue protrusion.
    Andrew N. Meltzoff, Lynne Murray, Elizabeth Simpson, Mikael Heimann, Emese Nagy, Jacqueline Nadel, Eric J. Pedersen, Rechele Brooks, Daniel S. Messinger, Leonardo De Pascalis, Francys Subiaul, Annika Paukner, Pier F. Ferrari.
    Developmental Science. September 27, 2017
    The meaning, mechanism, and function of imitation in early infancy have been actively discussed since Meltzoff and Moore's (1977) report of facial and manual imitation by human neonates. Oostenbroek et al. (2016) claim to challenge the existence of early imitation and to counter all interpretations so far offered. Such claims, if true, would have implications for theories of social‐cognitive development. Here we identify 11 flaws in Oostenbroek et al.'s experimental design that biased the results toward null effects. We requested and obtained the authors’ raw data. Contrary to the authors’ conclusions, new analyses reveal significant tongue‐protrusion imitation at all four ages tested (1, 3, 6, and 9 weeks old). We explain how the authors missed this pattern and offer five recommendations for designing future experiments. Infant imitation raises fundamental issues about action representation, social learning, and brain–behavior relations. The debate about the origins and development of imitation reflects its importance to theories of developmental science. Re‐analyses of Oostenbroek et al.’s (2016) data show significant neonatal imitation. Infants produced significantly more tongue protrusions (TP) in response to the TP demonstration than to controls at all four ages tested, despite a weak design biased toward null effects.
    September 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12609   open full text
  • Children show limited movement repertoire when learning a novel motor skill.
    Mei‐Hua Lee, Ali Farshchiansadegh, Rajiv Ranganathan.
    Developmental Science. September 27, 2017
    Examining age differences in motor learning using real‐world tasks is often problematic due to task novelty and biomechanical confounds. Here, we investigated how children and adults acquire a novel motor skill in a virtual environment. Participants of three different age groups (9‐year‐olds, 12‐year‐olds, and adults) learned to use their upper body movements to control a cursor on a computer screen. Results showed that 9‐year‐old and 12‐year‐old children showed poorer ability to control the cursor at the end of practice. Critically, when we investigated the movement coordination, we found that the lower task performance of children was associated with limited exploration of their movement repertoire. These results reveal the critical role of motor exploration in understanding developmental differences in motor learning. We examined developmental differences in motor learning using a novel body‐machine interface paradigm that minimized biomechanical differences. We found that children showed poorer performance compared to adults, and had limited motor exploration.
    September 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12614   open full text
  • Using individual functional channels of interest to study cortical development with fNIRS.
    Lindsey J. Powell, Ben Deen, Rebecca Saxe.
    Developmental Science. September 24, 2017
    Functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a noninvasive neuroimaging technique that could be uniquely effective for investigating cortical function in human infants. However, prior efforts have been hampered by the difficulty of aligning arrays of fNIRS optodes placed on the scalp to anatomical or functional regions of underlying cortex. This challenge can be addressed by identifying channels of interest in individual participants, and then testing the reliability of those channels' response profiles in independent data. Using this approach, cortical regions with preferential responses to faces versus scenes, and to scenes versus faces, were observed reliably in both adults and infants. By contrast, standard analysis techniques did not reliably identify significant responses to both categories in either age group. These results reveal scene‐responsive regions, and confirm face‐responsive regions, in preverbal infants. More generally, the analysis approach will be a robust and sensitive tool for future characterization of the early functional development of the human brain. Two experiments demonstrate that the analysis of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data is substantially improved by the identification of individual functional channels of interest (fCOIs). Using this method, we identified regions of temporal and occipital cortex with reliable preferences for both faces and scenes in infants under 1 year of age.
    September 24, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12595   open full text
  • Overcoming the other‐race effect in infancy with multisensory redundancy: 10–12‐month‐olds discriminate dynamic other‐race faces producing speech.
    Nicholas J. Minar, David J. Lewkowicz.
    Developmental Science. September 24, 2017
    We tested 4–6‐ and 10–12‐month‐old infants to investigate whether the often‐reported decline in infant sensitivity to other‐race faces may reflect responsiveness to static or dynamic/silent faces rather than a general process of perceptual narrowing. Across three experiments, we tested discrimination of either dynamic own‐race or other‐race faces which were either accompanied by a speech syllable, no sound, or a non‐speech sound. Results indicated that 4–6‐ and 10–12‐month‐old infants discriminated own‐race as well as other‐race faces accompanied by a speech syllable, that only the 10–12‐month‐olds discriminated silent own‐race faces, and that 4–6‐month‐old infants discriminated own‐race and other‐race faces accompanied by a non‐speech sound but that 10–12‐month‐old infants only discriminated own‐race faces accompanied by a non‐speech sound. Overall, the results suggest that the ORE reported to date reflects infant responsiveness to static or dynamic/silent faces rather than a general process of perceptual narrowing. Prior studies have found that discrimination of other‐race faces declines in infancy. This other‐race effect (ORE) has been found in studies of infant discrimination of static or silent dynamic faces. We posited that the ORE found to date may reflect the specific nature of the stimuli used previously rather than infants’ typical social experiences with talking faces. To examine this prediction, we tested 4‐6 month‐old and 10‐12 month‐old infants’ discrimination of own‐race and other‐race faces that could be seen and heard producing a speech sound. We found successful discrimination of both types of faces at both ages, indicating that infants maintain their sensitivity to other‐race faces into the second year of life as long as the faces are dynamic and specified by redundant multisensory perceptual cues.
    September 24, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12604   open full text
  • Developmental associations between bilingual experience and inhibitory control trajectories in Head Start children.
    Jimena Santillán, Atika Khurana.
    Developmental Science. September 24, 2017
    Children from lower socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds tend to be at‐risk for executive function (EF) impairments by the time they are in preschool, placing them at an early disadvantage for academic success. The present study examined the potentially protective role of bilingual experience on the development of inhibitory control (IC) in 1146 Head Start preschoolers who were followed for an 18‐month period during the transition to kindergarten as part of the longitudinal Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2009 study. Using three waves of data, we predicted individual variation in developmental trajectories of IC for three groups that differed in bilingual experience—English monolinguals, Spanish‐English bilinguals, and a group of children who transitioned from being Spanish monolingual to Spanish‐English bilinguals during the course of the study. Compared to their English monolingual peers, bilingual children from Spanish‐speaking homes showed higher IC performance at Head Start entry, as well as steeper IC growth over time. Children who were Spanish monolingual at the beginning of Head Start showed the lowest IC performance at baseline. However, their rate of IC growth exceeded that of children who remained English monolingual and did not differ from that of their peers who entered Head Start being bilingual. These results suggest that acquiring bilingualism and continued bilingual experience are associated with more rapid IC development during the transition from preschool to kindergarten in children from lower SES backgrounds. Individual variation in developmental trajectories of IC was compared for three groups that differed in bilingual experience—English monolinguals, Spanish‐English bilinguals, and a group of children who transitioned from being Spanish monolingual to Spanish‐English bilinguals during the duration of the study. Compared to their English monolingual peers, bilingual children from Spanish‐speaking homes showed higher IC performance at Head Start entry, as well as steeper IC growth over time. Children who were Spanish monolingual at the beginning of Head Start showed the lowest IC performance at baseline, yet their rate of IC growth exceeded that of children who remained English monolingual and did not differ from that of their peers who entered Head Start being bilingual.
    September 24, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12624   open full text
  • Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children.
    Thalia R. Goldstein, Matthew D. Lerner.
    Developmental Science. September 15, 2017
    Pretense is a naturally occurring, apparently universal activity for typically developing children. Yet its function and effects remain unclear. One theorized possibility is that pretense activities, such as dramatic pretend play games, are a possible causal path to improve children's emotional development. Social and emotional skills, particularly emotional control, are critically important for social development, as well as academic performance and later life success. However, the study of such approaches has been criticized for potential bias and lack of rigor, precluding the ability to make strong causal claims. We conducted a randomized, component control (dismantling) trial of dramatic pretend play games with a low‐SES group of 4‐year‐old children (N = 97) to test whether such practice yields generalized improvements in multiple social and emotional outcomes. We found specific effects of dramatic play games only on emotional self‐control. Results suggest that dramatic pretend play games involving physicalizing emotional states and traits, pretending to be animals and human characters, and engaging in pretend scenarios in a small group may improve children's emotional control. These findings have implications for the function of pretense and design of interventions to improve emotional control in typical and atypical populations. Further, they provide support for the unique role of dramatic pretend play games for young children, particularly those from low‐income backgrounds. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/2GVNcWKRHPk Engaging in pretend play and drama has long been linked to children’s emotional and social skills, but whether such activities causally improve these skills is questioned. In a tightly controlled RCT with low‐SES 4 year olds, we found that engaging in dramatic pretend play games uniquely improves emotional control but not other‐oriented social skills. This figure shows the post‐intervention levels of personal distress as lower in the dramatic pretend play game group, as compared to the control groups, controlling for a variety of other factors.
    September 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12603   open full text
  • Changes in frontal and posterior cortical activity underlie the early emergence of executive function.
    Aaron T. Buss, John P. Spencer.
    Developmental Science. September 15, 2017
    Executive function (EF) is a key cognitive process that emerges in early childhood and facilitates children's ability to control their own behavior. Individual differences in EF skills early in life are predictive of quality‐of‐life outcomes 30 years later (Moffitt et al., 2011). What changes in the brain give rise to this critical cognitive ability? Traditionally, frontal cortex growth is thought to underlie changes in cognitive control (Bunge & Zelazo, 2006; Moriguchi & Hiraki, 2009). However, more recent data highlight the importance of long‐range cortical interactions between frontal and posterior brain regions. Here, we test the hypothesis that developmental changes in EF skills reflect changes in how posterior and frontal brain regions work together. Results show that children who fail a “hard” version of an EF task and who are thought to have an immature frontal cortex, show robust frontal activity in an “easy” version of the task. We show how this effect can arise via posterior brain regions that provide on‐the‐job training for the frontal cortex, effectively teaching the frontal cortex adaptive patterns of brain activity on “easy” EF tasks. In this case, frontal cortex activation can be seen as both the cause and the consequence of rule switching. Results also show that older children have differential posterior cortical activation on “easy” and “hard” tasks that reflects continued refinement of brain networks even in skilled children. These data set the stage for new training programs to foster the development of EF skills in at‐risk children. In this study we tested hemodynamic predictions of a dynamic neural field model. We examined frontal and posterior activation as children performed ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ versions of the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task. Consistent with model predictions, children who failed the ‘hard’ version of the task showed strong frontal activation when correctly performing the ‘easy’ version of the task.
    September 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12602   open full text
  • What's parenting got to do with it: emotional autonomy and brain and behavioral responses to emotional conflict in children and adolescents.
    Hilary A. Marusak, Moriah E. Thomason, Kelsey Sala‐Hamrick, Laura Crespo, Christine A. Rabinak.
    Developmental Science. September 15, 2017
    Healthy parenting may be protective against the development of emotional psychopathology, particularly for children reared in stressful environments. Little is known, however, about the brain and behavioral mechanisms underlying this association, particularly during childhood and adolescence, when emotional disorders frequently emerge. Here, we demonstrate that psychological control, a parenting strategy known to limit socioemotional development in children, is associated with altered brain and behavioral responses to emotional conflict in 27 at‐risk (urban, lower income) youth, ages 9–16. In particular, youth reporting higher parental psychological control demonstrated lower activity in the left anterior insula, a brain area involved in emotion conflict processing, and submitted faster but less accurate behavioral responses—possibly reflecting an avoidant pattern. Effects were not replicated for parental care, and did not generalize to an analogous nonemotional conflict task. We also find evidence that behavioral responses to emotional conflict bridge the previously reported link between parental overcontrol and anxiety in children. Effects of psychological control may reflect a parenting style that limits opportunities to practice self‐regulation when faced with emotionally charged situations. Results support the notion that parenting strategies that facilitate appropriate amounts of socioemotional competence and autonomy in children may be protective against social and emotional difficulties. Psychological control is a parenting strategy known to limit social and emotional development in children. Here, we demonstrate that parental psychological control is associated with altered brain and behavioral responses to emotional conflict in children and adolescents. We also find evidence that behavioral responses to emotional conflict bridge the previously reported link between parental overcontrol and anxiety in children. 0
    September 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12605   open full text
  • Do transgender children (gender) stereotype less than their peers and siblings?
    Kristina R. Olson, Elizabeth A. Enright.
    Developmental Science. September 15, 2017
    In the present work, we ask whether socially transitioned, transgender children differ from other children in their endorsement of gender stereotypes and response to others' gender nonconformity. We compare transgender children (N = 56) to a group of siblings of transgender children (N = 37), and a group of unrelated control participants (N = 56) during middle childhood (ages 6–8 years old). Our results indicate that transgender children and the siblings of transgender children endorse gender stereotypes less than the control group. Further, transgender children see violations of gender stereotypes as more acceptable, and they are more willing to indicate a desire to befriend and attend school with someone who violates gender stereotypes than the control participants. These results held after statistically controlling for demographic differences between families with and without transgender children. We discuss several possible reasons that can explain these differences. This study assessed gender stereotype endorsement among transgender children (ages 6‐8 years), comparing their rates of endorsement to a group of siblings of transgender children and a control group of gender “typical” children. Results suggested that transgender children and their siblings showed lower willingness to endorse stereotypes than controls. They were also more likely to state that they would befriend gender nonconforming peers and that gender nonconformity was acceptable than controls were.
    September 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12606   open full text
  • Do children understand fraction addition?
    David W. Braithwaite, Jing Tian, Robert S. Siegler.
    Developmental Science. September 12, 2017
    Many children fail to master fraction arithmetic even after years of instruction. A recent theory of fraction arithmetic (Braithwaite, Pyke, & Siegler, 2017) hypothesized that this poor learning of fraction arithmetic procedures reflects poor conceptual understanding of them. To test this hypothesis, we performed three experiments examining fourth to eighth graders' estimates of fraction sums. We found that roughly half of estimates of sums were smaller than the same child's estimate of one of the two addends in the problem. Moreover, children's estimates of fraction sums were no more accurate than if they had estimated each sum as the average of the smallest and largest possible response. This weak performance could not be attributed to poor mastery of arithmetic procedures, poor knowledge of individual fraction magnitudes, or general inability to estimate sums. These results suggest that a major source of difficulty in this domain is that many children's learning of fraction arithmetic procedures develops unconstrained by conceptual understanding of the procedures. Implications for education are discussed. In three different estimation tasks, fourth to eighth grade children's estimates of fraction sums were highly inaccurate, even among children who accurately estimated the sizes of individual fractions.
    September 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12601   open full text
  • The developmental trajectory of children's auditory and visual statistical learning abilities: modality‐based differences in the effect of age.
    Limor Raviv, Inbal Arnon.
    Developmental Science. September 12, 2017
    Infants, children and adults are capable of extracting recurring patterns from their environment through statistical learning (SL), an implicit learning mechanism that is considered to have an important role in language acquisition. Research over the past 20 years has shown that SL is present from very early infancy and found in a variety of tasks and across modalities (e.g., auditory, visual), raising questions on the domain generality of SL. However, while SL is well established for infants and adults, only little is known about its developmental trajectory during childhood, leaving two important questions unanswered: (1) Is SL an early‐maturing capacity that is fully developed in infancy, or does it improve with age like other cognitive capacities (e.g., memory)? and (2) Will SL have similar developmental trajectories across modalities? Only few studies have looked at SL across development, with conflicting results: some find age‐related improvements while others do not. Importantly, no study to date has examined auditory SL across childhood, nor compared it to visual SL to see if there are modality‐based differences in the developmental trajectory of SL abilities. We addressed these issues by conducting a large‐scale study of children's performance on matching auditory and visual SL tasks across a wide age range (5–12y). Results show modality‐based differences in the development of SL abilities: while children's learning in the visual domain improved with age, learning in the auditory domain did not change in the tested age range. We examine these findings in light of previous studies and discuss their implications for modality‐based differences in SL and for the role of auditory SL in language acquisition. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kg35hoF0pw. In the current study, we found that the development of statistical learning is different across modalities: while auditory SL seems age‐invariant and does not change much during childhood, visual SL improves significantly with age.
    September 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12593   open full text
  • The missing explanation of the false‐belief advantage in bilingual children: a longitudinal study.
    Vanessa Diaz, M. Jeffrey Farrar.
    Developmental Science. September 10, 2017
    Bilingual preschoolers often perform better than monolingual children on false‐belief understanding. It has been hypothesized that this is due to their enhanced executive function skills, although this relationship has rarely been tested or supported. The current longitudinal study tested whether metalinguistic awareness was responsible for this advantage. Further, we examined the contributions of both executive functioning and language ability to false‐belief understanding by including multiple measures of both. Seventy‐eight children (n = 40 Spanish‐English bilingual; age M = 49.29, SD = 7.38 and, n = 38 English monolingual; age M = 47.75, SD = 6.86) were tested. A year later the children were tested again (n = 22 bilingual, n = 25 monolingual). The results indicated that language and executive function (inhibitory control) at time 1 were related to false belief in monolinguals at time 2. In contrast, bilinguals' metalinguistic performance at time 1 was the sole predictor of false belief at time 2. The different linguistic and cognitive profiles of monolinguals and bilinguals may create different pathways for their development of false‐belief understanding. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/vILn2gKjFxw This longitudinal study examines the predictors of false‐belief reasoning in bilingual and monolingual preschoolers. For bilinguals, only time 1 metalinguistic awareness predicted time 2 false‐belief. In contrast, time 1 executive functioning and language ability were related to monolinguals time 2 false‐belief.
    September 10, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12594   open full text
  • Not all phonological awareness deficits are created equal: evidence from a comparison between children with Otitis Media and poor readers.
    Julia M. Carroll, Helen L. Breadmore.
    Developmental Science. September 07, 2017
    Children with reading difficulties and children with a history of repeated ear infections (Otitis Media, OM) are both thought to have phonological impairments, but for quite different reasons. This paper examines the profile of phonological and morphological awareness in poor readers and children with OM. Thirty‐three poor readers were compared to individually matched chronological age and reading age controls. Their phonological awareness and morphological awareness skills were consistently at the level of reading age matched controls. Unexpectedly, a significant minority (25%) of the poor readers had some degree of undiagnosed mild or very mild hearing loss. Twenty‐nine children with a history of OM and their matched controls completed the same battery of tasks. They showed relatively small delays in their literacy and showed no impairment in morphological awareness but had phonological awareness scores below the level of reading age matched controls. Further analysis suggested that this weakness in phonological awareness was carried by a specific weakness in segmenting and blending phonemes, with relatively good performance on phoneme manipulation tasks. Results suggest that children with OM show a circumscribed deficit in phoneme segmentation and blending, while poor readers show a broader metalinguistic impairment which is more closely associated with reading difficulties. Children with a history of otitis media are at increased risk of literacy difficulties, but overall show a different profile of phonological awareness impairments from poor readers.
    September 07, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12588   open full text
  • Sensitivity to auditory‐tactile colocation in early infancy.
    Rhiannon L. Thomas, Reeva Misra, Emine Akkunt, Cristy Ho, Charles Spence, Andrew J. Bremner.
    Developmental Science. September 07, 2017
    An ability to detect the common location of multisensory stimulation is essential for us to perceive a coherent environment, to represent the interface between the body and the external world, and to act on sensory information. Regarding the tactile environment “at hand”, we need to represent somatosensory stimuli impinging on the skin surface in the same spatial reference frame as distal stimuli, such as those transduced by vision and audition. Across two experiments we investigated whether 6‐ (n = 14; Experiment 1) and 4‐month‐old (n = 14; Experiment 2) infants were sensitive to the colocation of tactile and auditory signals delivered to the hands. We recorded infants’ visual preferences for spatially congruent and incongruent auditory‐tactile events delivered to their hands. At 6 months, infants looked longer toward incongruent stimuli, whilst at 4 months infants looked longer toward congruent stimuli. Thus, even from 4 months of age, infants are sensitive to the colocation of simultaneously presented auditory and tactile stimuli. We conclude that 4‐ and 6‐month‐old infants can represent auditory and tactile stimuli in a common spatial frame of reference. We explain the age‐wise shift in infants’ preferences from congruent to incongruent in terms of an increased preference for novel crossmodal spatial relations based on the accumulation of experience. A comparison of looking preferences across the congruent and incongruent conditions with a unisensory control condition indicates that the ability to perceive auditory‐tactile colocation is based on a crossmodal rather than a supramodal spatial code by 6 months of age at least. Auditory and tactile stimulus pairs were presented to 4‐ and 6‐month‐old infants’ hands, with the auditory and tactile stimuli in congruent or incongruent locations (either on the same or different hands). Both age groups of infants perceived colocation between the auditory and tactile stimuli, and a control condition enabled the confirmation that this ability is based on a crossmodal code by 6 months at the latest.
    September 07, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12597   open full text
  • Selective social learning in infancy: looking for mechanisms.
    Cristina Crivello, Sara Phillips, Diane Poulin‐Dubois.
    Developmental Science. August 30, 2017
    Although there is mounting evidence that selective social learning begins in infancy, the psychological mechanisms underlying this ability are currently a controversial issue. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether theory of mind abilities and statistical learning skills are related to infants’ selective social learning. Seventy‐seven 18‐month‐olds were first exposed to a reliable or an unreliable speaker and then completed a word learning task, two theory of mind tasks, and a statistical learning task. If domain‐general abilities are linked to selective social learning, then infants who demonstrate superior performance on the statistical learning task should perform better on the selective learning task, that is, should be less likely to learn words from an unreliable speaker. Alternatively, if domain‐specific abilities are involved, then superior performance on theory of mind tasks should be related to selective learning performance. Findings revealed that, as expected, infants were more likely to learn a novel word from a reliable speaker. Importantly, infants who passed a theory of mind task assessing knowledge attribution were significantly less likely to learn a novel word from an unreliable speaker compared to infants who failed this task. No such effect was observed for the other tasks. These results suggest that infants who possess superior social‐cognitive abilities are more apt to reject an unreliable speaker as informant. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/zuuCniHYzqo This study investigated whether theory of mind and statistical learning abilities are related to infants’ selective social learning. Findings showed that infants who passed a theory of mind task assessing knowledge attribution were less likely to learn a new word from an unreliable speaker in comparison to infants who failed this task. No such effect was found with statistical learning skills.
    August 30, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12592   open full text
  • Literacy acquisition influences children's rapid automatized naming.
    Robin L. Peterson, Anne B. Arnett, Bruce F. Pennington, Brian Byrne, Stefan Samuelsson, Richard K. Olson.
    Developmental Science. August 15, 2017
    Previous research has established that learning to read improves children's performance on reading‐related phonological tasks, including phoneme awareness (PA) and nonword repetition. Few studies have investigated whether literacy acquisition also promotes children's rapid automatized naming (RAN). We tested the hypothesis that literacy acquisition should influence RAN in an international, longitudinal population sample of twins. Cross‐lagged path models evaluated the relationships among literacy, PA, and RAN across four time points from pre‐kindergarten through grade 4. Consistent with previous research, literacy showed bidirectional relationships with reading‐related oral language skills. We found novel evidence for an effect of earlier literacy on later RAN, which was most evident in children at early phases of literacy development. In contrast, the influence of earlier RAN on later literacy was predominant among older children. These findings imply that the association between these two related skills is moderated by development. Implications for models of reading development and for dyslexia research are discussed. Literacy acquisition showed reciprocal effects with both rapid automatized naming and phonological awareness an international longitudinal twin sample. The influence of earlier literacy on later rapid automatized naming was most evident in the early phases of literacy development.
    August 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12589   open full text
  • Do storybooks with anthropomorphized animal characters promote prosocial behaviors in young children?
    Nicole E. Larsen, Kang Lee, Patricia A. Ganea.
    Developmental Science. August 02, 2017
    For millennia, adults have told children stories not only to entertain but also to impart important moral lessons to promote prosocial behaviors. Many such stories contain anthropomorphized animals because it is believed that children learn from anthropomorphic stories as effectively, if not better than, from stories with human characters, and thus are more inclined to act according to the moral lessons of the stories. Here we experimentally tested this belief by reading preschoolers a sharing story with either human characters or anthropomorphized animal characters. Reading the human story significantly increased preschoolers' altruistic giving but reading the anthropomorphic story or a control story decreased it. Thus, contrary to the common belief, realistic stories, not anthropomorphic ones, are better for promoting young children's prosocial behavior. In this study we experimentally tested whether reading preschoolers a sharing story with either human characters or anthropomorphized animal characters would affect their own sharing behavior. Reading the human story significantly increased preschoolers' altruistic giving but reading the anthropomorphic story or a control story decreased it.
    August 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12590   open full text
  • Let's chat: developmental neural bases of social motivation during real‐time peer interaction.
    Katherine Rice Warnell, Eleonora Sadikova, Elizabeth Redcay.
    Developmental Science. July 26, 2017
    Humans are motivated to interact with each other, but the neural bases of social motivation have been predominantly examined in non‐interactive contexts. Understanding real‐world social motivation is of special importance during middle childhood (ages 8–12), a period when social skills improve, social networks grow, and social brain networks specialize. To assess interactive social motivation, the current study used a novel fMRI paradigm in which children believed they were chatting with a peer. The design targeted two phases of interaction: (1) Initiation, in which children engaged in a social bid via sharing a like or hobby, and (2) Reply, in which children received either an engaged (“Me too”) or non‐engaged (“I'm away”) reply from the peer. On control trials, children were told that their answers were not shared and that they would receive either engaged (“Matched”) or non‐engaged (“Disconnected”) replies from the computer. Results indicated that during Initiation and Reply, key components of reward circuitry (e.g., ventral striatum) were more active for the peer than the computer trials. In addition, during Reply, social cognitive regions were more activated by the peer, and this social cognitive specialization increased with age. Finally, the effect of engagement type on reward circuitry activation was larger for social than non‐social trials, indicating developmental sensitivity to social contingency. These findings demonstrate that both reward and social cognitive brain systems support real‐time social interaction in middle childhood. An interactive approach to understanding social reward has implications for clinical disorders, where social motivation is more affected in real‐world contexts. We investigated social motivation in children aged 8‐12 using a novel fMRI paradigm in which children believed they were chatting online with a peer and with a computer, both of which gave engaged and non‐engaged replies. Brain regions associated with reward processing and social cognition were more active when interacting with the peer versus computer, and this activation changed with age. Reward circuitry was modulated by main effects of social context and engagement as well as their interaction.
    July 26, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12581   open full text
  • Differences in brain morphology and working memory capacity across childhood.
    Joe Bathelt, Susan E. Gathercole, Amy Johnson, Duncan E. Astle.
    Developmental Science. July 26, 2017
    Working memory (WM) skills are closely associated with learning progress in key areas such as reading and mathematics across childhood. As yet, however, little is known about how the brain systems underpinning WM develop over this critical developmental period. The current study investigated whether and how structural brain correlates of components of the working memory system change over development. Verbal and visuospatial short‐term and working memory were assessed in 153 children between 5.58 and 15.92 years, and latent components of the working memory system were derived. Fractional anisotropy and cortical thickness maps were derived from T1‐weighted and diffusion‐weighted MRI and processed using eigenanatomy decomposition. There was a greater involvement of the corpus callosum and posterior temporal white matter in younger children for performance associated with the executive part of the working memory system. For older children, this was more closely linked with the thickness of the occipitotemporal cortex. These findings suggest that increasing specialization leads to shifts in the contribution of neural substrates over childhood, moving from an early dependence on a distributed system supported by long‐range connections to later reliance on specialized local circuitry. Our findings demonstrate that despite the component factor structure being stable across childhood, the underlying brain systems supporting working memory change. Taking the age of the child into account, and not just their overall score, is likely to be critical for understanding the nature of the limitations on their working memory capacity. The paper investigated changing relationships between brain anatomy and working memory performance across developmental time. The results indicated that microstructure of the corpus callosum and posterior temporal white matter were more closely linked to performance associated with the executive component of working memory in younger children, while cortical thickness of a left temporal region was more important in adolescents.
    July 26, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12579   open full text
  • Memory in 3‐month‐old infants benefits from a short nap.
    Klára Horváth, Benjamin Hannon, Peter P. Ujma, Ferenc Gombos, Kim Plunkett.
    Developmental Science. July 18, 2017
    A broad range of studies demonstrate that sleep has a facilitating role in memory consolidation (see Rasch & Born, ). Whether sleep‐dependent memory consolidation is also apparent in infants in their first few months of life has not been investigated. We demonstrate that 3‐month‐old infants only remember a cartoon face approximately 1.5–2 hours after its first presentation when a period of sleep followed learning. Furthermore, habituation time, that is, the time to become bored with a stimulus shown repetitively, correlated negatively with the density of infant sleep spindles, implying that processing speed is linked to specific electroencephalographic components of sleep. Our findings show that without a short period of sleep infants have problems remembering a newly seen face, that sleep enhances memory consolidation from a very early age, highlighting the importance of napping in infancy, and that infant sleep spindles may be associated with some aspects of cognitive ability. Graphical AbstractThe contents of this page will be used as part of the graphical abstract of html only. It will not be published as part of main. We studied whether the memory of infants as young as three‐month old benefit from a short nap during the day. Infants were only able to remember the previously shown cartoon face when they had a nap after learning. Furthermore, specific electroencephalographic components of sleep, sleep spindles correlated with the time needed for becoming habituated to the new stimulus.
    July 18, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12587   open full text
  • Investigating the origins of political views: biases in explanation predict conservative attitudes in children and adults.
    Larisa J. Hussak, Andrei Cimpian.
    Developmental Science. July 18, 2017
    We tested the hypothesis that political attitudes are influenced by an information‐processing factor – namely, a bias in the content of everyday explanations. Because many societal phenomena are enormously complex, people's understanding of them often relies on heuristic shortcuts. For instance, when generating explanations for such phenomena (e.g., why does this group have low status?), people often rely on facts that they can retrieve easily from memory – facts that are skewed toward inherent or intrinsic features (e.g., this group is unintelligent). We hypothesized that this bias in the content of heuristic explanations leads to a tendency to (1) view socioeconomic stratification as acceptable and (2) prefer current societal arrangements to alternative ones, two hallmarks of conservative ideology. Moreover, since the inherence bias in explanation is present across development, we expected it to shape children's proto‐political judgments as well. Three studies with adults and 4‐ to 8‐year‐old children (N = 784) provided support for these predictions: Not only did individual differences in reliance on inherent explanations uniquely predict endorsement of conservative views (particularly the stratification‐supporting component; Study 1), but manipulations of this explanatory bias also had downstream consequences for political attitudes in both children and adults (Studies 2 and 3). This work contributes to our understanding of the origins of political attitudes. Do political attitudes have their roots in childhood? We hypothesized that an early‐emerging explanatory heuristic influences the formation of proto‐political attitudes, promoting (1) the view that socioeconomic stratification is acceptable and (2) a preference for current societal arrangements over alternative ones. Prior work has suggested that, from a young age, people often explain what they observe heuristically, in terms of easily‐accessible inherent or intrinsic facts (e.g., this group is poor because they're unintelligent). Correlational and experimental evidence across three studies suggested a unique link between reliance on this inherence heuristic in explanation and conservative (stratification‐supporting and, to some extent, tradition‐supporting) attitudes. This work contributes to our understanding of the origins of political attitudes.
    July 18, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12567   open full text
  • Foundations of infants' social group evaluations.
    Anthea Pun, Matar Ferera, Gil Diesendruck, J. Kiley Hamlin, Andrew Scott Baron.
    Developmental Science. July 13, 2017
    Previous research has suggested that infants exhibit a preference for familiar over unfamiliar social groups (e.g., preferring individuals from their own language group over individuals from a foreign language group). However, because past studies often employ forced‐choice procedures, it is not clear whether infants' intergroup preferences are driven by positivity toward members of familiar groups, negativity toward members of unfamiliar groups, or both. Across six experiments, we implemented a habituation procedure to independently measure infants' positive and negative evaluations of speakers of familiar and unfamiliar languages. We report that by 1 year of age, infants positively evaluate individuals who speak a familiar language, but do not negatively evaluate individuals who speak an unfamiliar language (Experiments 1 and 2). Several experiments rule out lower‐level explanations (Experiments 3–6). Together these data suggest that children's early social group preferences may be shaped by positive evaluations of familiar group(s), rather than negative evaluations of unfamiliar groups. Previous research on infants' social group evaluations have typically employed procedures that prevent the independent assessment of positive and negative evaluations. Across six experiments we implemented a habituation procedure designed to independently measure infants' positive and negative evaluations of speakers of familiar and unfamiliar languages. We report that by 1 year of age, infants positively evaluate individuals who speak a familiar language, but do not negatively evaluate individuals who speak an unfamiliar language. These results suggest that a positive evaluation of individuals from a familiar social group emerges independently and prior to negative evaluations of individuals from unfamiliar social groups.
    July 13, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12586   open full text
  • Telling young children they have a reputation for being smart promotes cheating.
    Li Zhao, Gail D. Heyman, Lulu Chen, Kang Lee.
    Developmental Science. July 12, 2017
    The present research examined the consequences of telling young children they have a reputation for being smart. Of interest was how this would affect their willingness to resist the temptation to cheat for personal gain as assessed by a temptation resistance task, in which children promised not to cheat in the game. Two studies with 3‐ and 5‐year‐old children (total N = 323) assessed this possibility. In Study 1, participants were assigned to one of three conditions: a smart reputation condition in which they were told they have a reputation for being smart, an irrelevant reputation control condition, or a no reputation control condition. Children in the smart reputation condition were significantly more likely to cheat than their counterparts in either control condition. Study 2 confirmed that reputational concerns are indeed a fundamental part of our smart reputation effect. These results suggest that children as young as 3 years of age are able to use reputational cues to guide their behavior, and that telling young children they have a positive reputation for being smart can have negative consequences. Graphical AbstractThe contents of this page will be used as part of the graphical abstract of html only. It will not be published as part of main. The current research examined whether telling young children they have a reputation for being smart affects cheating. Three‐ and 5‐year‐olds who were told they had such a reputation were more likely to cheat on a temptation resistance task than were their counterparts assigned to control conditions. The results are the first to show that telling children they have a reputation for being smart promotes cheating, and that even 3‐year‐olds are responsive to reputational cues.
    July 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12585   open full text
  • Developmental trajectory of neural specialization for letter and number visual processing.
    Joonkoo Park, Berry Berg, Crystal Chiang, Marty G. Woldorff, Elizabeth M. Brannon.
    Developmental Science. July 05, 2017
    Adult neuroimaging studies have demonstrated dissociable neural activation patterns in the visual cortex in response to letters (Latin alphabet) and numbers (Arabic numerals), which suggest a strong experiential influence of reading and mathematics on the human visual system. Here, developmental trajectories in the event‐related potential (ERP) patterns evoked by visual processing of letters, numbers, and false fonts were examined in four different age groups (7‐, 10‐, 15‐year‐olds, and young adults). The 15‐year‐olds and adults showed greater neural sensitivity to letters over numbers in the left visual cortex and the reverse pattern in the right visual cortex, extending previous findings in adults to teenagers. In marked contrast, 7‐ and 10‐year‐olds did not show this dissociable neural pattern. Furthermore, the contrast of familiar stimuli (letters or numbers) versus unfamiliar ones (false fonts) showed stark ERP differences between the younger (7‐ and 10‐year‐olds) and the older (15‐year‐olds and adults) participants. These results suggest that both coarse (familiar versus unfamiliar) and fine (letters versus numbers) tuning for letters and numbers continue throughout childhood and early adolescence, demonstrating a profound impact of uniquely human cultural inventions on visual cognition and its development. Hemispheric dissociation between visual processing of letters and numbers (that is observable in adults) is nearly absent in 7‐ and 10‐year‐olds and starts to emerge around 15 years of age. The results suggest a protracted development of the visual cortex influenced by reading and mathematics.
    July 05, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12578   open full text
  • Age‐related differences in subjective recollection: ERP studies of encoding and retrieval.
    Leslie Rollins, Tracy Riggins.
    Developmental Science. July 04, 2017
    The ability to mentally re‐experience past events improves significantly from childhood to young adulthood; however, the mechanisms underlying this ability remain poorly understood, partially because different tasks are used across the lifespan. This study was designed to address this gap by assessing the development of event‐related potential (ERP) correlates associated with subjective indices of recollection. Children, adolescents, and adults performed Tulving's () remember/know paradigm while ERPs were recorded during memory encoding (Experiment 1) and retrieval (Experiment 2). Behaviorally, children recognized fewer items than adolescents and adults. All age groups reliably made subjective judgments of recollection, although the ability to make these judgments improved with age. At encoding, the ERP effect associated with recollection was present and comparable across age groups. In contrast, the ERP effect associated with recollection at retrieval differed as a function of age group; specifically, this effect was absent in children, topographically widespread in adolescents, and, consistent with previous literature, maximal over left centro‐parietal leads in adults. These findings suggest that encoding processes associated with the subsequent subjective experience of recollection may be similar among children, adolescents, and adults and that age‐related improvement in recollection may be primarily attributable to the development of processes that follow the initial encoding of stimuli (i.e., consolidation, storage, retrieval). The present study examined the development of ERP correlates of subjective recollection in children, adolescents, and adults using the remember/know paradigm. At encoding, the ERP effect associated with recollection was present and comparable in children, adolescents, and adults. In contrast, at retrieval, the ERP effect associated with recollection was not present in children, topographically widespread in adolescents, and, consistent with previous research, maximal over left centro‐parietal leads in adults.
    July 04, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12583   open full text
  • Accent detection and social cognition: evidence of protracted learning.
    Sarah C. Creel.
    Developmental Science. July 03, 2017
    How and when do children become aware that speakers have different accents? While adults readily make a variety of subtle social inferences based on speakers’ accents, findings from children are more mixed: while one line of research suggests that even infants may be acutely sensitive to accent unfamiliarity, other studies suggest that 5‐year‐olds have difficulty identifying accents as different from their own. In an attempt to resolve this paradox, the current study assesses American children's sensitivity to American vs. Dutch accents in two situations. First, in an eye‐tracked sentence processing paradigm where children have previously shown sensitivity to a salient social distinction (gender) from voice cues, 3–5‐year‐old children showed no sensitivity to accent differences. Second, in a social decision‐making task where accent sensitivity has been found in 5‐year‐olds, an age gradient appeared, suggesting that familiar accent preferences emerge slowly between 3 and 7 years. Counter to claims that accent is an early, salient signal of social group, results are more consistent with a protracted learning hypothesis that children need extended exposure to native‐language sound patterns in order to detect that an accent deviates from their own. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQAgy3IFYXA American children’s social preferences for American over Dutch accents increases from age 3 years to age 7 years. Ability to detect accent differences may increase with age, possibly due to protracted perceptual learning of one’s native accent sound patterns.
    July 03, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12524   open full text
  • Longitudinal associations between low morning cortisol in infancy and anger dysregulation in early childhood in a CPS‐referred sample.
    Allison Frost, Caitlin Jelinek, Kristin Bernard, Teresa Lind, Mary Dozier.
    Developmental Science. June 21, 2017
    Children who experience early adversity are at increased risk for developing psychopathology, and dysfunction of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is a possible mechanism conferring this risk. This study sought to characterize the association between morning cortisol during different developmental periods and deficits in children's emotion regulation, a core feature of many psychological disorders. Morning cortisol was collected at two time points (i.e., during infancy, M = 13.0 months old, and during early childhood, M = 36.8 months old) from 120 children with histories of child protective services (CPS) involvement. Children completed a lab visit during early childhood (M = 38.6 months old) that involved an observational measure of anger regulation. Results showed that low morning cortisol during infancy, but not early childhood, predicted increased anger dysregulation during early childhood. These results highlight the importance of developmental timing in assessing the effects of HPA axis functioning and suggest that low cortisol during infancy is a risk factor for later emotion regulation difficulties. In this study, we tested the association between morning cortisol during different developmental periods (i.e., infancy and early childhood) and emotion regulation in early childhood among children with a history of early adversity. Low morning cortisol during infancy, but not early childhood, predicted increased anger dysregulation during early childhood. These findings suggest that low morning cortisol during infancy is a risk factor for later emotion dysregulation and highlight the importance of developmental timing in assessing the impact of cortisol regulation.
    June 21, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12573   open full text
  • Young children seek out biased information about social groups.
    Harriet Over, Adam Eggleston, Jenny Bell, Yarrow Dunham.
    Developmental Science. June 20, 2017
    Understanding the origins of prejudice necessitates exploring the ways in which children participate in the construction of biased representations of social groups. We investigate whether young children actively seek out information that supports and extends their initial intergroup biases. In Studies 1 and 2, we show that children choose to hear a story that contains positive information about their own group and negative information about another group rather than a story that contains negative information about their own group and positive information about the other group. In a third study, we show that children choose to present biased information to others, thus demonstrating that the effects of information selection can start to propagate through social networks. In Studies 4 and 5, we further investigate the nature of children's selective information seeking and show that children prefer ingroup‐favouring information to other types of biased information and even to balanced, unbiased information. Together, this work shows that children are not merely passively recipients of social information; they play an active role in the creation and transmission of intergroup attitudes. We demonstrate that children seek out information that is biased in favour of their own group. These data suggest that children play an active role in the creation and transmission of intergroup attitudes.
    June 20, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12580   open full text
  • A neural network model for development of reaching and pointing based on the interaction of forward and inverse transformations.
    Naohiro Takemura, Toshio Inui, Takao Fukui.
    Developmental Science. June 20, 2017
    Pointing is one of the communicative actions that infants acquire during their first year of life. Based on a hypothesis that early pointing is triggered by emergent reaching behavior toward objects placed at out‐of‐reach distances, we proposed a neural network model that acquires reaching without explicit representation of ‘targets’. The proposed model controls a two‐joint arm in a horizontal plane, and it learns a loop of internal forward and inverse transformations; the former predicts the visual feedback of hand position and the latter generates motor commands from the visual input through random generation of the motor commands. In the proposed model, the motor output and visual input were represented by broadly tuned neural units. Even though explicit ‘targets’ were not presented during learning, the simulation successfully generated reaching toward visually presented objects at within‐reach and out‐of‐reach distances. We proposed a neural network model that acquires reaching without explicit representation of ‘targets’. The proposed model learns a loop of internal forward andinverse transformations. Even though explicit ‘targets’ were not presented during learning, the simulation successfully generated reaching toward visually presented objects at within‐reach and out‐of‐reach distances.
    June 20, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12565   open full text
  • Young children discover how to deceive in 10 days: a microgenetic study.
    Xiao Pan Ding, Gail D. Heyman, Genyue Fu, Bo Zhu, Kang Lee.
    Developmental Science. June 16, 2017
    We investigated how the ability to deceive emerges in early childhood among a sample of young preschoolers (Mean age = 34.7 months). We did this via a 10‐session microgenetic method that took place over a 10‐day period. In each session, children played a zero‐sum game against an adult to win treats. In the game, children hid the treats and had opportunities (10 trials) to win them by providing deceptive information about their whereabouts to the adult. Although children initially showed little or no ability to deceive, most spontaneously discovered deception and systematically used it to win the game by the tenth day. Both theory of mind and executive function skills were predictive of relatively faster patterns of discovery. These results are the first to provide evidence for the importance of cognitive skills and social experience in the discovery of deception over time in early childhood. We investigated how the ability to deceive emerges in early childhood. Although children initially showed little or no ability to deceive, most spontaneously discovered deception and systematically used it to win the game by the tenth day. Both theory of mind and executive function skills were predictive of relatively faster patterns of discovery.
    June 16, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12566   open full text
  • Lexical‐processing efficiency leverages novel word learning in infants and toddlers.
    Jill Lany.
    Developmental Science. June 09, 2017
    Children who rapidly recognize and interpret familiar words typically have accelerated lexical growth, providing indirect evidence that lexical processing efficiency (LPE) is related to word‐learning ability. Here we directly tested whether children with better LPE are better able to learn novel words. In Experiment 1, 17‐ and 30‐month‐olds were tested on an LPE task and on a simple word‐learning task. The 17‐month‐olds’ LPE scores predicted word learning in a regression model, and only those with relatively good LPE showed evidence of learning. The 30‐month‐olds learned novel words quite well regardless of LPE, but in a more difficult word‐learning task (Experiment 2), their LPE predicted word‐learning ability. These findings suggest that LPE supports word‐learning processes, especially when learning is difficult. Children who rapidly recognize and interpret familiar words typically have accelerated lexical growth, providing indirect evidence that lexical processing efficiency (LPE) is related to word‐learning ability. Here we directly tested whether children with better LPE are better able to learn novel words. Our results suggest that LPE supports word‐learning processes, especially when learning is difficult.
    June 09, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12569   open full text
  • Transient sex differences during adolescence on auditory perceptual tasks.
    Julia Jones Huyck, Beverly A. Wright.
    Developmental Science. June 05, 2017
    Many perceptual abilities differ between the sexes. Because these sex differences have been documented almost exclusively in adults, they have been attributed to sex‐specific neural circuitry that emerges during development and is maintained in the mature perceptual system. To investigate whether behavioral sex differences in perception can also have other origins, we compared performance between males and females ranging in age from 8 to 30 years on auditory temporal‐interval discrimination and tone‐in‐noise detection tasks on which there are no sex differences in adults. If sex differences in perception arise only from the establishment and subsequent maintenance of sex‐specific neural circuitry, there should be no sex differences during development on these tasks. In contrast, sex differences emerged in adolescence but resolved by adulthood on two of the six conditions, with signs of a similar pattern on a third condition. In each case, males reached mature performance earlier than females, resulting in a sex difference in the interim. These results suggest that sex differences in perception may arise from differences in the maturational timing of common circuitry used by both sexes. They also imply that sex differences in perceptual abilities may be more prevalent than previously thought based on adult data alone. Transient sex differences were present during adolescence, but not before or after, on two out of six auditory perceptual conditions, with some indication of a similar outcome on a third condition. These sex differences were the result of earlier maturation in males. The presence of developmentally transient sex differences implies that sex differences in perception might be more prevalent than previously thought.
    June 05, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12574   open full text
  • A meta‐analysis of the relationship between socioeconomic status and executive function performance among children.
    Gwendolyn M. Lawson, Cayce J. Hook, Martha J. Farah.
    Developmental Science. May 30, 2017
    The relationship between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) and executive function (EF) has recently attracted attention within psychology, following reports of substantial SES disparities in children's EF. Adding to the importance of this relationship, EF has been proposed as a mediator of socioeconomic disparities in lifelong achievement and health. However, evidence about the relationship between childhood SES and EF is mixed, and there has been no systematic attempt to evaluate this relationship across studies. This meta‐analysis systematically reviewed the literature for studies in which samples of children varying in SES were evaluated on EF, including studies with and without primary hypotheses about SES. The analysis included 8760 children between the ages of 2 and 18 gathered from 25 independent samples. Analyses showed a small but statistically significant correlation between SES and EF across all studies (rrandom = .16, 95% CI [.12, .21]) without correcting for attenuation owing to range restriction or measurement unreliability. Substantial heterogeneity was observed among studies, and a number of factors, including the amount of SES variability in the sample and the number of EF measures used, emerged as moderators. Using only the 15 studies with meaningful SES variability in the sample, the average correlation between SES and EF was small‐to‐medium in size (rrandom = .22, 95% CI [.17, .27]). Using only the six studies with multiple measures of EF, the relationship was medium in size (rrandom = .28, 95% CI [.18, .37]). In sum, this meta‐analysis supports the presence of SES disparities in EF and suggests that they are between small and medium in size, depending on the methods used to measure them. With growing interest in the cognitive correlates of socioeconomic status (SES) a number of studies have reported that children’s executive function (EF) correlates with their SES. However, the EF‐SES relationship has not yet been evaluated systematically across studies. In this meta‐analysis of studies of EF in samples of children varying in SES, substantial heterogeneity of effect size were found, with small but significant correlations overall, and small‐to‐medium correlations for studies with more SES variability and more EF measure
    May 30, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12529   open full text
  • Auditory access, language access, and implicit sequence learning in deaf children.
    Matthew L. Hall, Inge‐Marie Eigsti, Heather Bortfeld, Diane Lillo‐Martin.
    Developmental Science. May 30, 2017
    Developmental psychology plays a central role in shaping evidence‐based best practices for prelingually deaf children. The Auditory Scaffolding Hypothesis (Conway et al., 2009) asserts that a lack of auditory stimulation in deaf children leads to impoverished implicit sequence learning abilities, measured via an artificial grammar learning (AGL) task. However, prior research is confounded by a lack of both auditory and language input. The current study examines implicit learning in deaf children who were (Deaf native signers) or were not (oral cochlear implant users) exposed to language from birth, and in hearing children, using both AGL and Serial Reaction Time (SRT) tasks. Neither deaf nor hearing children across the three groups show evidence of implicit learning on the AGL task, but all three groups show robust implicit learning on the SRT task. These findings argue against the Auditory Scaffolding Hypothesis, and suggest that implicit sequence learning may be resilient to both auditory and language deprivation, within the tested limits. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/EeqfQqlVHLI [Correction added on 07 August 2017, after first online publication: The video abstract link was added.] Hearing children, Deaf native signers, and deaf CI users all show significant implicit learning on the Serial Reaction Time Task. This pattern suggests that implicit learning abilities are resilient to a period of up to 12 years without auditory access and up to 3 years without language access.
    May 30, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12575   open full text
  • The influence of pubertal maturation on antisaccade performance.
    Sarah J. Ordaz, Barbara L. Fritz, Erika E. Forbes, Beatriz Luna.
    Developmental Science. May 30, 2017
    Adolescence is a period characterized by continued improvements in inhibitory control, and this persisting immaturity is believed to interact with affective/motivational behavior to generate the impulsive and risk‐taking behavior evidenced at this time. Puberty is a central event of adolescence that has been shown to influence affective/motivational behavior. However, despite plausible mechanisms by which puberty might influence inhibitory control, researchers have yet to test this possibility rigorously. Thus, we designed a study to examine the unique role of pubertal maturation, independent of age, in the development of inhibitory control. In order to minimize age‐related variability while maximizing pubertal status variability, we recruited 78 participants (34 F) whose ages narrowly spanned the mean age of gonadarche for each sex (F: ages 11–13, M: ages 12–14). Two complementary measures were used to assess pubertal status: (1) circulating blood serum testosterone and estradiol levels reflecting internal manifestations of pubertal maturation, and (2) Tanner staging by a trained nurse reflecting pubertal maturation's external manifestations. Inhibitory control was assessed using the antisaccade task, and findings were adjusted for the potential effect of age. Results revealed no association between testosterone levels and error rates or response latencies in either sex. In girls, estradiol levels were not associated with error rates, but were associated with faster response latencies. There was similarly no association between Tanner status and error rates, although girls in more advanced pubertal stages showed faster response latencies. Power analyses indicate that findings of a lack of association did not reflect limited statistical power. Thus, in a study designed to isolate the effects of pubertal maturation independent of age, both external and internal indices of pubertal maturation converged to indicate that age‐related improvements in cold antisaccade performance are independent of pubertal maturation. In light of plausible mechanisms by which puberty might influence inhibitory control, we designed a study to examine the unique role of pubertal maturation, independent of age, in the development of antisaccade performance. In general, we found no association between multiple metrics of pubertal maturation and metrics of antisaccade performance, although girls in more advanced stages of puberty evidenced faster response latencies.
    May 30, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12568   open full text
  • Salience network response to changes in emotional expressions of others is heightened during early adolescence: relevance for social functioning.
    Maya L. Rosen, Margaret A. Sheridan, Kelly A. Sambrook, Meg J. Dennison, Jessica L. Jenness, Mary K. Askren, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Katie A. McLaughlin.
    Developmental Science. May 30, 2017
    Adolescence is a unique developmental period when the salience of social and emotional information becomes particularly pronounced. Although this increased sensitivity to social and emotional information has frequently been considered with respect to risk behaviors and psychopathology, evidence suggests that increased adolescent sensitivity to social and emotional cues may confer advantages. For example, greater sensitivity to shifts in the emotions of others is likely to promote flexible and adaptive social behavior. In this study, a sample of 54 children and adolescents (age 8–19 years) performed a delayed match‐to‐sample task for emotional faces while undergoing fMRI scanning. Recruitment of the anterior cingulate and anterior insula when the emotion of the probe face did not match the emotion held in memory followed a quadratic developmental pattern that peaked during early adolescence. These findings indicate meaningful developmental variation in the neural mechanisms underlying sensitivity to changes in the emotional expressions. Across all participants, greater activation of this network for changes in emotional expression was associated with less social anxiety and fewer social problems. These results suggest that the heightened salience of social and emotional information during adolescence may confer important advantages for social behavior, providing sensitivity to others’ emotions that facilitates flexible social responding. Here we present evidence for heightened recruitment of the salience network during early adolescence in response to changes in emotional facial expressions of others. Greater recruitment of these regions was associated with better social functioning. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for early adolescence as a period of heightened sensitivity to changes in social cues and that this sensitivity may confer behavioral advantages for youths.
    May 30, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12571   open full text
  • The development of cognitive empathy and concern in preschool children: A behavioral neuroscience investigation.
    Jean Decety, Kimberly L. Meidenbauer, Jason M. Cowell.
    Developmental Science. May 18, 2017
    This developmental neuroscience study examined the electrophysiological responses (EEG and ERPs) associated with perspective taking and empathic concern in preschool children, as well as their relation to parental empathy dispositions and children's own prosocial behavior. Consistent with a body of previous studies using stimuli depicting somatic pain in both children and adults, larger early (~200 ms) ERPs were identified when perceiving painful versus neutral stimuli. In the slow wave window (~800 ms), a significant interaction of empathy condition and stimulus type was driven by a greater difference between painful and neutral images in the empathic concern condition. Across early development, children exhibited enhanced N2 to pain when engaging in empathic concern. Greater pain‐elicited N2 responses in the cognitive empathy condition also related to parent dispositional empathy. Children's own prosocial behavior was predicted by several individual differences in neural function, including larger early LPP responses during cognitive empathy and greater differentiation in late LPP and slow wave responses to empathic concern versus affective perspective taking. Left frontal activation (greater alpha suppression) while engaging in affective perspective taking was also related to higher levels of parent cognitive empathy. Together, this multilevel analysis demonstrates the important distinction between facets of empathy in children; the value of examining neurobehavioral processes in development. It provides provoking links between children's neural functioning and parental dispositions in early development. Differences in children’s frontal alpha asymmetry when perceiving others in distress is predicted both by chldren’s empathy and their parents cognitive empathetic dispositions. Children electrophysiological measures show early and late distinctions in response to the suffering of others. Their prosocial behavior is predicted by neural marker of cognitive empathy. Their parents dispositional empathic concern positively predicts children’s prosocial behavior.
    May 18, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12570   open full text
  • Changing minds: Children's inferences about third party belief revision.
    Rachel W. Magid, Phyllis Yan, Max H. Siegel, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Laura E. Schulz.
    Developmental Science. May 12, 2017
    By the age of 5, children explicitly represent that agents can have both true and false beliefs based on epistemic access to information (e.g., Wellman, Cross, & Watson, 2001). Children also begin to understand that agents can view identical evidence and draw different inferences from it (e.g., Carpendale & Chandler, 1996). However, much less is known about when, and under what conditions, children expect other agents to change their minds. Here, inspired by formal ideal observer models of learning, we investigate children's expectations of the dynamics that underlie third parties’ belief revision. We introduce an agent who has prior beliefs about the location of a population of toys and then observes evidence that, from an ideal observer perspective, either does, or does not justify revising those beliefs. We show that children's inferences on behalf of third parties are consistent with the ideal observer perspective, but not with a number of alternative possibilities, including that children expect other agents to be influenced only by their prior beliefs, only by the sampling process, or only by the observed data. Rather, children integrate all three factors in determining how and when agents will update their beliefs from evidence. Young children use others’ prior beliefs and data to predict when third parties will retain their beliefs and when they will change their minds.
    May 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12553   open full text
  • Children's intuitive sense of number develops independently of their perception of area, density, length, and time.
    Darko Odic.
    Developmental Science. May 12, 2017
    Young children can quickly and intuitively represent the number of objects in a visual scene through the Approximate Number System (ANS). The precision of the ANS – indexed as the most difficult ratio of two numbers that children can reliably discriminate – is well known to improve with development: whereas infants require relatively large ratios to discriminate number, children can discriminate finer and finer changes in number between toddlerhood and early adulthood. Which factors drive the developmental improvements in ANS precision? Here, we investigate the influence of four non‐numeric dimensions – area, density, line length, and time – on ANS development, exploring the degree to which the ANS develops independently from these other dimensions, from inhibitory control, and from domain‐general factors such as attention and working memory that are shared between these tasks. A sample of 185 children between the ages of 2 and 12 years completed five discrimination tasks: approximate number, area, density, length, and time. We report three main findings. First, logistic growth models applied to both accuracy and Weber fractions (w; an index of ANS precision) across age reveal distinct developmental trajectories across the five dimensions: while area and length develop by adolescence, time and density do not develop fully until early adulthood, with ANS precision developing at an intermediate rate. Second, we find that ANS precision develops independently of the other four dimensions, which in turn develop independently of the ANS. Third, we find that ANS precision also develops independently from individual differences in inhibitory control (indexed as the difference in accuracy and w between Congruent and Incongruent ANS trials). Together, these results are the first to provide evidence for domain‐specific improvements in ANS precision, and place children's maturing perception of number, space, and time into a broader developmental context. The Approximate Number System (ANS) provides children with intuitive but imprecise representations of number. Here, we test which factors drive the improvement of ANS precision with age by comparing the developmental trajectories of the ANS with those of area, density, line length, and time representations between toddlerhood and adulthood. Growth modelling and partial correlation analyses revealed that ANS precision develops independently of area, density, length, and time, and from children's ability to inhibit non‐numeric dimensions during the ANS task.
    May 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12533   open full text
  • Semantic richness and word learning in children with autism spectrum disorder.
    Allison Gladfelter, Lisa Goffman.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2017
    Semantically rich learning contexts facilitate semantic, phonological, and articulatory aspects of word learning in children with typical development (TD). However, because children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show differences at each of these processing levels, it is unclear whether they will benefit from semantic cues in the same manner as their typical peers. The goal of this study was to track how the inclusion of rich, sparse, or no semantic cues influences semantic, phonological, and articulatory aspects of word learning in children with ASD and TD over time. Twenty‐four school‐aged children (12 in each group), matched on expressive vocabulary, participated in an extended word learning paradigm. Performance on five measures of learning (referent identification, confrontation naming, defining, phonetic accuracy, and speech motor stability) were tracked across three sessions approximately one week apart to assess the influence of semantic richness on extended learning. Results indicate that children with ASD benefit from semantically rich learning contexts similarly to their peers with TD; however, one key difference between the two groups emerged – the children with ASD showed heightened shifts in speech motor stability. These findings offer insights into common learning mechanisms in children with ASD and TD, as well as pointing to a potentially distinct speech motor learning trajectory in children with ASD, providing a window into the emergence of stereotypic vocalizations in these children. The goal of this study was to track how the inclusion of rich, sparse, or no semantic cues influence semantic, phonological, and articulatory aspects of word learning in children with ASD and TD over time. Results indicate that children with ASD benefit from semantically rich learning contexts similarly to their peers with TD; however, one key difference between the two groups emerged—the children with ASD showed heightened shifts in speech motor stability. These findings offer insights into common learning mechanisms in children with ASD and TD, as well as point to a potentially distinct speech motor learning trajectory in children with ASD, providing a window into the emergence of stereotypic vocalizations in these children.
    May 04, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12543   open full text
  • Relationship between sports experience and executive function in 6–12‐year‐old children: independence from physical fitness and moderation by gender.
    Toru Ishihara, Shigemi Sugasawa, Yusuke Matsuda, Masao Mizuno.
    Developmental Science. May 02, 2017
    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between sports experience (i.e., tennis experience) and executive function in children while controlling for physical activity and physical fitness. Sixty‐eight participants (6–12 years old, 34 males and 34 females) were enrolled in regular tennis lessons (mean = 2.4 years, range = 0.1–7.3 years) prior to the study. Executive functions, including inhibitory control (the Stroop Color‐Word Test), working memory (the 2‐back Task), and cognitive flexibility (the Local–global Task) were evaluated. Participants’ levels of daily physical activity, ranging from moderate to vigorous, were evaluated using triaxial accelerometers. The total score for physical fitness was assessed using the Tennis Field Test. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed interaction effects between gender and tennis experience on participants’ reaction time (RT) on the switch cost of the Local–global Task after controlling for age, BMI, gender, physical activity, physical fitness, and tennis experience. Longer tennis experience was associated with shorter switch cost in males but not in females. Higher scores on physical fitness were positively associated with lower interference scores on the Stroop Color‐Word Test, RT on the 2‐back Task, and RT in the switching condition of the Local–global Task, after controlling for age, BMI, gender, and physical activity. In conclusion, all three foundational components of executive function (i.e., inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) were more strongly related to physical fitness than to physical activity in males and females, whereas greater cognitive flexibility was related to tennis experience only in the males. This study examined the relationship between physical activity, physical fitness, sports experience (i.e., tennis), and executive function in children. The results demonstrated that all three foundational components of executive function (i.e., inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) were more strongly related to physical fitness than to physical activity in males and females. Additionally, greater cognitive flexibility was related to tennis experience in males after controlling for physical activity and physical fitness. Physical activity requiring cognitive engagement, such as tennis, might have beneficial effects on cognitive development.
    May 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12555   open full text
  • Socioeconomic status and hippocampal volume in children and young adults.
    Qijing Yu, Ana M. Daugherty, Dana M. Anderson, Mayu Nishimura, David Brush, Amanda Hardwick, William Lacey, Sarah Raz, Noa Ofen.
    Developmental Science. May 02, 2017
    An individual's socioeconomic status (SES) is often viewed as a proxy for a host of environmental influences. SES disparities have been linked to variance in brain structures particularly the hippocampus, a neural substrate of learning and memory. However, it is unclear whether the association between SES and hippocampal volume is similar in children and adults. We investigated the relationship between hippocampal volume and SES in a group of children (n = 31, age 8–12 years) and a group of young adults (n = 32, age 18–25 years). SES was assessed with four indicators that loaded on a single factor, therefore a composite SES scores was used in the main analyses. Hippocampal volume was measured using manual demarcation on high resolution structural images. SES was associated with hippocampal volume in the children, but not in adults, suggesting that in childhood, but not adulthood, SES‐related environmental factors influence hippocampal volume. In addition, hippocampal volume, but not SES, was associated with scores on a memory task, suggesting that net effects of postnatal environmental factors, captured by SES, are more distal determinants of memory performance than hippocampal volume. Longitudinal investigation of the association between SES, hippocampal volume and cognitive functioning may further our understanding of the putative neural mechanisms underlying SES‐related environmental effects on cognitive development. Using manual demarcation to calculate hippocampal volume with high reliability, we show an age difference in the association between hippocampal volume and socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status was positively related to hippocampal volume in children, but not in adults. Variance in hippocampal volume was related to individual difference in memory performance.
    May 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12561   open full text
  • Incidental learning in a multisensory environment across childhood.
    Hannah J. Broadbent, Hayley White, Denis Mareschal, Natasha Z. Kirkham.
    Developmental Science. April 26, 2017
    Multisensory information has been shown to modulate attention in infants and facilitate learning in adults, by enhancing the amodal properties of a stimulus. However, it remains unclear whether this translates to learning in a multisensory environment across middle childhood, and particularly in the case of incidental learning. One hundred and eighty‐one children aged between 6 and 10 years participated in this study using a novel Multisensory Attention Learning Task (MALT). Participants were asked to respond to the presence of a target stimulus whilst ignoring distractors. Correct target selection resulted in the movement of the target exemplar to either the upper left or right screen quadrant, according to category membership. Category membership was defined either by visual‐only, auditory‐only or multisensory information. As early as 6 years of age, children demonstrated greater performance on the incidental categorization task following exposure to multisensory audiovisual cues compared to unisensory information. These findings provide important insight into the use of multisensory information in learning, and particularly on incidental category learning. Implications for the deployment of multisensory learning tasks within education across development will be discussed. The contents of this page will be used as part of the graphical abstract of html only. It will not be published as part of main. The role of unisensory and multisensory cues in incidental category learning was examined in 6‐ to 10‐year‐olds. A reliable facilitatory effect of multisensory stimuli was found from 6 years of age, but undergoes protracted development across the primary school years.
    April 26, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12554   open full text
  • Atypical inter‐hemispheric communication correlates with altered motor inhibition during learning of a new bimanual coordination pattern in developmental coordination disorder.
    Mélody Blais, David Amarantini, Jean‐Michel Albaret, Yves Chaix, Jessica Tallet.
    Developmental Science. April 25, 2017
    Impairment of motor learning skills in developmental coordination disorder (DCD) has been reported in several studies. Some hypotheses on neural mechanisms of motor learning deficits in DCD have emerged but, to date, brain‐imaging investigations are scarce. The aim of the present study is to assess possible changes in communication between brain areas during practice of a new bimanual coordination task in teenagers with DCD (n = 10) compared to matched controls (n = 10). Accuracy, stability and number of mirror movements were computed as behavioural variables. Neural variables were assessed by electroencephalographic coherence analyses of intra‐hemispheric and inter‐hemispheric fronto‐central electrodes. In both groups, accuracy of the new coordination increased concomitantly with right intra‐hemispheric fronto‐central coherence. Compared to typically developing teenagers, DCD teenagers presented learning difficulties expressed by less stability, no stabilization of the new coordination and a greater number of mirror movements despite practice. These measures correlated with reduced inter‐hemispheric communication, even after practice of the new coordination. For the first time, these findings provide neuro‐imaging evidence of a kind of inter‐hemispheric ‘disconnection’ related to altered inhibition of mirror movements during motor learning in DCD. Compared to typically developing teenagers, teenagers with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) present learning difficulties of a new bimanual coordination as revealed by a greater number of mirror movements despite practice. This measure is correlated with a reduced inter‐hemispheric communication even after practice of the new coordination. For the first time, these findings provide neuro‐imaging evidence of a kind of inter‐hemispheric ‘disconnection’ related to altered inhibition of mirror movements during motor learning in DCD.
    April 25, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12563   open full text
  • Development of infant sustained attention and its relation to EEG oscillations: an EEG and cortical source analysis study.
    Wanze Xie, Brittany M. Mallin, John E. Richards.
    Developmental Science. April 05, 2017
    The current study examined the relation between infant sustained attention and infant EEG oscillations. Fifty‐nine infants were tested at 6 (N = 15), 8 (N = 17), 10 (N = 14), and 12 (N = 13) months. Three attention phases, stimulus orienting, sustained attention, and attention termination, were defined based on infants' heart rate changes. Frequency analysis using simultaneously recorded EEG focused on infant theta (2–6 Hz), alpha (6–9 Hz), and beta (9–14 Hz) rhythms. Cortical source analysis of EEG oscillations was conducted with realistic infant MRI models. Theta synchronization was found over fontal pole, temporal, and parietal electrodes during infant sustained attention for 10 and 12 months. Alpha desynchronization was found over frontal, central and parietal electrodes during sustained attention. This alpha effect started to emerge at 10 months and became well established by 12 months. No difference was found for the beta rhythm between different attention phases. The theta synchronization effect was localized to the orbital frontal, temporal pole, and ventral temporal areas. The alpha desynchronization effect was localized to the brain regions composing the default mode network including the posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus, medial prefrontal cortex, and inferior parietal gyrus. The alpha desynchronization effect was also localized to the pre‐ and post‐central gyri. The present study demonstrates a connection between infant sustained attention and EEG oscillatory activities. This study establishes a connection between infant sustained attention and EEG oscillatory activations and demonstrates how this connection develops from 6 to 12 months of age. Infants were observed to show increased theta power and decreased alpha power during infant sustained attention. Cortical source analysis conducted in the current study localized the theta effect to the orbital frontal and ventral temporal regions and the alpha effect to the brain regions composing the default mode network.
    April 05, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12562   open full text
  • The development of bodily self‐consciousness: changing responses to the Full Body Illusion in childhood.
    Dorothy Cowie, Aisling McKenna, Andrew J. Bremner, Jane E. Aspell.
    Developmental Science. March 22, 2017
    The present work investigates the development of bodily self‐consciousness and its relation to multisensory bodily information, by measuring for the first time the development of responses to the full body illusion in childhood. We tested three age groups of children: 6‐ to 7‐year‐olds (n = 28); 8‐ to 9‐year‐olds (n = 21); 10‐ to 11‐year‐olds (n = 19), and a group of adults (n = 31). Each participant wore a head‐mounted display (HMD) which displayed a view from a video camera positioned 2 metres behind their own back. Thus, they could view a virtual body from behind. We manipulated visuo‐tactile synchrony by showing the participants a view of their virtual back being stroked with a stick at the same time and same place as their real back (synchronous condition), or at different times and places (asynchronous condition). After each period of stroking, we measured three aspects of bodily self‐consciousness: drift in perceived self‐location, self‐identification with the virtual body, and touch referral to the virtual body. Results show that self‐identification with the virtual body was significantly stronger in the synchronous condition than in the asynchronous condition even in the youngest group tested; however, the size of this effect increased with age. Touch referral to the virtual body was greater in the synchronous condition than in the asynchronous condition only for 10‐ to 11‐year‐olds and adults. Drift in perceived self‐location was greater in the synchronous condition than in the asynchronous condition only for adults. Thus, the youngest age tested can self‐identify with a virtual body, but the links between multisensory signals and bodily self‐consciousness develop significantly across childhood. This suggests a long period of development of the bodily self and exciting potential for the use of virtual reality technologies with children. In the Full Body Illusion, watching a virtual body being stroked at the same time as one's own produces multisensory correlations which evoke a sense of ownership over the virtual body. The strength of this effect increases from 6 to 10 years, suggesting an extended period of development in the links between multisensory signals and bodily self‐consciousness.
    March 22, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12557   open full text
  • Neuroscientific insights into the development of analogical reasoning.
    Kirstie J. Whitaker, Michael S. Vendetti, Carter Wendelken, Silvia A. Bunge.
    Developmental Science. March 12, 2017
    Analogical reasoning, or the ability to find correspondences between entities based on shared relationships, supports knowledge acquisition. As such, the development of this ability during childhood is thought to promote learning. Here, we sought to better understand the mechanisms by which analogical reasoning about semantic relations improves over childhood and adolescence (e.g. chalk is to chalkboard as pen is to…?). We hypothesized that age‐related differences would manifest as differences in the brain regions associated with one or more of the following cognitive functions: (1) controlled semantic retrieval, or the ability to retrieve task‐relevant semantic associations; (2) response control, or the ability to override the tendency to respond to a salient distractor; and/or (3) relational integration, or the ability to consider jointly two mental relations. In order to test these hypotheses, we analyzed patterns of fMRI activation during performance of a pictorial propositional analogy task across 95 typically developing children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. Despite large age‐related differences in task performance, particularly over ages 6–10 but through to around age 14, participants across the whole age range recruited a common network of frontal, parietal and temporal regions. However, activation in a brain region that has been implicated in controlled semantic retrieval – left anterior prefrontal cortex (BA 47/45) – was positively correlated with age, and also with performance after controlling for age. This finding indicates that improved performance over middle childhood and early adolescence on this analogical reasoning task is driven largely by improvements in the ability to selectively retrieve task‐relevant semantic relationships. When children and adolescents between 6 and 18 years of age are asked to complete a visual analogy, such as “chalk is to chalkboard as pen is to…?”, they engage many brain regions, including large swaths of prefrontal and parietal cortices. Here we show that activation in a brain region that has been implicated in controlled semantic retrieval – left anterior prefrontal cortex (BA 47/45) – was positively correlated with age, and also with performance after controlling for age. We infer that improved performance over middle childhood and early adolescence on this analogical reasoning task is driven largely by improvements in the ability to selectively retrieve task‐relevant semantic relationships.
    March 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12531   open full text
  • Development of allocentric spatial recall from new viewpoints in virtual reality.
    James Negen, Edward Heywood‐Everett, Hannah E. Roome, Marko Nardini.
    Developmental Science. March 02, 2017
    Using landmarks and other scene features to recall locations from new viewpoints is a critical skill in spatial cognition. In an immersive virtual reality task, we asked children 3.5–4.5 years old to remember the location of a target using various cues. On some trials they could use information from their own self‐motion. On some trials they could use a view match. In the very hardest kind of trial, they were ‘teleported’ to a new viewpoint and could only use an allocentric spatial representation. This approach provides a strict test for allocentric coding (without either a matching viewpoint or self‐motion information) while avoiding additional task demands in previous studies (it does not require them to deal with a small table‐top environment or to manage stronger cue conflicts). Both the younger and older groups were able to point back at the target location better than chance when they could use view matching and/or self‐motion, but allocentric recall was only seen in the older group (4.0–4.5). In addition, we only obtained evidence for a specific kind of allocentric recall in the older group: they tracked one major axis of the space significantly above chance, r(158) = .28, but not the other, r(158) = −.01. We conclude that there is a major qualitative change in coding for spatial recall around the fourth birthday, potentially followed by further development towards fully flexible recall from new viewpoints. Children 3.5 to 4.5 years old played a spatial memory game in this virtual environment. Under 4 years, they did not successfully use the landmarks to remember the duck's location when they were ‘teleported’ from one end of the jetty to the other, which disrupts egocentric strategies. However, they did remember when they walked to the other end and were ‘teleported’ back to the original viewpoint.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12496   open full text
  • Peripheral and central contribution to the difficulty of speech in noise perception in dyslexic children.
    Axelle Calcus, Paul Deltenre, Cécile Colin, Régine Kolinsky.
    Developmental Science. March 02, 2017
    Noise typically induces both peripheral and central masking of an auditory target. Whereas the idea that a deficit of speech in noise perception is inherent to dyslexia is still debated, most studies have actually focused on the peripheral contribution to the dyslexics’ difficulties of perceiving speech in noise. Here, we investigated the respective contribution of both peripheral and central noise in three groups of children: dyslexic, chronological age matched controls (CA), and reading‐level matched controls (RL). In all noise conditions, dyslexics displayed significantly lower performance than CA controls. However, they performed similarly or even better than RL controls. Scrutinizing individual profiles failed to reveal a strong consistency in the speech perception difficulties experienced across all noise conditions, or across noise conditions and reading‐related performances. Taken together, our results thus suggest that both peripheral and central interference contribute to the poorer speech in noise perception of dyslexic children, but that this difficulty is not a core deficit inherent to dyslexia. We examined the respective influence of peripheral and central interference on speech in noise perception in dyslexic and control children. Dyslexic performed significantly worse than chronological age matched controls when facing both kinds of interference. However, dyslexics performed similarly or even better than reading‐level matched controls.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12558   open full text
  • The ontogeny of relational memory and pattern separation.
    Chi T. Ngo, Nora S. Newcombe, Ingrid R. Olson.
    Developmental Science. March 02, 2017
    Episodic memory relies on memory for the relations among multiple elements of an event and the ability to discriminate among similar elements of episodes. The latter phenomenon, termed pattern separation, has been studied mainly in young and older adults with relatively little research on children. Building on prior work with young children, we created an engaging computer‐administered relational memory task assessing what‐where relations. We also modified the Mnemonic Similarity Task used to assess pattern discrimination in young and older adults for use with preschool children. Results showed that 4‐year‐olds performed significantly worse than 6‐year‐olds and adults on both tasks, whereas 6‐year‐olds and adults performed comparably, even though there were no ceiling effects. However, performance on the two tasks did not correlate, suggesting that two distinct mnemonic processes with different developmental trajectories may contribute to age‐related changes in episodic memory. Episodic memory relies on memory for the relations among multiple elements of an event (relational memory) and the ability to discriminate among similar elements of episodes (pattern separation). The current study examined the developmental changes in both processes in early childhood using age‐appropriate tasks. We found significant improvements in relational memory and pattern separation between the ages of four and six. However, performances on the two tasks did not relate to one another, suggesting that two distinct mnemonic processes may contribute to age‐related changes in episodic memory.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12556   open full text
  • Auditory‐motor adaptation is reduced in adults who stutter but not in children who stutter.
    Ayoub Daliri, Elizabeth A. Wieland, Shanqing Cai, Frank H. Guenther, Soo‐Eun Chang.
    Developmental Science. March 02, 2017
    Previous studies have shown that adults who stutter produce smaller corrective motor responses to compensate for unexpected auditory perturbations in comparison to adults who do not stutter, suggesting that stuttering may be associated with deficits in integration of auditory feedback for online speech monitoring. In this study, we examined whether stuttering is also associated with deficiencies in integrating and using discrepancies between expected and received auditory feedback to adaptively update motor programs for accurate speech production. Using a sensorimotor adaptation paradigm, we measured adaptive speech responses to auditory formant frequency perturbations in adults and children who stutter and their matched nonstuttering controls. We found that the magnitude of the speech adaptive response for children who stutter did not differ from that of fluent children. However, the adaptation magnitude of adults who stutter in response to auditory perturbation was significantly smaller than the adaptation magnitude of adults who do not stutter. Together these results indicate that stuttering is associated with deficits in integrating discrepancies between predicted and received auditory feedback to calibrate the speech production system in adults but not children. This auditory‐motor integration deficit thus appears to be a compensatory effect that develops over years of stuttering. We examined auditory‐motor adaptation in children and adults who stutter. The magnitude of the speech adaptive response for children who stutter did not differ from that of fluent children. However, the magnitude of adaptation of adults who stutter was significantly smaller than that of adults who do not stutter.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12521   open full text
  • Tracking independence and merging of prosodic and phonemic processing across infancy.
    Angelika Becker, Ulrike Schild, Claudia K. Friedrich.
    Developmental Science. March 02, 2017
    Recent evidence suggests division of labor in phonological analysis underlying speech recognition. Adults and children appear to decompose the speech stream into phoneme‐relevant information and into syllable stress. Here we investigate whether both speech processing streams develop from a common path in infancy, or whether there are two separate streams from early on. We presented stressed and unstressed syllables (spoken primes) followed by initially stressed early learned disyllabic German words (spoken targets). Stress overlap and phoneme overlap between the primes and the initial syllable of the targets varied orthogonally. We tested infants 3, 6 and 9 months after birth. Event‐related potentials (ERPs) revealed stress priming without phoneme priming in the 3‐month‐olds; phoneme priming without stress priming in the 6‐month‐olds; and phoneme priming, stress priming as well as an interaction of both in 9‐month‐olds. In general the present findings reveal that infants start with separate processing streams related to syllable stress and to phoneme‐relevant information; and that they need to learn to merge both aspects of speech processing. In particular the present results suggest (i) that phoneme‐free prosodic processing dominates in early infancy; (ii) that prosody‐free phoneme processing dominates in middle infancy; and (iii) that both types of processing are operating in parallel and can be merged in late infancy. Using word onset priming, we tested whether infants represent phonemes and syllable stress of frequently appearing words. Event‐related potentials revealed that 3‐month‐olds focus on syllable stress, while 6‐month‐olds focus on phonemes. Only 9‐month‐olds combined both aspects of the speech signal.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12525   open full text
  • The procedural learning deficit hypothesis of language learning disorders: we see some problems.
    Gillian West, Miguel A. Vadillo, David R. Shanks, Charles Hulme.
    Developmental Science. March 02, 2017
    Impaired procedural learning has been suggested as a possible cause of developmental dyslexia (DD) and specific language impairment (SLI). This study examined the relationship between measures of verbal and non‐verbal implicit and explicit learning and measures of language, literacy and arithmetic attainment in a large sample of 7 to 8‐year‐old children. Measures of verbal explicit learning were correlated with measures of attainment. In contrast, no relationships between measures of implicit learning and attainment were found. Critically, the reliability of the implicit learning tasks was poor. Our results show that measures of procedural learning, as currently used, are typically unreliable and insensitive to individual differences. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnvV-BvNWSo This study investigated the relationships between measures of verbal and non‐verbal declarative and procedural learning and attainment in language skills in a large unselected sample of children. We found that verbal declarative memory skills correlated with language ability. However, the procedural memory tasks were found to be unreliable and correlated poorly with each other and with measures of language skills.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12552   open full text
  • It's about time: revisiting temporal processing deficits in dyslexia.
    Laurence Casini, Catherine Pech‐Georgel, Johannes C. Ziegler.
    Developmental Science. February 27, 2017
    Temporal processing in French children with dyslexia was evaluated in three tasks: a word identification task requiring implicit temporal processing, and two explicit temporal bisection tasks, one in the auditory and one in the visual modality. Normally developing children matched on chronological age and reading level served as a control group. Children with dyslexia exhibited robust deficits in temporal tasks whether they were explicit or implicit and whether they involved the auditory or the visual modality. First, they presented larger perceptual variability when performing temporal tasks, whereas they showed no such difficulties when performing the same task on a non‐temporal dimension (intensity). This dissociation suggests that their difficulties were specific to temporal processing and could not be attributed to lapses of attention, reduced alertness, faulty anchoring, or overall noisy processing. In the framework of cognitive models of time perception, these data point to a dysfunction of the ‘internal clock’ of dyslexic children. These results are broadly compatible with the recent temporal sampling theory of dyslexia. Temporal processing in French children with dyslexia was evaluated in both explicit and implicit temporal tasks and in auditory and visual modalities. We found a greater variability in time estimation (in all tasks) correlated with a poor phonological awareness and difficulties in word reading. Impaired temporal processing that we attributed to a dysfunction of the “internal clock” in children with dyslexia might be directly related to inefficient temporal sampling and poor extraction of temporal cues, probably at the origin of phonological deficits found in dyslexia.
    February 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12530   open full text
  • Reach tracking reveals dissociable processes underlying inhibitory control in 5‐ to 10‐year‐olds and adults.
    Christopher D. Erb, Jeff Moher, Joo‐Hyun Song, David M. Sobel.
    Developmental Science. February 24, 2017
    Researchers have proposed that two processes featuring distinct types of inhibition support inhibitory control: a response threshold adjustment process involving the global inhibition of motor output and a conflict resolution process involving competitive inhibition among co‐active response alternatives. To target the development of these processes, we measured the reaching behavior of 5‐ to 10‐year‐olds (Experiment 1) and adults (Experiment 2) as they performed an Eriksen flanker task. This method provided two key measures: initiation time (the time elapsed between stimulus onset and movement onset) and reach curvature (the degree to which a movement deviates from a direct path to the selected target). We suggest that initiation time reflects the response threshold adjustment process by indexing the degree of motoric stopping experienced before a movement is started, while reach curvature reflects the conflict resolution process by indexing the degree of co‐activation between response alternatives over the course of a movement. Our results support this claim, revealing different patterns effects in initiation time and curvature, and divergent developmental trajectories between childhood and adulthood. These findings provide behavioral evidence for the dissociation between global and competitive inhibition, and offer new insight into the development of inhibitory control. Two of the measures afforded by reach tracking, initiation time and curvature, revealed distinct patterns of trial sequence effects in the Eriksen flanker task in children 5 to 10 years of age and adults. We propose that the pattern of effects observed in initiation time reflects a response threshold adjustment process involving the global inhibition of motor output, while the pattern observed in reach curvature reflects a conflict resolution process involving competitive inhibition among co‐active response alternatives.
    February 24, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12523   open full text
  • Children's selective trust decisions: rational competence and limiting performance factors.
    Jonas Hermes, Tanya Behne, Anna Elisa Bich, Christa Thielert, Hannes Rakoczy.
    Developmental Science. February 22, 2017
    Recent research has amply documented that even preschoolers learn selectively from others, preferring, for example, reliable over unreliable and competent over incompetent models. It remains unclear, however, what the cognitive foundations of such selective learning are, in particular, whether it builds on rational inferences or on less sophisticated processes. The current study, therefore, was designed to test directly the possibility that children are in principle capable of selective learning based on rational inference, yet revert to simpler strategies such as global impression formation under certain circumstances. Preschoolers (N = 75) were shown pairs of models that either differed in their degree of competence within one domain (strong vs. weak or knowledgeable vs. ignorant) or were both highly competent, but in different domains (e.g., strong vs. knowledgeable model). In the test trials, children chose between the models for strength‐ or knowledge‐related tasks. The results suggest that, in fact, children are capable of rational inference‐based selective trust: when both models were highly competent, children preferred the model with the competence most predictive and relevant for a given task. However, when choosing between two models that differed in competence on one dimension, children reverted to halo‐style wide generalizations and preferred the competent models for both relevant and irrelevant tasks. These findings suggest that the rational strategies for selective learning, that children master in principle, can get masked by various performance factors. Preschoolers are capable of rational inference on the basis of trait reasoning in their selective trust. Yet, they fall back on simpler cognitive strategies (e.g., global impression formation) due to limiting performance factors, such as a lack of relevant trait knowledge, insufficient executive function, or task structures that facilitate simpler strategies.
    February 22, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12527   open full text
  • Transition to success on the model room task: the importance of improvements in working memory.
    Lauren E. Hartstein, Neil E. Berthier.
    Developmental Science. February 22, 2017
    Previous work has shown that children under age 3 often perform very poorly on the model room task, in which they are asked to find a hidden toy based on its location in a scale model. One prominent theory for their failure is that they lack the ability to understand the model as both a physical object and as a symbolic representation of the larger room. A hypothesized additional component is that they need to overcome weak, competing representations of where the object was on a previous trial, and where it is in the present trial, in order to succeed in their search. Children aged 33–39 months were tested on the model room task, as well as on measures of cognitive inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and working memory. Results showed that performance on the model room task was not predicted by measures of inhibitory control or cognitive flexibility, but was predicted by performance on the Delayed Recognition Span Test (DRST), a measure of working memory. These findings lend support to the theory of competing representations and demonstrate the necessity of updating and maintaining strong representations in working memory to succeed in the search task. Success on the DeLoache Model Room Task was predicted by performance on the Delayed Recognition Span Test in children aged 33–39months. The data suggests that working memory updating is a key component in success on the dual representation Model Room Task.
    February 22, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12538   open full text
  • What explains the correlation between growth in vocabulary and grammar? New evidence from latent change score analyses of simultaneous bilingual development.
    Erika Hoff, Jamie M. Quinn, David Giguere.
    Developmental Science. February 22, 2017
    A close relationship between children's vocabulary size and the grammatical complexity of their speech is well attested but not well understood. The present study used latent change score modeling to examine the dynamic relationships between vocabulary and grammar growth within and across languages in longitudinal data from 90 simultaneous Spanish–English bilingual children who were assessed at 6‐month intervals between 30 and 48 months. Slopes of vocabulary and grammar growth were strongly correlated within each language and showed moderate or nonsignificant relationships across languages. There was no evidence that vocabulary level predicted subsequent grammar growth or that the level of grammatical development predicted subsequent vocabulary growth. We propose that a common influence of properties of input on vocabulary and grammatical development is the source of their correlated but uncoupled growth. An unanticipated across‐language finding was a negative relationship between level of English skill and subsequent Spanish growth. We propose that the cultural context of Spanish–English bilingualism in the US is the reason that strong English skills jeopardize Spanish language growth, while Spanish skills do not affect English growth. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/qEHSQ0yRre0 Young bilingual children's rate of growth in vocabulary and grammar are related within English and within Spanish (shown here for English). There is no evidence that grammar depends on vocabulary or vocabulary depends on grammar, nor do the relations seem due to a general ability because they are strong and reliable only within languages. We suggest the tandem development of vocabulary and grammar reflects the influence of properties of input that benefit children's development in both linguistic domains, but only in that language.
    February 22, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12536   open full text
  • How does social essentialism affect the development of inter‐group relations?
    Marjorie Rhodes, Sarah‐Jane Leslie, Katya Saunders, Yarrow Dunham, Andrei Cimpian.
    Developmental Science. February 22, 2017
    Psychological essentialism is a pervasive conceptual bias to view categories as reflecting something deep, stable, and informative about their members. Scholars from diverse disciplines have long theorized that psychological essentialism has negative ramifications for inter‐group relations, yet little previous empirical work has experimentally tested the social implications of essentialist beliefs. Three studies (N = 127, ages 4.5–6) found that experimentally inducing essentialist beliefs about a novel social category led children to share fewer resources with category members, but did not lead to the out‐group dislike that defines social prejudice. These findings indicate that essentialism negatively influences some key components of inter‐group relations, but does not lead directly to the development of prejudice. Three studies examined the implications of essentialism‐‐induced via exposure to generic language‐‐for children's beliefs and attitudes towards a novel social group. Across studies, hearing generic language led children to have more essentialist beliefs about the group and to share fewer resources with group members, but did not lead to out‐group dislike. Essentialism thus underlies some negative intergroup phenomena, but does not lead directly to the development of prejudice.
    February 22, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12509   open full text
  • Developmental changes in the whole number bias.
    David W. Braithwaite, Robert S. Siegler.
    Developmental Science. February 22, 2017
    Many students’ knowledge of fractions is adversely affected by whole number bias, the tendency to focus on the separate whole number components (numerator and denominator) of a fraction rather than on the fraction's magnitude (ratio of numerator to denominator). Although whole number bias appears early in the fraction learning process and under speeded conditions persists into adulthood, even among mathematicians, little is known about its development. Performance with equivalent fractions indicated that between fourth and eighth grade, whole number bias decreased, and reliance on fraction magnitudes increased. These trends were present on both fraction magnitude comparison and number line estimation. However, analyses of individual children's performance indicated that a substantial minority of fourth graders did not show whole number bias and that a substantial minority of eighth graders did show it. Implications of the findings for development of understanding of fraction equivalence and for theories of numerical development are discussed. Whole number bias in children's understanding of fractions decreased from fourth to eighth grade. This change was driven by an increase in the number of children relying on fraction magnitude representations and a concurrent decrease in the number of children relying on componential or hybrid representations.
    February 22, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12541   open full text
  • Young children perceive less humanness in outgroup faces.
    Niamh McLoughlin, Steven P. Tipper, Harriet Over.
    Developmental Science. February 21, 2017
    We investigated when young children first dehumanize outgroups. Across two studies, 5‐ and 6‐year‐olds were asked to rate how human they thought a set of ambiguous doll‐human face morphs were. We manipulated whether these faces belonged to their gender in‐ or gender outgroup (Study 1) and to a geographically based in‐ or outgroup (Study 2). In both studies, the tendency to perceive outgroup faces as less human relative to ingroup faces increased with age. Explicit ingroup preference, in contrast, was present even in the youngest children and remained stable across age. These results demonstrate that children dehumanize outgroup members from relatively early in development and suggest that the tendency to do so may be partially distinguishable from intergroup preference. This research has important implications for our understanding of children's perception of humanness and the origins of intergroup bias. The developmental origins of dehumanization were investigated across two studies. We asked a sample of 5‐ and 6‐year‐olds to judge how human a set of ambiguous doll‐human face morphs were when they belonged to their ingroup and their outgroup. In Study 1, the groups were based on gender and in Study 2 they were based on geographical location. In both studies, older children showed a tendency to perceive less humanness in outgroup faces. Interestingly, the strength of this dehumanization bias did not relate to children's explicit intergroup preference.
    February 21, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12539   open full text
  • Children remember words from ignorant speakers but do not attach meaning: evidence from event‐related potentials.
    Haykaz Mangardich, Mark A. Sabbagh.
    Developmental Science. February 21, 2017
    Although we know much about the conditions under which children demonstrate selective social learning, we have a limited understanding of the cognitive mechanisms by which children's selectivity manifests. Here, we report findings from a brain electrophysiological (ERP) study designed to determine the extent to which words presented by ignorant speakers were later both familiar to children and associated with semantic meaning. Forty‐eight children (mean age = 6.5 years) first experienced novel word training from either a knowledgeable or an ignorant speaker. Children's ERPs were subsequently recorded as they heard a recording of the speaker using the novel word, followed by a picture of either the object the word was paired with during training (congruent) or a distractor object that was also present during training (incongruent). Children trained by a knowledgeable speaker showed both N200 and N400 effects to the incongruent word–referent pairings, thereby suggesting that the novel words were both familiar and bore a semantic association. In contrast, children trained by an ignorant speaker demonstrated only the N200 effect, thereby suggesting that the word–referent links were familiar, but not associated with semantic meaning. These findings provide evidence that selective word learning involves the disruption of processes specifically associated with semantic consolidation of word learning events. This study used a combined word training ‐ ERP paradigm to investigate the cognitive mechanisms underlying children's selective word learning. Children who were trained novel word‐referent links by an ignorant speaker encoded the links, but did not associate semantic meaning to these links, suggesting that selective word learning involves the disruption of processes specifically associated with the semantic consolidation of word learning events.
    February 21, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12544   open full text
  • Acquisition of abstract concepts is influenced by emotional valence.
    Marta Ponari, Courtenay Frazier Norbury, Gabriella Vigliocco.
    Developmental Science. February 21, 2017
    There is considerable lack of evidence concerning the linguistic and cognitive skills underpinning abstract vocabulary acquisition. The present study considers the role of emotional valence in providing an embodied learning experience in which to anchor abstract meanings. First, analyses of adult ratings of age‐of‐acquisition, concreteness and valence demonstrate that abstract words acquired early tend to be emotionally valenced. Second, auditory Lexical Decision accuracies of children aged 6–7, 8–9, and 10–11 years (n = 20 per group) complement these analyses, demonstrating that emotional valence facilitates processing of abstract words, but not concrete. These findings provide the first evidence that young, school‐aged children are sensitive to emotional valence and that this facilitates acquisition of abstract words. In this study we report converging evidence from both analyses of age‐of‐acquisition ratings and children’s performance on an auditory lexical decision task, showing that emotion (especially positive) plays a role in learning early abstract words, particularly at around the age of 8–9.
    February 21, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12549   open full text
  • Dorsal stream function in the young child: an fMRI investigation of visually guided action.
    Karin H. James, Alyssa J. Kersey.
    Developmental Science. February 15, 2017
    Visually guided action is a ubiquitous component of human behavior, but the neural substrates that support the development of this behavior are unknown. Here we take an initial step in documenting visual‐motor system development in the young (4‐ to 7‐year‐old) child. Through functional MRI and by using a new technique to measure the mechanisms underlying real‐time visually guided action in the MRI environment, we demonstrate that children rely primarily on the IPS and cerebellum for this complex behavior. This pattern is consistent across three different visually guided actions, suggesting generalizability of these neural substrates across such tasks. However, minor differences in neural processing across tasks were also demonstrated. Overall, results are interpreted as demonstrating that the functions of the dorsal stream can be viewed as fairly mature in the young child. These results provide a benchmark for future studies that aim to understand the development of the neural circuitry for visually guided action. This study takes the initial steps in documenting the neural correlates that underly visually guided action in the 4‐ to 7‐year‐old child. Real time imaging of 3 different visually guided actions revealed a network of regions in the intraparietal sulci and the cerebellum that are important for visually guided actions in young children.
    February 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12546   open full text
  • Learning across languages: bilingual experience supports dual language statistical word segmentation.
    Dylan M. Antovich, Katharine Graf Estes.
    Developmental Science. February 03, 2017
    Bilingual acquisition presents learning challenges beyond those found in monolingual environments, including the need to segment speech in two languages. Infants may use statistical cues, such as syllable‐level transitional probabilities, to segment words from fluent speech. In the present study we assessed monolingual and bilingual 14‐month‐olds’ abilities to segment two artificial languages using transitional probability cues. In Experiment 1, monolingual infants successfully segmented the speech streams when the languages were presented individually. However, monolinguals did not segment the same language stimuli when they were presented together in interleaved segments, mimicking the language switches inherent to bilingual speech. To assess the effect of real‐world bilingual experience on dual language speech segmentation, Experiment 2 tested infants with regular exposure to two languages using the same interleaved language stimuli as Experiment 1. The bilingual infants in Experiment 2 successfully segmented the languages, indicating that early exposure to two languages supports infants’ abilities to segment dual language speech using transitional probability cues. These findings support the notion that early bilingual exposure prepares infants to navigate challenging aspects of dual language environments as they begin to acquire two languages. Bilingual, but not monolingual 14‐month‐old infants segmented two interleaved artificial languages using statistical cues. This suggests that early exposure to two languages supports infants’ abilities to segment dual language speech using transitional probabilities
    February 03, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12548   open full text
  • Older but not younger infants associate own‐race faces with happy music and other‐race faces with sad music.
    Naiqi G. Xiao, Paul C. Quinn, Shaoying Liu, Liezhong Ge, Olivier Pascalis, Kang Lee.
    Developmental Science. February 03, 2017
    We used a novel intermodal association task to examine whether infants associate own‐ and other‐race faces with music of different emotional valences. Three‐ to 9‐month‐olds saw a series of neutral own‐ or other‐race faces paired with happy or sad musical excerpts. Three‐ to 6‐month‐olds did not show any specific association between face race and music. At 9 months, however, infants looked longer at own‐race faces paired with happy music than at own‐race faces paired with sad music. Nine‐month‐olds also looked longer at other‐race faces paired with sad music than at other‐race faces paired with happy music. These results indicate that infants with nearly exclusive own‐race face experience develop associations between face race and music emotional valence in the first year of life. The potential implications of such associations for developing racial biases in early childhood are discussed. Asian 9‐month‐olds showed associations between face race and music emotional valence by exhibiting longer looking to own‐race (Asian) faces paired with happy music than to own‐race (Asian) faces paired with sad music and longer looking to other‐race (African) faces paired with sad music than to other‐race faces (African) paired with happy music. Asian 3‐ and 6‐month‐olds did not show such associations.
    February 03, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12537   open full text
  • Around the world, adolescence is a time of heightened sensation seeking and immature self‐regulation.
    Laurence Steinberg, Grace Icenogle, Elizabeth P. Shulman, Kaitlyn Breiner, Jason Chein, Dario Bacchini, Lei Chang, Nandita Chaudhary, Laura Di Giunta, Kenneth A. Dodge, Kostas A. Fanti, Jennifer E. Lansford, Patrick S. Malone, Paul Oburu, Concetta Pastorelli, Ann T. Skinner, Emma Sorbring, Sombat Tapanya, Liliana Maria Uribe Tirado, Liane Peña Alampay, Suha M. Al‐Hassan, Hanan M. S. Takash.
    Developmental Science. February 01, 2017
    The dual systems model of adolescent risk‐taking portrays the period as one characterized by a combination of heightened sensation seeking and still‐maturing self‐regulation, but most tests of this model have been conducted in the United States or Western Europe. In the present study, these propositions are tested in an international sample of more than 5000 individuals between ages 10 and 30 years from 11 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, using a multi‐method test battery that includes both self‐report and performance‐based measures of both constructs. Consistent with the dual systems model, sensation seeking increased between preadolescence and late adolescence, peaked at age 19, and declined thereafter, whereas self‐regulation increased steadily from preadolescence into young adulthood, reaching a plateau between ages 23 and 26. Although there were some variations in the magnitude of the observed age trends, the developmental patterns were largely similar across countries. Data from young people in 11 countries indicates that sensation seeking peaks around age 19, then declines during the twenties, whereas self‐regulation increases linearly from preadolescence into the early twenties, at which point it plateaus.
    February 01, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12532   open full text
  • Positive parenting predicts cortisol functioning six years later in young adults.
    Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff, Martie L. Skinner, Ezemenari M. Obasi, Kevin P. Haggerty.
    Developmental Science. January 30, 2017
    Research which indicates that adverse experiences influence hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis functioning illustrates the social environment ‘getting under the skin’. The present study extended this literature by examining whether positive social forces within the caregiving environment can also impact cortisol functioning. We conducted a prospective investigation of over 300 youth, half of whom were White and half were Black. Attachment, bonding and parental rewards for positive behaviors were observed or reported by the youth as an 8th grader. Twelve repeated measures of salivary cortisol were examined six years later when youth were young adults (mean age 20). Race differences were explored. Stronger attachment, bonding and teen‐reported positive parenting were predictive of high waking cortisol and steeper diurnal slopes six years later. This effect was nonlinear and additive, such that youth whose social contexts were characterized by the strongest attachment, bonding and rewarding parental relationships had the highest waking cortisol. When effects were moderated by race, findings were such that links of positive parenting with HPA functioning were more consistent for White than Black youth. Findings suggest that positive aspects of the caregiving environment can also ‘get under the skin’ and these effects are additive across a range of caregiving indices. These findings dovetail with an emerging literature on the powerful role of social support for shaping the body's stress response system and are interpreted as consistent with the Adaptive Calibration Model which suggests that cortisol regulation can have adaptive significance. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/8evHXpt_TXM. In a prospective investigation of over 300 youth, half of whom were White and half were Black, we found that stronger attachment, bonding and teen‐reported positive parenting were predictive of high waking cortisol and steeper diurnal slopes six years later when youth were emerging adults. When effects were moderated by race, links of positive parenting with HPA functioning were more consistent for White than Black youth. Positive aspects of the caregiving environment may also “get under the skin” and these effects are additive across a range of caregiving indices.
    January 30, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12461   open full text
  • Power in methods: language to infants in structured and naturalistic contexts.
    Catherine S. Tamis‐LeMonda, Yana Kuchirko, Rufan Luo, Kelly Escobar, Marc H. Bornstein.
    Developmental Science. January 16, 2017
    Methods can powerfully affect conclusions about infant experiences and learning. Data from naturalistic observations may paint a very different picture of learning and development from those based on structured tasks, as illustrated in studies of infant walking, object permanence, intention understanding, and so forth. Using language as a model system, we compared the speech of 40 mothers to their 13‐month‐old infants during structured play and naturalistic home routines. The contrasting methods yielded unique portrayals of infant language experiences, while simultaneously underscoring cross‐situational correspondence at an individual level. Infants experienced substantially more total words and different words per minute during structured play than they did during naturalistic routines. Language input during structured play was consistently dense from minute to minute, whereas language during naturalistic routines showed striking fluctuations interspersed with silence. Despite these differences, infants' language experiences during structured play mirrored the peak language interactions infants experienced during naturalistic routines, and correlations between language inputs in the two conditions were strong. The implications of developmental methods for documenting the nature of experiences and individual differences are discussed. Language inputs to infants were examined during 5 minutes of structured play and 45 minutes of naturalistic interaction at home. As seen in figures 3a to 3d, enormous intra‐individual fluctuations characterized the word tokens and types of infant‐directed speech during naturalistic interactions, whereas speech to infants during structured play was uniformly high and dense, with little fluctuation. Despite these differences, language input during structured play related strongly to language input during the peak 5 minutes of talk during naturalistic routines. Different methods yield different yet useful windows into the language experiences of infants.
    January 16, 2017   doi: 10.1111/desc.12456   open full text
  • Reading comprehension and immersion schooling: evidence from component skills.
    Laura Birke Hansen, Julia Morales, Pedro Macizo, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, David Saldaña, Manuel Carreiras, Luis J. Fuentes, M. Teresa Bajo.
    Developmental Science. December 29, 2016
    The present research aims to assess literacy acquisition in children becoming bilingual via second language immersion in school. We adopt a cognitive components approach, assessing text‐level reading comprehension, a complex literacy skill, as well as underlying cognitive and linguistic components in 144 children aged 7 to 14 (72 immersion bilinguals, 72 controls). Using principal component analysis, a nuanced pattern of results was observed: although emergent bilinguals lag behind their monolingual counterparts on measures of linguistic processing, they showed enhanced performance on a memory and reasoning component. For reading comprehension, no between‐group differences were evident, suggesting that selective benefits compensate costs at the level of underlying cognitive components. Overall, the results seem to indicate that literacy skills may be modulated by emerging bilingualism even when no between‐group differences are evident at the level of complex skill, and the detection of such differences may depend on the focus and selectivity of the task battery used. Cognitive components underlying L1 literacy acquisition are modulated by emerging bilingualism through L2 immersion education. Costs and benefits are observed at the level of cognitive components –linguistic processes on the one hand, memory and reasoning skills on the other hand, but compensate each other at the complex skill level.
    December 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12454   open full text
  • Taxing behavioral control diminishes sharing and costly punishment in childhood.
    Nikolaus Steinbeis.
    Developmental Science. December 29, 2016
    Instances of altruism in children are well documented. However, the underlying mechanisms of such altruistic behavior are still under considerable debate. While some claim that altruistic acts occur automatically and spontaneously, others argue that they require behavioral control. This study focuses on the mechanisms that give rise to prosocial decisions such as sharing and costly punishment. In two studies it is shown in 124 children aged 6–9 years that behavioral control plays a critical role for both prosocial decisions and costly punishment. Specifically, the studies assess the influence of taxing aspects of self‐regulation, such as behavioral control (Study 1) and emotion regulation (Study 2) on subsequent decisions in a Dictator and an Ultimatum Game. Further, children's perception of fairness norms and emotional experience were measured. Taxing children's behavioral control prior to making their decisions reduced sharing and costly punishment of unfair offers, without changing perception of fairness norms or the emotional experience. Conversely, taxing children's emotion regulation prior to making their decisions only led to increased experience of anger at seeing unfair offers, but left sharing, costly punishment and the perception of fairness norms unchanged. These findings stress the critical role of behavioral control in prosocial giving and costly punishment in childhood. This study establishes a functional role for behavioral control in altruistic decisions in childhood. After taxing behavioral control children became less altruistic as indicated by a decrease in sharing and an increase in accepting unfair offers. A control experiment that taxed children’s emotion regulation before making their decision showed no such effect. The results carve out a special role for a specific behavioral control mechanism in altruistic decisions during childhood.
    December 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12492   open full text
  • Adults blink more deeply: a comparative study of the attentional blink across different age groups.
    Natalie Russo, Wendy R. Kates, Nicole Shea, Megan LeBlanc, Bradley Wyble.
    Developmental Science. December 29, 2016
    The attentional blink (AB) is thought to help the visual system parse and categorize rapidly changing information by segmenting it into temporal chunks, and is elicited using Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. It is reflected in a decrease in accuracy at detecting the second of two targets presented within 200–500 ms of the first, and its development appears to be protracted on tasks that require set‐shifting. Here, younger (M = 8.5 years) and older (M = 12.8 years) children and adults (M = 19.13 years) completed a simple AB task with no set‐shift requirement in which participants detected two letters in a stream of numbers presented at a rate of 135 ms/item. In addition to assessing the developmental course of the AB on this simple task, we also assessed temporal order errors, or swaps. The AB and its associated characteristics are present in both groups but developmental differences were noted in the depth of the AB, and the presence or absence of lag‐1 sparing. These developmental changes were explained by changes in a single parameter, inhibition, using the eTST model, which suggests that the AB is an adaptive function of the visual system. The attentional blink (AB) is commonly thought to reflect a limitation on the rate of information processing, since it shows that people have trouble identifying two targets when they are presented closely in time. However, another possibility is that the attentional blink reflects an adaptive attentional mechanism that allows for temporal chunking of incoming visual information. This theory predicts that the AB should increase during development, as this attentional system matures. Here, using a simpler design, we find that the AB depth increased with increasing age across childhood, adolescence and into adulthood (top of Figure). Temporal order errors also decreased as the AB increased (bottom of Figure) suggesting a tradeoff. Both of these results could be simulated by the eSTST model of the attentional blink (Wyble et al., 2009) through an increase in the strength of inhibitory control with age.
    December 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12512   open full text
  • Audio‐visual speech in noise perception in dyslexia.
    Thijs Laarhoven, Mirjam Keetels, Lemmy Schakel, Jean Vroomen.
    Developmental Science. December 18, 2016
    Individuals with developmental dyslexia (DD) may experience, besides reading problems, other speech‐related processing deficits. Here, we examined the influence of visual articulatory information (lip‐read speech) at various levels of background noise on auditory word recognition in children and adults with DD. We found that children with a documented history of DD have deficits in their ability to gain benefit from lip‐read information that disambiguates noise‐masked speech. We show with another group of adult individuals with DD that these deficits persist into adulthood. These deficits could not be attributed to impairments in unisensory auditory word recognition. Rather, the results indicate a specific deficit in audio‐visual speech processing and suggest that impaired multisensory integration might be an important aspect of DD. Individuals with developmental dyslexia benefited substantially less than subjects with typical development from lip‐read information that disambiguates noise‐masked speech, regardless of age and SNR. These results indicate a specific deficit in audio‐visual word recognition in our sample of individuals with dyslexia and suggest that impaired multisensory integration might be an important aspect of developmental dyslexia.
    December 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12504   open full text
  • Frontal theta activation associated with error detection in toddlers: influence of familial socioeconomic status.
    Ángela Conejero, Sonia Guerra, Alicia Abundis‐Gutiérrez, M. Rosario Rueda.
    Developmental Science. December 15, 2016
    Error detection is one of the functions of the executive attention network, a brain system involved in executive control that includes the anterior cingulate cortex and other prefrontal regions. Despite the key role of this function in a wide range of life outcomes, very limited research has examined the early development of the network and whether its functional efficacy is related to environmental factors. Electrophysiological studies with adults have shown oscillatory activity in theta (4–7 Hz) range arising from medial frontal cortex that follows the detection of self‐committed or observed errors. In the current study, we designed a novel experimental procedure that involved a familiarization phase with simple three‐pieces puzzles followed by an experimental phase in which toddlers observed the puzzles being formed either correctly or incorrectly. Observation of incorrect configurations produced increased potentials in midline channels and greater power theta activity for both toddlers (n = 56) and adults (n = 14). In addition, socioeconomic status of the family in general, and parental education in particular, contributed to individual differences in the amplitude of the error‐related signal and associated theta power in toddlers, indicating that children raised in lower SES families show poorer activation of the executive attention network. These data demonstrate the influence of environmental factors at the earliest stages of development of the executive attention network. Importantly, the results show that error‐detection EEG signals can be used as neural markers of the initial development of executive attention, which can be of great help for the early detection of risk for developmental disorders involving deficits in this function. Toddlers show brain responses to observed errors characterized by a burst of frontal activation in theta frequency. This error‐related response is considered an early functional marker of the executive attention network and, already at this young age, is partially predicted by familial socio‐economic status.
    December 15, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12494   open full text
  • The eye of the retriever: developing episodic memory mechanisms in preverbal infants assessed through pupil dilation.
    Kahl Hellmer, Hedvig Söderlund, Gustaf Gredebäck.
    Developmental Science. December 15, 2016
    Studying memory in infants can be challenging, as they cannot express their subjective recollection verbally. In this study we use a novel method with which we can assess episodic recognition memory through pupillometry, using identical procedures and stimuli for infants and adults. In three experiments of 4‐ and 7‐month‐old infants, and adults we show that the adult pupillary response is larger to previously seen than to never seen items (old/new effect). Pupil dilations index subjective memory experience in adults, producing distinct pupil dilations to items judged as remembered, familiar, and new, regardless of actual previous exposure (Experiment 1). Seven‐month‐old infants demonstrate a clear pupillary old/new effect, very similar to that of adults (Experiment 2), whereas 4‐month‐olds do not demonstrate such an effect (Experiment 3). Our findings suggest that the mnemonic mechanisms that serve infants' and adults' episodic recognition memory are more similar than previously asserted: they are not fully developed at 4 months of age but that there is contiguity in human episodic memory development from 7 months of age. We assessed episodic memory mechanisms through recognition memory using a pupillary old/new paradigm in 4mo, 7mo, and adults. Results highlight similarities between adults' and 7mo pupillary response, but not 4mo, suggesting a contiguity in episodic memory development starting at 7 months of age.
    December 15, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12520   open full text
  • Attaching meaning to the number words: contributions of the object tracking and approximate number systems.
    Kristy vanMarle, Felicia W. Chu, Yi Mou, Jin H. Seok, Jeffrey Rouder, David C. Geary.
    Developmental Science. December 15, 2016
    Children's understanding of the quantities represented by number words (i.e., cardinality) is a surprisingly protracted but foundational step in their learning of formal mathematics. The development of cardinal knowledge is related to one or two core, inherent systems – the approximate number system (ANS) and the object tracking system (OTS) – but whether these systems act alone, in concert, or antagonistically is debated. Longitudinal assessments of 198 preschool children on OTS, ANS, and cardinality tasks enabled testing of two single‐mechanism (ANS‐only and OTS‐only) and two dual‐mechanism models, controlling for intelligence, executive functions, preliteracy skills, and demographic factors. Measures of both OTS and ANS predicted cardinal knowledge in concert early in the school year, inconsistent with single‐mechanism models. The ANS but not the OTS predicted cardinal knowledge later in the school year as well the acquisition of the cardinal principle, a critical shift in cardinal understanding. The results support a Merge model, whereby both systems initially contribute to children's early mapping of number words to cardinal value, but the role of the OTS diminishes over time while that of the ANS continues to support cardinal knowledge as children come to understand the counting principles. Learning the meanings of the number words and how to apply them in the counting procedure mark children's first step into the world of formal, symbolic mathematics. We provide evidence that two core mechanisms ‐‐ the analog number system (ANS, in blue) and the object tracking system (OTS, in yellow) ‐‐ contribute to the initial stages of this process, but that only the ANS continues to influence children's learning as they acquire the cardinal principle and come to master the counting routine.
    December 15, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12495   open full text
  • Training and transfer effects of response inhibition training in children and adults.
    Xin Zhao, Ling Chen, Joseph H.R. Maes.
    Developmental Science. December 13, 2016
    Response inhibition is crucial for mental and physical health but studies assessing the trainability of this type of inhibition are rare. Thirty‐nine children aged 10‐12 years and 46 adults aged 18‐24 years were assigned to an adaptive go/no‐go inhibition training condition or an active control condition. Transfer of training effects to performance on tasks assessing response inhibition, interference control, working memory updating, task‐switching, and non‐verbal fluid intelligence were assessed during 3‐ and 6‐month follow‐up sessions and/or an immediate post‐training session. Significant training improvements and positive transfer effects to a similar response inhibition task with other stimuli were observed for both children and adults. Reliable albeit short‐lived transfer effects were only found for the children, specifically to working memory updating and task switching. These results suggest some potential for response‐inhibition training programs to enhance aspects of cognitive functioning in children but not adults. A group of young adults and 10−12‐year old children were either trained on an adaptive multiple‐session response inhibition task or performed a control activity. The trained participants from both age groups displayed significant improvements during training and positive transfer to a similar inhibition task. Reliable, albeit short‐lived, transfer effects were only found for the children, specifically to working memory updating and task‐switching tasks.
    December 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12511   open full text
  • Diminished ability to identify facial emotional expressions in children with disorganized attachment representations.
    Tommie Forslund, Ben Kenward, Pehr Granqvist, Gustaf Gredebäck, Karin C. Brocki.
    Developmental Science. December 13, 2016
    The development of children's ability to identify facial emotional expressions has long been suggested to be experience dependent, with parental caregiving as an important influencing factor. This study attempts to further this knowledge by examining disorganization of the attachment system as a potential psychological mechanism behind aberrant caregiving experiences and deviations in the ability to identify facial emotional expressions. Typically developing children (N = 105, 49.5% boys) aged 6–7 years (M = 6 years 8 months, SD = 1.8 months) completed an attachment representation task and an emotion identification task, and parents rated children's negative emotionality. The results showed a generally diminished ability in disorganized children to identify facial emotional expressions, but no response biases. Disorganized attachment was also related to higher levels of negative emotionality, but discrimination of emotional expressions did not moderate or mediate this relation. Our novel findings relate disorganized attachment to deviations in emotion identification, and therefore suggest that disorganization of the attachment system may constitute a psychological mechanism linking aberrant caregiving experiences to deviations in children's ability to identify facial emotional expressions. Our findings further suggest that deviations in emotion identification in disorganized children, in the absence of maltreatment, may manifest in a generally diminished ability to identify emotional expressions, rather than in specific response biases. This study investigated whether disorganized attachment representations may constitute a psychological mechanism behind deviations in children's ability to identify facial emotional expressions. Using a task where facial expressions were blurred to increase performance demands, as emotional expressions are often unclear in real life situations, disorganized children showed a generally diminished ability to identify facial emotional expressions, but no response biases towards particular emotional expressions.
    December 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12465   open full text
  • Diverse ontogenies of reciprocal and prosocial behavior: cooperative development in Fiji and the United States.
    Bailey R. House.
    Developmental Science. December 13, 2016
    Contingent reciprocity is an important foundation of human cooperation, but we know little about how reciprocal behavior develops across diverse societies, nor about how the development of reciprocal behavior is related to the development of prosocial behavior more broadly. Three‐ to 16‐year‐old children were presented with the opportunity to control the allocation of real food rewards in a binary‐choice cooperative dilemma. Within dyads children alternated making choices across multiple trials, and reciprocal behavior emerged in three diverse populations (rural Fijian villages, and urban communities in both Fiji and the United States) by age 7–8. There was more societal variation in prosocial behavior than in reciprocal behavior, and there were more substantial differences between Fijians and Americans than between rural and urban populations. This suggests that the development of prosocial behavior is not driven entirely by the development of reciprocity, and differences in prosocial behavior across rural Fijians and urban Americans may not be due only to differences across rural and urban populations. This study explores how reciprocity develops in three populations across the United States and Fiji, and shows that reciprocity develops similarly across these societies even as they develop different patterns of prosocial behavior. This suggests that societal variation in prosociality is not solely caused by societal differences in the development of reciprocity.
    December 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12466   open full text
  • Perceptual narrowing towards adult faces is a cross‐cultural phenomenon in infancy: a behavioral and near‐infrared spectroscopy study with Japanese infants.
    Megumi Kobayashi, Viola Macchi Cassia, So Kanazawa, Masami K. Yamaguchi, Ryusuke Kakigi.
    Developmental Science. December 05, 2016
    Recent data showed that, in Caucasian infants, perceptual narrowing occurs for own‐race adult faces between 3 and 9 months of age, possibly as a consequence of the extensive amount of social and perceptual experience accumulated with caregivers and/or other adult individuals of the same race of the caregiver. The neural correlates of this developmental process remain unexplored, and it is currently unknown whether perceptual tuning towards adult faces can be extended to other cultures. To this end, in the current study we tested the ability of 3‐ and 9‐month‐old Japanese infants to discriminate among adult and infant Asian faces in a visual familiarization task (Experiment 1), and compared 9‐month‐olds’ cerebral hemodynamic responses to adult and infant faces as measured by near‐infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) (Experiment 2). Results showed that 3‐month‐olds exhibit above‐chance discrimination of adult and infant faces, whereas 9‐month‐olds discriminate adult faces but not infant faces (Experiment 1). Moreover, adult faces, but not infant faces, induced significant increases in hemodynamic responses in the right temporal areas of 9‐month‐old infants. Overall, our data suggest that perceptual narrowing towards adult faces is a cross‐cultural phenomenon occurring between 3 and 9 months of age, and translates by 9 months of age into a right‐hemispheric specialization in the processing of adult faces. In Japanese infants, infant face discrimination decrease between 3 and 9 months of age, while adult face discrimination is maintained, suggesting the perceptual narrowing towards adult faces. This perceptual narrowing translates into a right‐hemispheric specialization for adult face processing by 9‐month‐olds.
    December 05, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12498   open full text
  • Time processing impairments in preschoolers at risk of developing difficulties in mathematics.
    Valentina Tobia, Luca Rinaldi, Gian Marco Marzocchi.
    Developmental Science. December 05, 2016
    The occurrence of time processing problems in individuals with Development Dyscalculia (DD) has favored the view of a general magnitude system devoted to both numerical and temporal information. Yet, this scenario has been partially challenged by studies indicating that time difficulties can be attributed to poor calculation or counting skills, which can support reasoning on time in school‐aged children and adults. Here, we tackle this debate by exploring the performance of young children before they fully develop the symbolic number system. Preschoolers at risk of developing DD were compared with typically developing children in a series of tasks investigating time processing and in their ‘sense of time’, evaluated by parents and teachers. Results yielded a poorer performance in time reproduction of 5‐second intervals and in time discrimination, as well as a weaker ‘sense of time’, in children at risk of DD. These findings provide evidence of a common magnitude system that would be responsible for deficits in both numerical and temporal domains, already at early stages of life. Children at risk of developing DD showed a poorer performance in time reproduction of 5‐second intervals and in time discrimination. These results support the existence of a common magnitude system responsible for deficits in both numerical and temporal domains from the early stages of life.
    December 05, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12526   open full text
  • A bilingual advantage in 54‐month‐olds’ use of referential cues in fast mapping.
    W. Quin Yow, Xiaoqian Li, Sarah Lam, Teodora Gliga, Yap Seng Chong, Kenneth Kwek, Birit F.P. Broekman.
    Developmental Science. November 23, 2016
    Research has demonstrated a bilingual advantage in how young children use referential cues such as eye gaze and pointing gesture to locate an object or to categorize objects. This study investigated the use of referential cues (i.e. eye gaze) in fast mapping in three groups of children that differed in their language exposure. One hundred and seven 54‐month‐old children who were English monolinguals (n = 28), English‐Mandarin bilinguals (n = 48), and English‐Mandarin bilinguals with exposure to a third language (i.e. trilinguals, n = 31) were assessed with a word learning task using two types of test – a referent test and a mutual exclusivity test. During the task, following the gaze of an adult speaker was needed to be able to indicate the correct referent of a novel word at test. All three groups of children demonstrated successful word learning in explicit selection of and implicit looking time toward the target object during testing. However, bilingual and trilingual children outperformed their monolingual peers in both types of test when they were asked to explicitly select the correct objects. These findings suggest positive effects of bilingualism on children's use of referential cues in fast mapping. This research investigated the use of referential cues (i.e., eye gaze) in fast mapping in three groups of children with different linguistic experience (monolingual, bilingual, and trilingual). Bilingual and trilingual children outperformed their monolingual peers during the test phase when asked to explicitly select the target referent. Multilingual children's heightened sensitivity to others' referential intent extends to fast mapping of words in a social context.
    November 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12482   open full text
  • Adolescents’ inhibitory control: keep it cool or lose control.
    Ania Aïte, Mathieu Cassotti, Adriano Linzarini, Anaïs Osmont, Olivier Houdé, Grégoire Borst.
    Developmental Science. November 23, 2016
    Inhibitory control (i.e., the ability to resist automatisms, temptations, distractions, or interference and to adapt to conflicting situations) is a determinant of cognitive and socio‐emotional development. In light of the discrepancies of previous findings on the development of inhibitory control in affectively charged contexts, two important issues need to be addressed. We need to determine (a) whether cool inhibitory control (in affectively neutral contexts) and hot inhibitory control (in affectively charged contexts) follow the same developmental pattern and (b) the degree of specificity of these two types of inhibitory control at different ages. Thus, in the present study, we investigated the developmental patterns of cool and hot inhibitory control and the degree of specificity of these abilities in children, adolescents and adults. Typically developing children, adolescents, and adults performed two Stroop‐like tasks: an affectively neutral one (Cool Stroop task) and an affectively charged one (Hot Stroop task). In the Cool Stroop task, the participants were asked to identify the ink color of the words independent of color that the words named; in the Hot Stroop task, the participants were asked to identify the emotional expression of a face independent of the emotion named by a simultaneously displayed written word. We found that cool inhibitory control abilities develop linearly with age, whereas hot inhibitory control abilities follow a quadratic developmental pattern, with adolescents displaying worse hot inhibitory control abilities than children and adults. In addition, cool and hot inhibitory control abilities were correlated in children but not in adolescents and adults. The present study suggests (a) that cool and hot inhibitory control abilities develop differently from childhood to adulthood – i.e., that cool inhibition follows a linear developmental pattern and hot inhibition follows an adolescent‐specific pattern – and (b) that they become progressively more domain‐specific with age. The present study suggests (a) that cool and hot inhibitory control abilities develop differently from childhood to adulthood – with a linear developmental pattern but an adolescent‐specific one for cool and hot inhibitory control abilities, respectively – and (b) that they progressively become more domain‐specific with age.
    November 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12491   open full text
  • Blindness to background: an inbuilt bias for visual objects.
    Catherine G. O'Hanlon, Jenny C.A. Read.
    Developmental Science. November 22, 2016
    Sixty‐eight 2‐ to 12‐year‐olds and 30 adults were shown colorful displays on a touchscreen monitor and trained to point to the location of a named color. Participants located targets near‐perfectly when presented with four abutting colored patches. When presented with three colored patches on a colored background, toddlers failed to locate targets in the background. Eye tracking demonstrated that the effect was partially mediated by a tendency not to fixate the background. However, the effect was abolished when the targets were named as nouns, whilst the change to nouns had little impact on eye movement patterns. Our results imply a powerful, inbuilt tendency to attend to objects, which may slow the development of color concepts and acquisition of color words. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/TKO1BPeAiOI. [Correction added on 27 January 2017, after first online publication: The video abstract link was added.] When asked to point to “blue” in the pictures above, two‐ to four‐year olds have no problems pointing to the blue bubbles on the left. But they often struggle to find any blue in the picture on the right, even though the blue water makes up most of the scene! When prompted with nouns, they find “bubbles” or “water” equally easily, demonstrating children's inbuilt bias to attend to “things” rather than to abstract concepts like colour.
    November 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12478   open full text
  • Attention allocation towards own face is pronounced during middle adolescence: an eye‐tracking study.
    Hirokazu Doi, Kazuyuki Shinohara.
    Developmental Science. November 22, 2016
    Increased interest in the self has long been deemed to be one of the most peculiar characteristics of adolescence. On the basis of this, we conjectured that attentiveness towards self‐relevant information, especially one's own face, becomes more pronounced during the middle adolescence. The present study tested this hypothesis by comparing the pattern of visuospatial attention allocation to their own face among early, middle and late adolescent males using an eye‐tracking methodology. The results have shown a clear pattern of increased attention allocation towards their own face over a close friend's and a stranger's face in middle adolescents, but fixation durations on their own and a friend's face did not differ from each other in early and late adolescents. In addition, middle adolescents showed higher public self‐consciousness and a lower level of self‐esteem than early and late adolescents, respectively. These results indicate that attention allocation towards one's own face is more pronounced during middle adolescence, and is associated with increased interest in their own attributes. We measured fixation duration on own, friend's and stranger's faces. Boys in middle adolescence fixated longer on own face than the other types of faces.
    November 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12490   open full text
  • Four‐month‐old infants individuate and track simple tools following functional demonstrations.
    Maayan Stavans, Renée Baillargeon.
    Developmental Science. November 20, 2016
    Two experiments examined whether 4‐month‐olds (n = 120) who were induced to assign two objects to different categories would then be able to take advantage of these contrastive categorical encodings to individuate and track the objects. In each experiment, infants first watched functional demonstrations of two tools, a masher and tongs (Experiment 1) or a marker and a knife (Experiment 2). Next, half the infants saw the two tools brought out alternately from behind a screen, which was then lowered to reveal only one of the tools (different‐objects condition); the other infants saw similar events except that the same tool was shown on either side of the screen (same‐object condition). In both experiments, infants in the different‐objects condition looked reliably longer than those in the same‐object condition, and this effect was eliminated if the demonstrations involved similar but non‐functional actions. Together, these results indicate that infants (a) were led by the functional demonstrations they observed to assign the two tools to distinct categories, (b) recruited these categorical encodings to individuate and track the tools, and hence (c) detected a violation in the different‐objects condition when the screen was lowered to reveal only one tool. Categorical information thus plays a privileged role in individuation and identity tracking from a very young age. After being induced to assign two tools to different categories, via functional as opposed to non‐functional demonstrations, 4‐month‐olds correctly individuated and tracked the tools, indicating that the privileged status of categorical information emerges early in life.
    November 20, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12500   open full text
  • When preschoolers follow their eyes and older children follow their noses: visuo‐olfactory social affective matching in childhood.
    Annachiara Cavazzana, Christiane Wesarg, Julia Parish‐Morris, Johan N. Lundström, Valentina Parma.
    Developmental Science. November 17, 2016
    Recognition of emotional facial expressions is a crucial skill for adaptive behavior that most often occurs in a multi‐sensory context. Affective matching tasks have been used across development to investigate how people integrate facial information with other senses. Given the relative affective strength of olfaction and its relevance in mediating social information since birth, we assessed olfactory–visual matching abilities in a group of 140 children between the ages of 3 and 11 years old. We presented one of three odor primes (rose, fish and no‐odor, rated as pleasant or unpleasant by individual children) before a facial choice task (happy vs. disgusted face). Children were instructed to select one of two faces. As expected, children of all ages tended to choose happy faces. Children younger than 5 years of age were biased towards choosing the happy face, irrespective of the odor smelled. After age 5, an affective matching strategy guided children's choices. Smelling a pleasant odor predicted the choice of happy faces, whereas smelling the unpleasant or fish odor predicted the choice of disgusted faces. The present study fills a gap in the developmental literature on olfactory‐visual affective strategies that affect decision‐making, and represents an important step towards understanding the underlying developmental processes that shape the typical social mind. Olfactory–visualmatchingabilitieshavebeentested in a group of 140 children (3‐11 yearsold). One of threeodorprimes (rose, fish and no odor, ratedaspleasant or unpleasant by individualchildren) werepresentedbefore a facialchoice task (happy vs. disgusted face) in whichchildrenhad to selectone of the twofaces. Results showed that children younger than 5 years of age were biased towards choosing the happy face, irrespective of the odor prime. After age 5, an affective matching strategy guided children’s choices: smelling a pleasant odor predicted the choice of happy faces, whereas smelling the unpleasant or fish odor predicted the choice of disgusted faces.
    November 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12507   open full text
  • Bilingualism affects 9‐month‐old infants’ expectations about how words refer to kinds.
    Krista Byers‐Heinlein.
    Developmental Science. November 09, 2016
    Infants are precocious word learners, and seem to possess systematic expectations about how words refer to object kinds. For example, while monolingual infants show a one‐to‐one mapping bias (e.g. mutual exclusivity), expecting each object to have only one basic level label, previous research has shown that this is less robust in bi‐ and multilinguals aged 1.5 years and older. This study examined the early origins of such one‐to‐one mapping biases by comparing monolingual and bilingual 9–10‐month‐olds’ expectations about the relationship between labels and object kinds. In a violation of expectation paradigm, infants heard a speaker name hidden objects with either one label (‘I see a mouba! I see a mouba!’) or two labels (‘I see a camo! I see a tenda!’). An occluder moved to reveal two objects that were either identical or of different kinds. Monolingual infants looked longest when two labels were associated with identical objects, and when one label was associated with objects of different kinds, showing that they found these outcomes unexpected. This replicated previous findings showing that monolinguals expect that distinct words label distinct object kinds (Dewar & Xu, ). Bilinguals looked equally to the outcomes regardless of the number of labels, showing no such expectations. This finding indicates that bilingualism influences young infants’ expectations about how words refer to kinds, and more broadly supports the position that language experience contributes to the development of word learning heuristics. In a violation‐of‐expectation study, 9‐month‐old monolingual infants expected a one‐to‐one relationship between labels and object kinds, but bilingual infants did not. Language experience affects the development of word learning heuristics even before children have acquired a sizeable vocabulary.
    November 09, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12486   open full text
  • Mother still knows best: Maternal influence uniquely modulates adolescent reward sensitivity during risk taking.
    João F. Guassi Moreira, Eva H. Telzer.
    Developmental Science. November 04, 2016
    Adolescent decision‐making is highly sensitive to input from the social environment. In particular, adult and maternal presence influence adolescents to make safer decisions when encountered with risky scenarios. However, it is currently unknown whether maternal presence confers a greater advantage than mere adult presence in buffering adolescent risk taking. In the current study, 23 adolescents completed a risk‐taking task during an fMRI scan in the presence of their mother and an unknown adult. Results reveal that maternal presence elicits greater activation in reward‐related neural circuits when making safe decisions but decreased activation following risky choices. Moreover, adolescents evidenced a more immature neural phenotype when making risky choices in the presence of an adult compared to mother, as evidenced by positive functional coupling between the ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex. Our results underscore the importance of maternal stimuli in bolstering adolescent decision‐making in risky scenarios. Prior research showed that mothers could influence teens to make safe decisions during a risk taking task, but it was unknown whether this effect was unique to mothers. In this study, we found that maternal presence, compared to that of an unknown adult, uniquely altered adolescent neural circuitry associated with reward processing and social cognition and helped sway their adolescents towards safe decision making. These findings highlight the continued importance of maternal social scaffolding in adolescence.
    November 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12484   open full text
  • Neural activation patterns during retrieval of schema‐related memories: differences and commonalities between children and adults.
    Garvin Brod, Ulman Lindenberger, Yee Lee Shing.
    Developmental Science. November 04, 2016
    Schemas represent stable properties of individuals’ experiences, and allow them to classify new events as being congruent or incongruent with existing knowledge. Research with adults indicates that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is involved in memory retrieval of schema‐related information. However, developmental differences between children and adults in the neural correlates of schema‐related memories are not well understood. One reason for this is the inherent confound between schema‐relevant experience and maturation, as both are related to time. To overcome this limitation, we used a novel paradigm that experimentally induces, and then probes for, task‐relevant knowledge during encoding of new information. Thirty‐one children aged 8–12 years and 26 young adults participated in the experiment. While successfully retrieving schema‐congruent events, children showed less medial PFC activity than adults. In addition, medial PFC activity during successful retrieval correlated positively with children's age. While successfully retrieving schema‐incongruent events, children showed stronger hippocampus (HC) activation as well as weaker connectivity between the striatum and the dorsolateral PFC than adults. These findings were corroborated by an exploratory full‐factorial analysis investigating age differences in the retrieval of schema‐congruent versus schema‐incongruent events, comparing the two conditions directly. Consistent with the findings of the separate analyses, two clusters, one in the medial PFC, one in the HC, were identified that exhibited a memory × congruency × age group interaction. In line with the two‐component model of episodic memory development, the present findings point to an age‐related shift from a more HC‐bound processing to an increasing recruitment of prefrontal brain regions in the retrieval of schema‐related events. Medial PFC activation for correctly > incorrectly retrieved schema‐congruent information was stronger (age difference in blue) in young adults (green) than in children (yellow), and correlated positively with children's age. However, hippocampus activation did not differ between the two age groups, suggesting an age‐related shift from hippocampus‐bound processing to an increasing recruitment of prefrontal regions.
    November 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12475   open full text
  • Mothers speak differently to infants at‐risk for dyslexia.
    Marina Kalashnikova, Usha Goswami, Denis Burnham.
    Developmental Science. October 27, 2016
    Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder manifested in deficits in reading and spelling skills that is consistently associated with difficulties in phonological processing. Dyslexia is genetically transmitted, but its manifestation in a particular individual is thought to depend on the interaction of epigenetic and environmental factors. We adopt a novel interactional perspective on early linguistic environment and dyslexia by simultaneously studying two pre‐existing factors, one maternal and one infant, that may contribute to these interactions; and two behaviours, one maternal and one infant, to index the effect of these factors. The maternal factor is whether mothers are themselves dyslexic or not (with/without dyslexia) and the infant factor is whether infants are at‐/not‐at family risk for dyslexia (due to their mother or father being dyslexic). The maternal behaviour is mothers’ infant‐directed speech (IDS), which typically involves vowel hyperarticulation, thought to benefit speech perception and language acquisition. The infant behaviour is auditory perception measured by infant sensitivity to amplitude envelope rise time, which has been found to be reduced in dyslexic children. Here, at‐risk infants showed significantly poorer acoustic sensitivity than not‐at‐risk infants and mothers only hyperarticulated vowels to infants who were not at‐risk for dyslexia. Mothers’ own dyslexia status had no effect on IDS quality. Parental speech input is thus affected by infant risk status, with likely consequences for later linguistic development. Infant‐directed speech to infants at‐risk for dyslexia does not present hyperarticulated vowels. Mothers adjust their infant‐directed speech to infants at‐risk for dyslexia, so at‐risk infants experience altered early linguistic input from the first years of life.
    October 27, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12487   open full text
  • Tracing trajectories of audio‐visual learning in the infant brain.
    Alyssa J. Kersey, Lauren L. Emberson.
    Developmental Science. October 26, 2016
    Although infants begin learning about their environment before they are born, little is known about how the infant brain changes during learning. Here, we take the initial steps in documenting how the neural responses in the brain change as infants learn to associate audio and visual stimuli. Using functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNRIS) to record hemodynamic responses in the infant cortex (temporal, occipital, and frontal cortex), we find that across the infant brain, learning is characterized by an increase in activation followed by a decrease. We take this U‐shaped response as evidence of repetition enhancement during early stages of learning and repetition suppression during later stages, a result that mirrors the Hunter and Ames model of infant visual preference. Furthermore, we find that the neural response to violations of the learned associations can be predicted by the shape of the learning curve in temporal and occipital cortex. These data provide the first look at the shape of the neural response during audio‐visual associative learning in infancy establishing that diverse regions of the infant brain exhibit systematic changes across the time‐course of learning. This study takes the initial steps in documenting how the neural responses in the brain change as infants learn to associate audio and visual stimuli. Using functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNRIS) to record hemodynamic responses in the infant cortex (temporal, occipital and frontal cortex), we find that across the infant brain, learning is characterized by an increase in activation followed by a decrease. We take this U‐shaped response as evidence of repetition enhancement during early stages of learning and repetition suppression during later stages, a result that mirrors the Hunter and Ames model of infant visual preference.
    October 26, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12480   open full text
  • Executive functioning in Spanish‐ and English‐speaking Head Start preschoolers.
    Lisa J. White, Daryl B. Greenfield.
    Developmental Science. October 23, 2016
    A growing percentage of low‐income children in the United States come from Spanish‐speaking homes and are dual language learners (DLLs). Recent research shows that bilingual children, compared to monolinguals, have enhanced executive functioning (EF), a set of foundational cognitive skills that predict higher social‐emotional competence and academic achievement in preschool and beyond. Although this association has been found among children of different backgrounds, no study to date has assessed whether bilingual Latino preschoolers from low‐income backgrounds have higher EF than their monolingual peers and their emerging bilingual peers, respectively. The current study assessed 303 predominantly Latino Head Start preschoolers (83.5% Latino and 13.5% African American) to examine this relationship. Using a language screener, three groups were formed (148 Spanish‐English bilinguals, 83 English monolinguals, and 72 Spanish‐dominant emerging bilinguals) and subsequently compared on a latent factor of EF. As predicted, results indicated that the bilingual group outperformed the monolingual English group on EF. Implications for the findings of the lack of EF differences between the Spanish‐dominant emerging bilinguals and the other two groups are also discussed. This study advances our understanding of the intersection between language and cognitive development for young low‐income Latino DLLs growing up in the United States and highlights bilingualism as a potential advantage in this population. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2Eq_MwLRfQ This study used a latent variable of executive functioning (EF) to compare group differences between Spanish‐English bilinguals, English monolinguals, and Spanish‐dominant emerging bilingual children attending Head Start. Controlling for age, gender, and processing speed, the estimated intercepts indicated that bilingual children outperformed monolingual English children on EF, and the Spanish‐dominant emerging bilingual group performed between the other two groups. These results suggest that Spanish and English‐speaking Latino preschoolers from low‐income backgrounds demonstrate advantages in EF, compared to their monolingual peers.
    October 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12502   open full text
  • The influences and outcomes of phonological awareness: a study of MA, PA and auditory processing in pre‐readers with a family risk of dyslexia.
    Jeremy M Law, Jan Wouters, Pol Ghesquière.
    Developmental Science. October 23, 2016
    The direct influence of phonological awareness (PA) on reading outcomes has been widely demonstrated, yet PA may also exert indirect influence on reading outcomes through other cognitive variables such as morphological awareness (MA). However, PA's own development is dependent and influenced by many extraneous variables such as auditory processing, which could ultimately impact reading outcomes. In a group of pre‐reading children with a family risk of dyslexia and low‐risk controls, this study sets out to answer questions surrounding PA's relationship at various grain sizes (syllable, onset/rime and phoneme) with measures of auditory processing (frequency modulation (FM) and an amplitude rise‐time task (RT)) and MA, independent of reading experience. Group analysis revealed significant differences between high‐ and low‐risk children on measures of MA, and PA at all grain sizes, while a trend for lower RT thresholds of high‐risk children was found compared with controls. Correlational analysis demonstrated that MA is related to the composite PA score and syllable awareness. Group differences on MA and PA were re‐examined including PA and MA, respectively, as control variables. Results exposed PA as a relevant component of MA, independent of reading experience. In a group of pre‐reading children with a family risk of dyslexia and low‐risk controls, this study explores phonological awareness' PA's relationship at various grain sizes (syllable, onset/rime and phoneme) with measures of auditory processing (a frequency modulation (FM) and an amplitude rise‐time task (RT)) and morphological awareness MA, independent of reading experience. Group analysis revealed significant differences between high‐ and low‐risk children on measures of MA, and PA at all grain sizes, while a trend for lower RT thresholds of high‐risk children was found compared with controls. Correlational analysis demonstrated that MA is related to the composite PA score and to syllable awareness. Group differences on MA and PA were re‐examined including PA and MA respectively as control variables. Results exposed PA as a relevant component of MA, independent of reading experience.
    October 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12453   open full text
  • The relationship between non‐verbal systems of number and counting development: a neural signatures approach.
    Daniel C. Hyde, Charline E. Simon, Ilaria Berteletti, Yi Mou.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2016
    Two non‐verbal cognitive systems, an approximate number system (ANS) for extracting the numerosity of a set and a parallel individuation (PI) system for distinguishing between individual items, are hypothesized to be foundational to symbolic number and mathematics abilities. However, the exact role of each remains unclear and highly debated. Here we used an individual differences approach to test for a relationship between the spontaneously evoked brain signatures (using event‐related potentials) of PI and the ANS and initial development of symbolic number concepts in preschool children as displayed by counting. We observed that individual differences in the neural signatures of the PI system, but not the ANS, explained a unique portion of variance in counting proficiency after extensively controlling for general cognitive factors. These results suggest that differences in early attentional processing of objects between children are related to higher‐level symbolic number concept development. Event‐related brain potentials provide evidence that parallel individuation (PI) of objects is related to individual differences in counting development in preschool‐aged children. The relationship between PI and counting holds after controlling for general cognitive and linguistic abilities. Both quantitative and qualitative differences were observed in the neural signatures of numerical processing between developing and proficient counters, but need to be followed up with targeted experiments to be better understood.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12464   open full text
  • Longitudinal stability of pre‐reading skill profiles of kindergarten children: implications for early screening and theories of reading.
    Ola Ozernov‐Palchik, Elizabeth S. Norton, Georgios Sideridis, Sara D. Beach, Maryanne Wolf, John D.E. Gabrieli, Nadine Gaab.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2016
    Research suggests that early identification of developmental dyslexia is important for mitigating the negative effects of dyslexia, including reduced educational attainment and increased socioemotional difficulties. The strongest pre‐literacy predictors of dyslexia are rapid automatized naming (RAN), phonological awareness (PA), letter knowledge, and verbal short‐term memory. The relationship among these constructs has been debated, and several theories have emerged to explain the unique role of each in reading ability/disability. Furthermore, the stability of identification of risk based on these measures varies widely across studies, due in part to the different cut‐offs employed to designate risk. We applied a latent profile analysis technique with a diverse sample of 1215 kindergarten and pre‐kindergarten students from 20 schools, to investigate whether PA, RAN, letter knowledge, and verbal short‐term memory measures differentiated between homogenous profiles of performance on these measures. Six profiles of performance emerged from the data: average performers, below average performers, high performers, PA risk, RAN risk, and double‐deficit risk (both PA and RAN). A latent class regression model was employed to investigate the longitudinal stability of these groups in a representative subset of children (n = 95) nearly two years later, at the end of 1st grade. Profile membership in the spring semester of pre‐kindergarten or fall semester of kindergarten was significantly predictive of later reading performance, with the specific patterns of performance on the different constructs remaining stable across the years. There was a higher frequency of PA and RAN deficits in children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds. There was no evidence for the IQ–achievement discrepancy criterion traditionally used to diagnose dyslexia. Our results support the feasibility of early identification of dyslexia risk and point to the heterogeneity of risk profiles. These findings carry important implications for improving outcomes for children with dyslexia, based on more targeted interventions. Six distinct profiles of performance emerged from a latent profile analysis of pre‐literacy performance among 1,215 kindergarten and pre‐kindergarten students. These profiles demonstrated 100% stability two years later and were positively associated with 2nd grade reading scores in a manner that reinforces the multi‐deficit view of dyslexia. These results support the feasibility of early identification of dyslexia risk and point to the heterogeneity of dyslexia risk profiles.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12471   open full text
  • Numerical magnitude processing impairments in genetic syndromes: a cross‐syndrome comparison of Turner and 22q11.2 deletion syndromes.
    Carmen Brankaer, Pol Ghesquière, Anke De Wel, Ann Swillen, Bert De Smedt.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2016
    Cross‐syndrome comparisons offer an important window onto understanding heterogeneity in mathematical learning disabilities or dyscalculia. The present study therefore investigated symbolic numerical magnitude processing in two genetic syndromes that are both characterized by mathematical learning disabilities: Turner syndrome and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). We further verified whether the phenotypic outcomes of these syndromes emerged from the same or different cognitive processes and therefore examined whether numerical impairments were related to working memory deficits, often observed in these syndromes. Participants were 24 girls with Turner syndrome, 25 children with 22q11DS and 48 well‐matched typically developing control children. All children completed a symbolic numerical magnitude comparison task and four additional working memory tasks. Both groups of children with genetic syndromes showed similar impairments in symbolic numerical magnitude processing compared to typically developing controls. Importantly, in Turner syndrome, group differences in symbolic numerical magnitude processing disappeared when their difficulties in visual‐spatial working memory were taken into account. In contrast, the difficulties in 22q11DS were not explained by poor visual‐spatial working memory. These data suggest that different factors underlie the symbolic numerical magnitude processing impairments in both patient groups with mathematical learning disabilities and highlight the value of cross‐syndrome comparisons for understanding different pathways to mathematical learning disabilities or dyscalculia. To understand heterogeneity in dyscalculia, we investigated symbolic magnitude processing in two distinct genetic syndromes that are both characterized by impairments in mathematics, Turner Syndrome and 22q11 Deletion Syndrome. Both patient groups showed similar deficits in symbolic magnitude processing, which were explained by poor visual‐spatial working memory in Turner Syndrome but not in 22q11 Deletion Syndrome. These data show that different cognitive deficits underlie phenotypically similar impairments in symbolic magnitude processing and highlight the need to consider different pathways to dyscalculia.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12458   open full text
  • Little Bayesians or little Einsteins? Probability and explanatory virtue in children's inferences.
    Angie M. Johnston, Samuel G.B. Johnson, Marissa L. Koven, Frank C. Keil.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2016
    Like scientists, children seek ways to explain causal systems in the world. But are children scientists in the strict Bayesian tradition of maximizing posterior probability? Or do they attend to other explanatory considerations, as laypeople and scientists – such as Einstein – do? Four experiments support the latter possibility. In particular, we demonstrate in four experiments that 4‐ to 8‐year‐old children, like adults, have a robust latent scope bias that leads to inferences that do not maximize posterior probability. When faced with two explanations equally consistent with observed data, where one explanation makes an unverified prediction, children consistently preferred the explanation that does not make this prediction (Experiment 1), even if the prior probabilities are identical (Experiment 3). Additional evidence suggests that this latent scope bias may result from the same explanatory strategies used by adults (Experiments 1 and 2), and can be attenuated by strong prior odds (Experiment 4). We argue that children, like adults, rely on ‘explanatory virtues’ in inference – a strategy that often leads to normative responses, but can also lead to systematic error. In four studies, we test whether children, like adults, use ‘explanatory virtues’ in evidence‐based inferences. We presented 4‐ to 8‐year‐old children with two explanations, equally consistent with the observed data, but where one explanation made an unverified prediction. Children consistently failed to maximize posterior probability, preferring explanations that did not make unverified predictions. This bias was overridden in the face of strong prior odds, suggesting that children, like adults, consider both probability and explanatory virtue when evaluating explanations.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12483   open full text
  • Oculomotor atypicalities in Developmental Coordination Disorder.
    Emma Sumner, Samuel B. Hutton, Gustav Kuhn, Elisabeth L. Hill.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2016
    Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) fail to acquire adequate motor skill, yet surprisingly little is known about the oculomotor system in DCD. Successful completion of motor tasks is supported by accurate visual feedback. The purpose of this study was to determine whether any oculomotor differences can distinguish between children with and without a motor impairment. Using eye tracking technology, visual fixation, smooth pursuit, and pro‐ and anti‐saccade performance were assessed in 77 children that formed three groups: children with DCD (aged 7–10), chronologically age (CA) matched peers, and a motor‐match (MM) group (aged 4–7). Pursuit gain and response preparation in the pro‐ and anti‐saccade tasks were comparable across groups. Compared to age controls, children with DCD had deficits in maintaining engagement in the fixation and pursuit tasks, and made more anti‐saccade errors. The two typically developing groups performed similarly, except on the fast speed smooth pursuit and antisaccade tasks, where the CA group outperformed the younger MM group. The findings suggest that children with DCD have problems with saccadic inhibition and maintaining attention on a visual target. Developmental patterns were evident in the typically developing groups, suggesting that the pursuit system and cognitive control develop with age. This study adds to the literature by being the first to systematically identify specific oculomotor differences between children with and without a motor impairment. Further examination of oculomotor control may help to identify underlying processes contributing to DCD. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/NinXa2KlB4M. [Correction added on 27 January 2017, after first online publication: The video abstract link was added.] ‘Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) present with significant motor difficulties; however, very little is known about their oculomotor skills. The present study examined oculomotor control in children with DCD and two typically‐developing groups, a chronological age (CA) match and motor match (MM) group. Our data suggests that fundamental oculomotor processes (i.e., saccade preparation and accuracy, pursuit gain) are intact in children with DCD, but that these children have difficulty with higher‐level cognitive control (i.e., inhibition of saccades) and perform similarly to younger children.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12501   open full text
  • Longitudinal links between childhood peer acceptance and the neural correlates of sharing.
    Geert‐Jan Will, Eveline A. Crone, Pol A.C. Lier, Berna Güroğlu.
    Developmental Science. October 17, 2016
    Childhood peer acceptance is associated with high levels of prosocial behavior and advanced perspective taking skills. Yet, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these associations have not been studied. This functional magnetic resonance imaging study examined the neural correlates of sharing decisions in a group of adolescents who had a stable accepted status (n = 27) and a group who had a chronic rejected status (n = 19) across six elementary school grades. Both groups of adolescents played three allocation games in which they could share money with strangers with varying costs and profits to them and the other person. Stably accepted adolescents were more likely to share their money with unknown others than chronically rejected adolescents when sharing was not costly. Neuroimaging analyses showed that stably accepted adolescents, compared to chronically rejected adolescents, exhibited higher levels of activation in the temporo‐parietal junction, posterior superior temporal sulcus, temporal pole, pre‐supplementary motor area, and anterior insula during costly sharing decisions. These findings demonstrate that stable peer acceptance across childhood is associated with heightened activity in brain regions previously linked to perspective taking and the detection of social norm violations during adolescence, and thereby provide insight into processes underlying the widely established links between peer acceptance and prosocial behavior. This study provides the first insights into the neural processes underlying widely established bidirectional links between peer acceptance and prosocial behavior. By combining neuroimaging with economic exchange games and sociometric measures of peer status, we could show that adolescents who were stably accepted by their peers (assessed yearly across the six final years of elementary school) exhibit more activity in brain regions supporting social cognition (i.e. temporo‐parietal junction and temporal pole) and the detection of norm‐violations (i.e. anterior insula) during costly sharing decisions than adolescents who were chronically rejected by their peers.
    October 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12489   open full text
  • Linking executive function skills and physiological challenge response: Piecewise growth curve modeling.
    Jelena Obradović, Jenna E. Finch.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    This study employed piecewise growth curve modeling to examine how children's executive function (EF) skills relate to different components of children's physiological response trajectory – initial arousal, reactivity, and recovery. The sample included 102 ethnically diverse kindergarteners, whose EF skills were measured using standard tasks and observer ratings. Physiological response was measured via changes in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) in response to a laboratory socio‐cognitive challenge. Children's cool and hot EF skills were differentially related to both linear and quadratic components of RSA response during the challenge. Greater hot EF skills and assessor report of EF skills during laboratory visit were related to quicker RSA recovery after the challenge. These findings demonstrate that children's physiological response is a dynamic process that encompasses physiological recovery and relates to children's self‐regulation abilities. Children's physiological response is a dynamic process that includes distinct reactivity and recovery trajectories. Discrepancies in how cool and hot EF skills relate to RSA response to the challenge task may index different utilization of these skills during social and cognitive task demands. Higher executive function skills in emotionally demanding situations were uniquely related to physiological recovery, as indexed by faster RSA augmentation following the challenge. Findings are consistent with the polyvagal perspective of social engagement and highlight the importance of studying the interplay between physiological and behavioral regulation.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12476   open full text
  • Post‐conflict slowing effects in monolingual and bilingual children.
    John G. Grundy, Aram Keyvani Chahi.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    Previous research has shown that bilingual children outperform their monolingual peers on a wide variety of tasks measuring executive functions (EF). However, recent failures to replicate this finding have cast doubt on the idea that the bilingual experience leads to domain‐general cognitive benefits. The present study explored the role of disengagement of attention as an explanation for why some studies fail to produce this result. Eighty children (40 monolingual, 40 bilingual) who were 7 years old performed a task‐switching experiment. In the pure blocks, three simple non‐conflict tasks were performed in which children responded by pressing one of two response keys. In the conflict block, occasional bivalent stimuli appeared and created conflict because the irrelevant dimension was mapped to the incorrect response key. The results showed that these bivalent stimuli affected subsequent performance in the conflict block. For monolinguals, the effect of conflict was found for up to 12 trials after the appearance of the bivalent stimulus, but for bilinguals the effect disappeared after only two trials. The results are interpreted as evidence for faster disengagement of attention by bilingual children. Most studies examining EF in monolingual and bilingual children do not examine trial‐by‐trial adjustments following conflict, but these are essential considerations because relevant processing differences are masked when analyses are applied to data averaged across entire blocks. Bilingual children often outperform their monolingual peers on tasks that measure executive functions (EF), but this is not always found, leading some to argue that second language experience does not enhance domain‐general EF. Here we show that bilingual children disengage attention more rapidly than monolingual children following conflict and that this can explain why sometimes no bilingual advantages on EF tasks are found.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12488   open full text
  • Predictive coding accelerates word recognition and learning in the early stages of language development.
    Sari Ylinen, Alexis Bosseler, Katja Junttila, Minna Huotilainen.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    The ability to predict future events in the environment and learn from them is a fundamental component of adaptive behavior across species. Here we propose that inferring predictions facilitates speech processing and word learning in the early stages of language development. Twelve‐ and 24‐month olds’ electrophysiological brain responses to heard syllables are faster and more robust when the preceding word context predicts the ending of a familiar word. For unfamiliar, novel word forms, however, word‐expectancy violation generates a prediction error response, the strength of which significantly correlates with children's vocabulary scores at 12 months. These results suggest that predictive coding may accelerate word recognition and support early learning of novel words, including not only the learning of heard word forms but also their mapping to meanings. Prediction error may mediate learning via attention, since infants’ attention allocation to the entire learning situation in natural environments could account for the link between prediction error and the understanding of word meanings. On the whole, the present results on predictive coding support the view that principles of brain function reported across domains in humans and non‐human animals apply to language and its development in the infant brain. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: http://hy.fi/unitube/video/e1cbb495-41d8-462e-8660-0864a1abd02c. [Correction added on 27 January 2017, after first online publication: The video abstract link was added.] As indicated by brain responses, context‐based predictions facilitate word recognition in 12‐ and 24‐month‐old children (blue). Novel word forms generate a prediction error response (magenta), the strength of which significantly correlates with children's vocabulary scores at 12 months.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12472   open full text
  • Event‐related potential differences in children supplemented with long‐chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during infancy.
    Ke Liao, Bruce D. McCandliss, Susan E. Carlson, John Colombo, D. Jill Shaddy, Elizabeth H. Kerling, Rebecca J. Lepping, Wichian Sittiprapaporn, Carol L. Cheatham, Kathleen M. Gustafson.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    Long‐chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) have been shown to be necessary for early retinal and brain development, but long‐term cognitive benefits of LCPUFA in infancy have not been definitively established. The present study sought to determine whether LCPUFA supplementation during the first year of life would result in group differences in behavior and event‐related potentials (ERPs) while performing a task requiring response inhibition (Go/No‐Go) at 5.5 years of age. As newborns, 69 children were randomly assigned to infant formulas containing either no LCPUFA (control) or formula with 0.64% of total fatty acids as arachidonic acid (ARA; 20:4n6) and various concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n3) (0.32%, 0.64% or 0.96%) for the first 12 months of life. At 5.5 years of age, a task designed to test the ability to inhibit a prepotent response (Go/No‐Go) was administered, yielding both event‐related potentials (ERPs) and behavioral data. Behavioral measures did not differ between groups, although reaction times of supplemented children were marginally faster. Unsupplemented children had lower P2 amplitude than supplemented children to both Go and No‐Go conditions. N2 amplitude was significantly higher on No‐Go trials than Go trials, but only for supplemented children, resulting in a significant Group × Condition interaction. Topographical analysis of the ERPs revealed that the LCPUFA‐supplemented group developed a novel period of synchronous activation (microstate) involving wider anterior brain activation around 200 ms; this microstate was not present in controls. These findings suggest that LCPUFA supplementation during the first 12 months of life exerts a developmental programming effect that is manifest in brain electrophysiology. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM2leg4sevs. This research is part of a longitudinal study in which infants were randomized to formula with or without long‐chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) supplementation during the first year of life and followed to age 9 years. The results reported here show differences in brain electrophysiology to a Go/No‐Go task when the children were between 5 and 6 years of age. Children who were supplemented in early life show significant event‐related potential (ERP) amplitude differences between the Go and No‐Go conditions that were not evident in the control group. Further, microstate analysis confirmed the significant condition difference, only in the LCPUFA‐supplemented group and the between group difference for the No‐Go condition, showing greater anterior activation for this microstate. These results, combined with previously reported measures of cognitive development in early childhood, suggest that LCPUFA supplementation in early life has a long‐term programming effect.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12455   open full text
  • Functional connectivity differences in autism during face and car recognition: underconnectivity and atypical age‐related changes.
    Andrew C. Lynn, Aarthi Padmanabhan, Daniel Simmonds, William Foran, Michael N. Hallquist, Beatriz Luna, Kirsten O'Hearn.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    Face recognition abilities improve between adolescence and adulthood over typical development (TD), but plateau in autism, leading to increasing face recognition deficits in autism later in life. Developmental differences between autism and TD may reflect changes between neural systems involved in the development of face encoding and recognition. Here, we focused on whole‐brain connectivity with the fusiform face area (FFA), a well‐established face‐preferential brain region. Older children, adolescents, and adults with and without autism completed the Cambridge Face Memory Test, and a matched car memory test, during fMRI scanning. We then examined task‐based functional connectivity between the FFA and the rest of the brain, comparing autism and TD groups during encoding and recognition of face and car stimuli. The autism group exhibited underconnectivity, relative to the TD group, between the FFA and frontal and primary visual cortices, independent of age. Underconnectivity with the medial and rostral lateral prefrontal cortex was face‐specific during encoding and recognition, respectively. Conversely, underconnectivity with the L orbitofrontal cortex was evident for both face and car encoding. Atypical age‐related changes in connectivity emerged between the FFA and the R temporoparietal junction, and R dorsal striatum for face stimuli only. Similar differences in age‐related changes in autism emerged for FFA connectivity with the amygdala across both face and car recognition. Thus, underconnectivity and atypical development of functional connectivity may lead to a less optimal face‐processing network in the context of increasing general and social cognitive deficits in autism. Underconnectivity in addition to atypical age‐related changes in functional connectivity between key face‐processing regions and domain‐general regions may underlie atypical development of face recognition abilities in autism.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12508   open full text
  • Navigating through apertures: perceptual judgements and actions of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder.
    Kate Wilmut, Wenchong Du, Anna L. Barnett.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    Passing through a narrow gap/aperture involves a perceptual judgement regarding the size of the gap and an action to pass through. Children with DCD are known to have difficulties with perceptual judgements in near space but whether this extends to far space is unknown. Furthermore, in a recent study it was found that adults with DCD do not scale movements when walking through an aperture in the same way as their peers. The current study, therefore, considered perceptual judgements and motor behaviour of children with DCD while looking at or walking through apertures. Twenty‐nine children with DCD and 29 typically developing (TD) children took part. In Experiment 1, participants completed a perceptual task, where they made passability judgements. Children with DCD showed a significantly smaller critical ratio (aperture size at which a participant first rotates the shoulders to pass through) compared to their TD peers. In Experiment 2, participants completed an action task where they walked through the same apertures. Children with DCD showed a significantly larger critical ratio than TD peers when body size alone was accounted for. Taken together these results suggest that perception within a static context is different from that within a dynamic context for children with DCD. However, despite this difference we have demonstrated a clear relationship between perception and action in children with DCD. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/SABXFrAJtF8 Children with and without DCD (aged 7‐17years) completed perceptual passability judgements regarding passage through an aperture and also their passage through the same apertures was measured. The critical ratio in the perceptual task was smaller in the children with DCD compared to the TD group while in the action task the critical ratio was larger in the children with DCD compared to the TD group. Our results demonstrate that perception within a static context is different from behaviour in an action context. Despite this difference we found clear evidence for a relationship between perception and action in children with DCD.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12462   open full text
  • Children's initial sleep‐associated changes in motor skill are unrelated to long‐term skill levels.
    Katharina Zinke, Ines Wilhelm, Müge Bayramoglu, Susanne Klein, Jan Born.
    Developmental Science. October 16, 2016
    Sleep is considered to support the formation of skill memory. In juvenile but not adult song birds learning a tutor's song, a stronger initial deterioration of song performance over night‐sleep predicts better song performance in the long run. This and similar observations have stimulated the view of sleep supporting skill formation during development in an unsupervised off‐line learning process that, in the absence of external feedback, can initially also enhance inaccuracies in skill performance. Here we explored whether in children learning a motor sequence task, as in song‐learning juvenile birds, changes across sleep after initial practice predict performance levels achieved in the long run. The task was a serial reaction time task (SRTT) where subjects had to press buttons which were lighted up in a repeating eight‐element sequence as fast as possible. Twenty‐five children (8–12 years) practised the task in the evening before nocturnal sleep which was recorded polysomnographically. Retrieval was tested on the following morning and again 1 week later after daily training on the SRTT. As expected, changes in response speed over the initial night of sleep were negatively correlated with final performance speed after the 1‐week training. However, unlike in song birds, this correlation was driven by the baseline speed level achieved before sleep. Baseline‐corrected changes in speed or variability over the initial sleep period did not predict final performance on the trained SRTT sequence, or on different sequences introduced to assess generalization of the trained behaviour. The lack of correlation between initial sleep‐dependent changes and long‐term performance might reflect that the children were too experienced for the simple SRTT, possibly also favouring ceiling effects in performance. A consistent association found between sleep spindle activity and explicit sequence knowledge alternatively suggests that the expected correlation was masked by explicit memory systems interacting with skill memory formation. In 8‐ to 12‐year‐old children learning a sequential motor task (SSRT), changes across sleep after initial learning did not predict long‐term skill performance after a week of daily training. No matter whether children showed larger or smaller changes in reaction times over sleep, long‐term training trajectories were comparable. Post‐learning sleep spindle activity was associated with explicit motor sequence knowledge, but not with motor skill.
    October 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12463   open full text
  • Implicit and explicit false belief development in preschool children.
    Charlotte Grosse Wiesmann, Angela D. Friederici, Tania Singer, Nikolaus Steinbeis.
    Developmental Science. October 02, 2016
    The ability to represent the mental states of other agents is referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM). A developmental breakthrough in ToM consists of understanding that others can have false beliefs about the world. Recently, infants younger than 2 years of age have been shown to pass novel implicit false belief tasks. However, the processes underlying these tasks and their relation to later‐developing explicit false belief understanding, as well as to other cognitive abilities, are not yet understood. Here, we study a battery of implicit and explicit false belief tasks in 3‐ and 4‐year‐old children, relating their performance to linguistic abilities and executive functions. The present data show a significant developmental change from failing explicit false belief tasks at 3 years of age to passing them at the age of 4, while both age groups pass implicit false belief tasks. This differential developmental trajectory is reflected by the finding that explicit and implicit false belief tasks do not correlate. Further, we demonstrate that explicit false belief tasks correlate with syntactic and executive functions, whereas implicit false belief tasks do not. The study thus indicates that the processes underlying implicit false belief tasks are different from later‐developing explicit false belief understanding. Moreover, our results speak for a critical role of syntactic and executive functions for passing standard explicit false belief tasks in contrast to implicit tasks. The present paper shows a dissociation of implicit anticipatory looking and standard explicit false belief tasks in preschool age. While 3‐year‐olds show correct anticipation in the implicit task, they fail in the explicit tasks, and the two task types do not correlate. Further, explicit false belief tasks correlate with language and executive functions, while the implicit task does not.
    October 02, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12445   open full text
  • Bilingual advantage, bidialectal advantage or neither? Comparing performance across three tests of executive function in middle childhood.
    Josephine Ross, Alissa Melinger.
    Developmental Science. September 29, 2016
    When bilinguals speak, both fluent language systems become activated in parallel and exert an influence on speech production. As a consequence of maintaining separation between the two linguistic systems, bilinguals are purported to develop enhanced executive control functioning. Like bilinguals, individuals who speak two dialects must also maintain separation between two linguistic systems, albeit to a lesser degree. Across three tests of executive function, we compared bilingual and bidialectal children's performance to that of a monolingual control group. No evidence for a bidialectal advantage was found. However, in line with a growing number of recent partial and failed replications, we observed a significant bilingual advantage only in one measure in one task. This calls the robustness of the bilingual advantage into question. A comprehensive review of studies investigating advantages of inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility in bilingual children reveals that the bilingual advantage is likely to be both task and sample specific, and the interaction between these factors makes qualification of the effect challenging. These findings highlight the importance of tracking the impact of dual linguistic systems across the lifespan using tasks calibrated for difficulty across different ages. This study provides the first test of a possible bidialectal advantage in childhood, comparing bilingual and bidialectal children’s performance in executive function tasks to the performance of monolingual children. No bidialectal advantage was apparent. Further, the ?established’ bilingual advantage was found only in one measure in one task, calling into question the robustness of the effect.
    September 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12405   open full text
  • Exploring the evolutionary origins of overimitation: a comparison across domesticated and non‐domesticated canids.
    Angie M. Johnston, Paul C. Holden, Laurie R. Santos.
    Developmental Science. September 22, 2016
    When learning from others, human children tend to faithfully copy – or ‘overimitate’ – the actions of a demonstrator, even when these actions are irrelevant for solving the task at hand. We investigate whether domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) and dingoes (Canis dingo) share this tendency to overimitate in three experiments. In Experiment 1, dogs and dingoes had the opportunity to solve a puzzle after watching an ostensive demonstrator who used both a relevant action and an irrelevant action. We find clear evidence against overimitation in both species. In contrast to human children (Horner & Whiten, 2005), dogs and dingoes used the irrelevant action less often across trials, suggesting that both species were filtering out the irrelevant action as they gained experience with the puzzle (like chimpanzees; Horner & Whiten, 2005). Experiments 2 and 3 provide further evidence against overimitation, demonstrating that both species’ behavior is better characterized by individual exploration than overimitation. Given that both species, particularly dogs, show human‐like social learning in other contexts, these findings provide additional evidence that overimitation may be a unique aspect of human social learning. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/g2mRniJZ7aU. In three studies we investigate whether dogs (Canis familiaris) and dingoes (Canis dingo) overimitate. We find clear evidence against overimitation in both species. Although human children copy irrelevant actions across trials, dogs and dingoes filter out irrelevant actions as they gain experience across trials.
    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12460   open full text
  • Difficulties in auditory organization as a cause of reading backwardness? An auditory neuroscience perspective.
    Victoria Leong, Usha Goswami.
    Developmental Science. September 22, 2016
    Over 30 years ago, it was suggested that difficulties in the ‘auditory organization’ of word forms in the mental lexicon might cause reading difficulties. It was proposed that children used parameters such as rhyme and alliteration to organize word forms in the mental lexicon by acoustic similarity, and that such organization was impaired in developmental dyslexia. This literature was based on an ‘oddity’ measure of children's sensitivity to rhyme (e.g. wood, book, good) and alliteration (e.g. sun, sock, rag). The ‘oddity’ task revealed that children with dyslexia were significantly poorer at identifying the ‘odd word out’ than younger children without reading difficulties. Here we apply a novel modelling approach drawn from auditory neuroscience to study the possible sensory basis of the auditory organization of rhyming and non‐rhyming words by children. We utilize a novel Spectral‐Amplitude Modulation Phase Hierarchy (S‐AMPH) approach to analysing the spectro‐temporal structure of rhyming and non‐rhyming words, aiming to illuminate the potential acoustic cues used by children as a basis for phonological organization. The S‐AMPH model assumes that speech encoding depends on neuronal oscillatory entrainment to the amplitude modulation (AM) hierarchy in speech. Our results suggest that phonological similarity between rhyming words in the oddity task depends crucially on slow (delta band) modulations in the speech envelope. Contrary to linguistic assumptions, therefore, auditory organization by children may not depend on phonemic information for this task. Linguistically, it is assumed that ‘book’ does not rhyme with ‘wood’ and ‘good’ because the final phoneme differs. However, our auditory analysis suggests that the acoustic cues to this phonological dissimilarity depend primarily on the slower amplitude modulations in the speech envelope, thought to carry prosodic information. Therefore, the oddity task may help in detecting reading difficulties because phonological similarity judgements about rhyme reflect sensitivity to slow amplitude modulation patterns. Slower amplitude modulations are known to be detected less efficiently by children with dyslexia. The neural encoding of speech is achieved in part by the accurate temporal alignment of brain rhythms (networks of neurons oscillating at different temporal rates) and the rhythms in speech (the changing intensity patterns as words are spoken: amplitude modulations [AMs]). The acoustic temporal structure of the child’s nursery rhyme ‘Cobbler cobbler mend my shoe’ is depicted according to an oscillatory framework, revealing how slower modulations in the temporal domain (Panel c) provide information relevant to identifying stressed syllables (aligned to peaks in the 1.4 Hz AM) and syllables (aligned to peaks in the 2.6 Hz AM). We apply this neural model to children's rhyme judgements, showing (counter to standard linguistic theory) that the perceived phonological similarity between words that rhyme depends primarily on slow, low‐frequency spectro‐temporal information, which is more predictive of childrens' performance than the faster information assumed by current theory to support phonetic judgements.
    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12457   open full text
  • Comparing single‐ and dual‐process models of memory development.
    Brett K. Hayes, John C. Dunn, Amy Joubert, Robert Taylor.
    Developmental Science. September 22, 2016
    This experiment examined single‐process and dual‐process accounts of the development of visual recognition memory. The participants, 6–7‐year‐olds, 9–10‐year‐olds and adults, were presented with a list of pictures which they encoded under shallow or deep conditions. They then made recognition and confidence judgments about a list containing old and new items. We replicated the main trends reported by Ghetti and Angelini () in that recognition hit rates increased from 6 to 9 years of age, with larger age changes following deep than shallow encoding. Formal versions of the dual‐process high threshold signal detection model and several single‐process models (equal variance signal detection, unequal variance signal detection, mixture signal detection) were fit to the developmental data. The unequal variance and mixture signal detection models gave a better account of the data than either of the other models. A state‐trace analysis found evidence for only one underlying memory process across the age range tested. These results suggest that single‐process memory models based on memory strength are a viable alternative to dual‐process models for explaining memory development. This experiment examined single‐process and dual‐process accounts of the development of visual recognition memory in 6–7‐year‐olds, 9–10‐year‐olds and adults (N=  96). Formal versions of a dual‐process model and several single‐process models (equal variance signal detection, unequal variance signal detection, mixture signal detection) were fit to the developmental data. The unequal variance and mixture signal detection models provided the best fit to recognition data in each age group. Moreover, a state‐trace analysis of recognition responding found evidence for only one underlying memory process. These results suggest that single‐process memory models based on memory strength are a viable alternative to dual‐process models for explaining memory development.
    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12469   open full text
  • Visual attention and academic performance in children with developmental disabilities and behavioural attention deficits.
    Hannah E. Kirk, Kylie Gray, Deborah M. Riby, John Taffe, Kim M. Cornish.
    Developmental Science. September 21, 2016
    Despite well‐documented attention deficits in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), distinctions across types of attention problems and their association with academic attainment has not been fully explored. This study examines visual attention capacities and inattentive/hyperactive behaviours in 77 children aged 4 to 11 years with IDD and elevated behavioural attention difficulties. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 23), Down syndrome (DS; n = 22), and non‐specific intellectual disability (NSID; n = 32) completed computerized visual search and vigilance paradigms. In addition, parents and teachers completed rating scales of inattention and hyperactivity. Concurrent associations between attention abilities and early literacy and numeracy skills were also examined. Children completed measures of receptive vocabulary, phonological abilities and cardinality skills. As expected, the results indicated that all groups had relatively comparable levels of inattentive/hyperactive behaviours as rated by parents and teachers. However, the extent of visual attention deficits varied as a result of group; namely children with DS had poorer visual search and vigilance abilities than children with ASD and NSID. Further, significant associations between visual attention difficulties and poorer literacy and numeracy skills were observed, regardless of group. Collectively the findings demonstrate that in children with IDD who present with homogenous behavioural attention difficulties, at the cognitive level, subtle profiles of attentional problems can be delineated. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders experience unique attention difficulties, which may contribute to reduced academic attainment. We examined visual attention and inattentive/hyperactive behaviour in relation to early academic skills across children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome (DS), and non‐specific intellectual disability (NSID). All children had comparable levels of inattentive/hyperactive behaviour, but children with DS had poorer visual attention compared to children with ASD and NSID. Visual attention difficulties were associated with poorer academic attainment for all children regardless of disorder.
    September 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12468   open full text
  • Anticipatory scene representation in preschool children's recall and recognition memory.
    Erica Kreindel, Helene Intraub.
    Developmental Science. September 01, 2016
    Behavioral and neuroscience research on boundary extension (false memory beyond the edges of a view of a scene) has provided new insights into the constructive nature of scene representation, and motivates questions about development. Early research with children (as young as 6–7 years) was consistent with boundary extension, but relied on an analysis of spatial errors in drawings which are open to alternative explanations (e.g. drawing ability). Experiment 1 replicated and extended prior drawing results with 4–5‐year‐olds and adults. In Experiment 2, a new, forced‐choice immediate recognition memory test was implemented with the same children. On each trial, a card (photograph of a simple scene) was immediately replaced by a test card (identical view and either a closer or more wide‐angle view) and participants indicated which one matched the original view. Error patterns supported boundary extension; identical photographs were more frequently rejected when the closer view was the original view, than vice versa. This asymmetry was not attributable to a selection bias (guessing tasks; Experiments 3–5). In Experiment 4, working memory load was increased by presenting more expansive views of more complex scenes. Again, children exhibited boundary extension, but now adults did not, unless stimulus duration was reduced to 5 s (limiting time to implement strategies; Experiment 5). We propose that like adults, children interpret photographs as views of places in the world; they extrapolate the anticipated continuation of the scene beyond the view and misattribute it to having been seen. Developmental differences in source attribution decision processes provide an explanation for the age‐related differences observed. Children (4–5 years old) and adults misremembered photographs (simple, single‐object scenes) as showing more of the world than they'd actually seen (boundary extension), as measured by recall (drawing) and recognition memory (forced‐choice) tasks. Recognition responses were asymmetrical, with wider‐angle foils drawing more errors than close‐up foils; however, when in another experiment more complex scenes (very wide‐angle views) were presented, now only children exhibited this anticipatory spatial error, unless adults’ stimulus duration was greatly reduced. We suggest that greater boundary extension for children reflects developmental differences in source monitoring; with children being less adept at distinguishing self‐generated from visually‐perceived information in memory.
    September 01, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12444   open full text
  • Action mechanisms for social cognition: behavioral and neural correlates of developing Theory of Mind.
    Lindsay C. Bowman, Samuel G. Thorpe, Erin N. Cannon, Nathan A. Fox.
    Developmental Science. August 29, 2016
    Many psychological theories posit foundational links between two fundamental constructs: (1) our ability to produce, perceive, and represent action; and (2) our ability to understand the meaning and motivation behind the action (i.e. Theory of Mind; ToM). This position is contentious, however, and long‐standing competing theories of social‐cognitive development debate roles for basic action‐processing in ToM. Developmental research is key to investigating these hypotheses, but whether individual differences in neural and behavioral measures of motor action relate to social‐cognitive development is unknown. We examined 3‐ to 5‐year‐old children's (N = 26) EEG mu‐desynchronization during production of object‐directed action, and explored associations between mu‐desynchronization and children's behavioral motor skills, behavioral action‐representation abilities, and behavioral ToM. For children with high (but not low) mu‐desynchronization, motor skill related to action‐representation abilities, and action‐representation mediated relations between motor skill and ToM. Results demonstrate novel foundational links between action‐processing and ToM, suggesting that basic motor action may be a key mechanism for social‐cognitive development, thus shedding light on the origins and emergence of higher social cognition. We investigated the behavioral and neural correlates of basic motor action to examine associations between these constructs and preschool children's developing theory of mind. Further we sought to clarify the functional correlates of the EEG mu rhythm—a rhythm in the brain that has been hypothesized to index action production as well as action representation, and that may constitute a neural mechanism facilitating links between developments in the motor and social cognitive domains. Results demonstrated that greater mu‐desynchronization moderated relations between action production and action representation skills (contrary to some simplified conceptualizations of mu‐rhythm), and critically also evinced clear links between action and theory of mind: For 3‐ to 5‐year‐old children with high mu‐desynchronization (indicating greater activation of underlying neural populations), action representation mediated the relation between action production and theory of mind, whereby better action production performance predicted better action representation performance which in turn predicted better theory‐of‐mind performance.
    August 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12447   open full text
  • Mastery of the logic of natural numbers is not the result of mastery of counting: evidence from late counters.
    Julian Jara‐Ettinger, Steve Piantadosi, Elizabeth S. Spelke, Roger Levy, Edward Gibson.
    Developmental Science. August 21, 2016
    To master the natural number system, children must understand both the concepts that number words capture and the counting procedure by which they are applied. These two types of knowledge develop in childhood, but their connection is poorly understood. Here we explore the relationship between the mastery of counting and the mastery of exact numerical equality (one central aspect of natural number) in the Tsimane’, a farming‐foraging group whose children master counting at a delayed age and with higher variability than do children in industrialized societies. By taking advantage of this variation, we can better understand how counting and exact equality relate to each other, while controlling for age and education. We find that the Tsimane’ come to understand exact equality at later and variable ages. This understanding correlates with their mastery of number words and counting, controlling for age and education. However, some children who have mastered counting lack an understanding of exact equality, and some children who have not mastered counting have achieved this understanding. These results suggest that understanding of counting and of natural number concepts are at least partially distinct achievements, and that both draw on inputs and resources whose distribution and availability differ across cultures. Children's knowledge of counting correlates with their understanding of exact equality, controlling for age and education. These two acquisitions, however, do not emerge in a strict order.
    August 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12459   open full text
  • Eighteen‐month‐old infants show distinct electrophysiological responses to their own faces.
    Janny C. Stapel, Ilse Wijk, Harold Bekkering, Sabine Hunnius.
    Developmental Science. August 21, 2016
    Infants attain the developmental milestone of self‐recognition around 18 to 24 months of age. At 18 months of age, half of the infant population typically shows signs of self‐recognition in the classic mirror test. The current study examined the functional neural correlates of the perception of self in infancy. Eighteen‐month‐old infants observed photographs of their own face, the face of an unfamiliar infant, the face of their caregiver, and the face of an unfamiliar caregiver, while their EEG was registered. The results show that infants show an enhanced response to their own face compared to other faces. The N290, an established face‐selective ERP component in infants, was larger for observation of their own face compared to others’ faces. In addition to the EEG task, the mirror test was administered. Half of the infants in our sample recognized themselves in the mirror. However, there were no differences in the ERP responses between the infants who did and did not recognize themselves in the mirror. This suggests that a distinction between the neural response to self and to others does not necessarily express itself in self‐recognition behavior. 18‐month‐old infants showed a different response in the face‐selective ERP component for own compared to others' faces. This seemed not to depend on mirror test performance: the effect in the face‐selective ERP component was not found to be different for infants coded as ‘recognizer’ and those coded as ‘non‐recognizer’.
    August 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12437   open full text
  • Brain bases of morphological processing in Chinese‐English bilingual children.
    Ka I Ip, Lucy Shih‐Ju Hsu, Maria M. Arredondo, Twila Tardif, Ioulia Kovelman.
    Developmental Science. August 14, 2016
    Can bilingual exposure impact children's neural circuitry for learning to read? To answer this question, we investigated the brain bases of morphological awareness, one of the key spoken language abilities for learning to read in English and Chinese. Bilingual Chinese‐English and monolingual English children (N = 22, ages 7–12) completed morphological tasks that best characterize each of their languages: compound morphology in Chinese (e.g. basket + ball = basketball) and derivational morphology in English (e.g. re + do = redo). In contrast to monolinguals, bilinguals showed greater activation in the left middle temporal region, suggesting that bilingual exposure to Chinese impacts the functionality of brain regions supporting semantic abilities. Similar to monolinguals, bilinguals showed greater activation in the left inferior frontal region [BA 45] in English than Chinese, suggesting that young bilinguals form language‐specific neural representations. The findings offer new insights to inform bilingual and cross‐linguistic models of language and literacy acquisition. The study investigated the impact of bilingual exposure on children's language and reading abilities. During auditory morphological awareness tasks, young Chinese‐English bilinguals showed monolingual‐like competence as well as language‐specific patterns of brain activation in left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). This activation was greater for English than for Chinese in left IFG BA 45, but similar across languages in left IFG BA 47. Relative to English monolinguals, the bilinguals showed greater activation in left MTG region and this activation was significantly correlated with bilinguals’ English literacy. The findings suggest that bilingual exposure to a language with rich lexical morphology, such as Chinese, impacts the functionality of bilinguals’ left temporal regions typically associated with lexico‐semantic processing and the ability to link word meanings to their orthographic forms.
    August 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12449   open full text
  • Intergenerational associations in numerical approximation and mathematical abilities.
    Emily J. Braham, Melissa E. Libertus.
    Developmental Science. August 06, 2016
    Although growing evidence suggests a link between children's math skills and their ability to estimate numerical quantities using the approximate number system (ANS), little is known about the sources underlying individual differences in ANS acuity and their relation with specific mathematical skills. To examine the role of intergenerational transmission of these abilities from parents to children, the current study assessed the ANS acuities and math abilities of 54 children (5–8 years old) and their parents, as well as parents' expectations about children's math skills. Children's ANS acuity positively correlated with their parents' ANS acuity, and children's math abilities were predicted by unique combinations of parents' ANS acuity and math ability depending on the specific math skill in question. These findings provide the first evidence of intergenerational transmission of an unlearned, non‐verbal numerical competence and are an important step toward understanding the multifaceted parental influences on children's math abilities. Although growing evidence suggests a link between children's math skills and their ability to estimate numerical quantities using the approximate number system (ANS), little is known about the sources underlying individual differences in ANS acuity and their relation with specific mathematical skills. Here we find that parents' ANS acuity correlates with their children's ANS acuity, and parent's math ability predicts their children's math ability across a number of math measures. These findings provide the first evidence of intergenerational transmission of an unlearned, non‐verbal numerical competence and are an important step toward understanding the multifaceted parental influences on children's math abilities.
    August 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12436   open full text
  • Are the literacy difficulties that characterize developmental dyslexia associated with a failure to integrate letters and speech sounds?
    Hannah M. Nash, Debbie Gooch, Charles Hulme, Yatin Mahajan, Genevieve McArthur, Kurt Steinmetzger, Margaret J. Snowling.
    Developmental Science. August 06, 2016
    The ‘automatic letter‐sound integration hypothesis’ (Blomert, ) proposes that dyslexia results from a failure to fully integrate letters and speech sounds into automated audio‐visual objects. We tested this hypothesis in a sample of English‐speaking children with dyslexic difficulties (N = 13) and samples of chronological‐age‐matched (CA; N = 17) and reading‐age‐matched controls (RA; N = 17) aged 7–13 years. Each child took part in two priming experiments in which speech sounds were preceded by congruent visual letters (congruent condition) or Greek letters (baseline). In a behavioural experiment, responses to speech sounds in the two conditions were compared using reaction times. These data revealed faster reaction times in the congruent condition in all three groups. In a second electrophysiological experiment, responses to speech sounds in the two conditions were compared using event‐related potentials (ERPs). These data revealed a significant effect of congruency on (1) the P1 ERP over left frontal electrodes in the CA group and over fronto‐central electrodes in the dyslexic group and (2) the P2 ERP in the dyslexic and RA control groups. These findings suggest that our sample of English‐speaking children with dyslexic difficulties demonstrate a degree of letter‐sound integration that is appropriate for their reading level, which challenges the letter‐sound integration hypothesis. We tested the hypothesis that dyslexia results from a failure to fully integrate letters and speech sounds into automated audio‐visual objects by collecting behavioural and ERP data during a priming task. Our data suggest a developmental shift in typically developing children driven by reading experience and that English speaking children with dyslexia have developed a degree of integration that is at least in line with their reading level. This finding challenges the hypothesis.
    August 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12423   open full text
  • Genetic and environmental influences on early literacy skills across school grade contexts.
    Rasheda Haughbrook, Sara A. Hart, Christopher Schatschneider, Jeanette Taylor.
    Developmental Science. August 06, 2016
    Recent research suggests that the etiology of reading achievement can differ across environmental contexts. In the US, schools are commonly assigned grades (e.g. ‘A’, ‘B’) often interpreted to indicate school quality. This study explored differences in the etiology of early literacy skills for students based on these school grades. Participants included twins drawn from the Florida Twin Project on Reading (n = 1313 pairs) aged 4 to 10 years during the 2006–07 school year. Early literacy skills were assessed with DIBELS subtests: Oral Reading Fluency (ORF), Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF), Initial Sound Fluency (ISF), Letter Naming Fluency (LNF), and Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF). School grade data were retrieved from the Florida Department of Education. Multi‐group analyses were conducted separately for subsamples defined by ‘A’ or ‘non‐A’ schools, controlling for school‐level socioeconomic status. Results indicated significant etiological differences on pre‐reading skills (ISF, LNF, and PSF), but not word‐level reading skills (ORF and NWF). There was a consistent trend of greater environmental influences on pre‐reading skills in non‐A schools, arguably representing ‘poorer’ environmental contexts than the A schools. Importantly, this is the case outside of resources linked with school‐level SES, indicating that something about the direct environment on pre‐reading skills in the non‐A school context is more variable than for A schools. The grade a school receives is often used as a proxy for school quality. Our study finds that, across school grade contexts the etiology for early literacy skills differs. More specifically, pre‐word reading skills appear to be influenced by more genetic factors in higher‐graded schools, while environmental factors are more influential in lower‐graded schools.
    August 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12434   open full text
  • Children on the autism spectrum update their behaviour in response to a volatile environment.
    Catherine Manning, James Kilner, Louise Neil, Themelis Karaminis, Elizabeth Pellicano.
    Developmental Science. August 06, 2016
    Typical adults can track reward probabilities across trials to estimate the volatility of the environment and use this information to modify their learning rate (Behrens et al., 2007). In a stable environment, it is advantageous to take account of outcomes over many trials, whereas in a volatile environment, recent experience should be more strongly weighted than distant experience. Recent predictive coding accounts of autism propose that autistic individuals will demonstrate atypical updating of their behaviour in response to the statistics of the reward environment. To rigorously test this hypothesis, we administered a developmentally appropriate version of Behrens et al.'s (2007) task to 34 cognitively able children on the autism spectrum aged between 6 and 14 years, 32 age‐ and ability‐matched typically developing children and 19 typical adults. Participants were required to choose between a green and a blue pirate chest, each associated with a randomly determined reward value between 0 and 100 points, with a combined total of 100 points. On each trial, the reward was given for one stimulus only. In the stable condition, the ratio of the blue or green response being rewarded was fixed at 75:25. In the volatile condition, the ratio alternated between 80:20 and 20:80 every 20 trials. We estimated the learning rate for each participant by fitting a delta rule model and compared this rate across conditions and groups. All groups increased their learning rate in the volatile condition compared to the stable condition. Unexpectedly, there was no effect of group and no interaction between group and condition. Thus, autistic children used information about the statistics of the reward environment to guide their decisions to a similar extent as typically developing children and adults. These results help constrain predictive coding accounts of autism by demonstrating that autism is not characterized by uniform differences in the weighting of prediction error. In this study we tested key predictions from Bayesian and predictive coding accounts of autism using a probabilistic learning task. We found that autistic children used the statistics of the reward environment to guide their decisions to a similar extent as typical children and adults. These results help to refine Bayesian and predictive coding accounts of autism.
    August 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12435   open full text
  • Functional brain organization of working memory in adolescents varies in relation to family income and academic achievement.
    Amy S. Finn, Jennifer E. Minas, Julia A. Leonard, Allyson P. Mackey, John Salvatore, Calvin Goetz, Martin R. West, Christopher F.O. Gabrieli, John D.E. Gabrieli.
    Developmental Science. July 19, 2016
    Working memory (WM) capacity reflects executive functions associated with performance on a wide range of cognitive tasks and education outcomes, including mathematics achievement, and is associated with dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal cortices. Here we asked if family income is associated with variation in the functional brain organization of WM capacity among adolescents, and whether that variation is associated with performance on a statewide test of academic achievement in mathematics. Participants were classified into higher‐income and lower‐income groups based on family income, and performed a WM task with a parametric manipulation of WM load (N‐back task) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Behaviorally, the higher‐income group had greater WM capacity and higher mathematics achievement scores. Neurally, the higher‐income group showed greater activation as a function of WM load in bilateral prefrontal, parietal, and other regions, although the lower‐income group exhibited greater activation at the lowest load. Both groups exhibited positive correlations between parietal activations and mathematics achievement scores, but only the higher‐income group exhibited a positive correlation between prefrontal activations and mathematics scores. Most of these findings were maintained when higher‐ and lower‐income groups were matched on WM task performance or nonverbal IQ. Findings indicate that the functional neural architecture of WM varies with family income and is associated with education measures of mathematics achievement. Higher versus lower family income in adolescents was associated with higher scores on a statewide mathematics achievement test, greater working memory capacity, greater functional brain responses to increasing memory demands, and differential brain correlations with achievement. Findings indicate that the functional neural architecture of working memory varies with family income and is associated with achievement.
    July 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12450   open full text
  • Baby FaceTime: can toddlers learn from online video chat?
    Lauren J. Myers, Rachel B. LeWitt, Renee E. Gallo, Nicole M. Maselli.
    Developmental Science. July 14, 2016
    There is abundant evidence for the ‘video deficit’: children under 2 years old learn better in person than from video. We evaluated whether these findings applied to video chat by testing whether children aged 12–25 months could form relationships with and learn from on‐screen partners. We manipulated social contingency: children experienced either real‐time FaceTime conversations or pre‐recorded Videos as the partner taught novel words, actions and patterns. Children were attentive and responsive in both conditions, but only children in the FaceTime group responded to the partner in a temporally synced manner. After one week, children in the FaceTime condition (but not the Video condition) preferred and recognized their Partner, learned more novel patterns, and the oldest children learned more novel words. Results extend previous studies to demonstrate that children under 2 years show social and cognitive learning from video chat because it retains social contingency. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/rTXaAYd5adA Children ages 22‐25 months learned novel words from interactive video chat, but not from pre‐recorded videos. Also, beginning at 17 months of age, children recognized someone they had previously only ‘met’ via video chat. Social contingency enables learning from video chat for children under 2 years old.
    July 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12430   open full text
  • Altered functional connectivity of the default mode network in Williams syndrome: a multimodal approach.
    Adriana Sampaio, Pedro Silva Moreira, Ana Osório, Ricardo Magalhães, Cristiana Vasconcelos, Montse Férnandez, Angel Carracedo, Joana Alegria, Óscar F. Gonçalves, José Miguel Soares.
    Developmental Science. July 13, 2016
    Resting state brain networks are implicated in a variety of relevant brain functions. Importantly, abnormal patterns of functional connectivity (FC) have been reported in several neurodevelopmental disorders. In particular, the Default Mode Network (DMN) has been found to be associated with social cognition. We hypothesize that the DMN may be altered in Williams syndrome (WS), a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder characterized by an unique cognitive and behavioral phenotype. In this study, we assessed the architecture of the DMN using fMRI in WS patients and typically developing matched controls (sex and age) in terms of FC and volumetry of the DMN. Moreover, we complemented the analysis with a functional connectome approach. After excluding participants due to movement artifacts (n = 3), seven participants with WS and their respective matched controls were included in the analyses. A decreased FC between the DMN regions was observed in the WS group when compared with the typically developing group. Specifically, we found a decreased FC in a posterior hub of the DMN including the precuneus, calcarine and the posterior cingulate of the left hemisphere. The functional connectome approach showed a focalized and global increased FC connectome in the WS group. The reduced FC of the posterior hub of the DMN in the WS group is consistent with immaturity of the brain FC patterns and may be associated with the singularity of their visual spatial phenotype. Abnormal patterns of functional connectivity have been reported in several neurodevelopmental disorders. In this study we investigated the architecture of the Default Mode Network (DMN) and the global connectome using resting‐state fMRI in a group of individuals with Williams syndrome and in typically developing matched group. A decreased FC between the DMN regions and a global and inter‐hemispheric FC connectome increase was observed in the WS group. Moreover, the reduced FC of the posterior hub of the DMN in WS group is consistent with immaturity of the brain FC patterns and may be associated with the singularity of their visual spatial phenotype.
    July 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12443   open full text
  • Reading skill–fractional anisotropy relationships in visuospatial tracts diverge depending on socioeconomic status.
    Margaret M. Gullick, Özlem Ece Demir‐Lira, James R. Booth.
    Developmental Science. July 13, 2016
    Low socioeconomic status (SES) has been repeatedly linked with decreased academic achievement, including lower reading outcomes. Some lower SES children do show skills and scores commensurate with those of their higher SES peers, but whether their abilities stem from the same systems as high SES children or are based on divergent strategies is unknown. We here investigated a potential interactive relationship between SES and real‐word reading skill in the white matter in 42 typically developing children. SES was determined based on parental education; reading skill and age were not significantly related to SES. There was a significant neural interaction: Clusters in the bilateral inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), left superior longitudinal fasciculus, and left corticospinal tract demonstrated interactive skill–SES relationships in fractional anisotropy. Follow‐up analyses demonstrated that higher SES children showed a positive relationship between fractional anisotropy, reflecting tract coherence, and reading skill in left hemisphere tract clusters, whereas lower SES children showed a positive relationship in the right hemisphere homologues. Broadly, the ILF has been demonstrated to support orthographic skill on the left and more general visuospatial processing on the right, so high reading achievement in lower SES children may rely on supplementary visuospatial processing more than for higher SES readers. This pattern is consistent with previous work reporting low SES children's environments to include less rich verbal experience, which may lead them to disproportionately draw on visuospatial skills for success. Further, these results indicate that group SES differences may be best described by an adaptive, not a deficit, model. Reading skill was found to be differentially related to white matter structure depending on socioeconomic status. Lower SES children showed a unique positive correlation in right hemisphere visuospatial tracts, indicating that they may particularly rely on visuospatial orthographic processing strategies for reading success.
    July 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12428   open full text
  • A theoretical rut: revisiting and critically evaluating the generalized under/over‐connectivity hypothesis of autism.
    Giorgia Picci, Stephen J. Gotts, K. Suzanne Scherf.
    Developmental Science. July 13, 2016
    In 2004, two papers proposed that pervasive functional under‐connectivity (Just et al., ) or a trade‐off between excessive local connectivity at the cost of distal under‐connectivity (Belmonte et al., ) characterizes atypical brain organization in autism. Here, we take stock of the most recent and rigorous functional and structural connectivity findings with a careful eye toward evaluating the extent to which they support these original hypotheses. Indeed, the empirical data do not support them. From rsfMRI studies in adolescents and adults, there is an emerging consensus regarding long‐range functional connections indicating cortico‐cortical under‐connectivity, specifically involving the temporal lobes, combined with subcortical‐cortical over‐connectivity. In contrast, there is little to no consensus regarding local functional connectivity or findings from task‐based functional connectivity studies. The structural connectivity data suggest that white matter tracts are pervasively weak, particularly in the temporal lobe. Together, these findings are revealing how deeply complex the story is regarding atypical neural network organization in autism. In other words, distance and strength of connectivity as individual factors or as interacting factors do not consistently explain the patterns of atypical neural connectivity in autism. Therefore, we make several methodological recommendations and highlight developmental considerations that will help researchers in the field cultivate new hypotheses about the nature and mechanisms of potentially aberrant functional and structural connectivity in autism. Conclusions from the most recent, methodologically rigorous autism connectivity research are represented here. We reviewed findings from resting‐state and task‐based functional (i.e., fMRI and MEG) and structural connectivity literatures. In addition, we propose developmental recommendations and considerations for future work investigating neural connectivity in autism.
    July 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12467   open full text
  • You get what you give: children's karmic bargaining.
    Konika Banerjee, Paul Bloom.
    Developmental Science. June 30, 2016
    Do children believe in karma – the notion that life events occur to punish or reward our moral behavior? In three experiments, we investigate 4–6‐year‐old children's willingness to endorse and engage in the practice of performing good acts in order to secure an unrelated future desired outcome, so‐called ‘karmic bargaining’. Most children agreed that performing a morally good social behavior, but not a morally negative or morally neutral non‐social behavior, would increase the chances that future desired outcomes would occur, in both first‐party and third‐party contexts. About half of children also engaged in karmic bargaining behavior themselves. We conclude that a belief in karma may therefore reflect a broad, early‐emerging teleological bias to interpret life events in terms of agency, purpose, and design. We examine young children's belief in karmic bargaining – the practice of doing good acts in order to secure an unrelated future desired outcome. Children endorsed a belief in karmic bargaining in both first‐person and third‐person contexts, and about half of children also engaged in karmic bargaining behavior themselves. A belief in karma may reflect a broad bias to interpret life events in terms of agency, purpose, and design.
    June 30, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12442   open full text
  • Parent‐ and child‐driven effects during the transition to adolescence: a longitudinal, genetic analysis of the home environment.
    Laurie J. Hannigan, Tom A. McAdams, Robert Plomin, Thalia C. Eley.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2016
    Theoretical models of child development typically consider the home environment as a product of bidirectional effects, with parent‐ and child‐driven processes operating interdependently. However, the developmental structure of these processes during the transition from childhood to adolescence has not been well studied. In this study we used longitudinal genetic analyses of data from 6646 UK‐representative twin pairs (aged 9–16 years) to investigate stability and change in parenting and household chaos in the context of parent–child bidirectional effects. Stability in the home environment was modest, arising mainly from parent‐driven processes and family‐wide influences. In contrast, change over time was more influenced by child‐driven processes, indicated by significant age‐specific genetic influences. Interpretations of these results and their implications for researchers are discussed. The home environment is shaped by parent‐and child‐driven processes operating interdependently. This study seeks to establish the extent to which these contribute to stability and change over the transition from childhood to adolescence.
    June 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12432   open full text
  • Bilingual children's long‐term outcomes in English as a second language: language environment factors shape individual differences in catching up with monolinguals.
    Johanne Paradis, Ruiting Jia.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2016
    Bilingual children experience more variation in their language environment than monolingual children and this impacts their rate of language development with respect to monolinguals. How long it takes for bilingual children learning English as a second language (L2) to display similar abilities to monolingual age‐peers has been estimated to be 4–6 years, but conflicting findings suggest that even 6 years in school is not enough. Most studies on long‐term L2 development have focused on just one linguistic sub‐domain, vocabulary, and have not included multiple individual difference factors. For the present study, Chinese first language‐English L2 children were given standardized measures of vocabulary, grammar and global comprehension every year from 4 ½ to 6 ½ years of English in school (ages 8½ to 10½); language environment factors were obtained through an extensive parent questionnaire. Children converged on monolingual norms differentially according to the test, with the majority of children reaching monolingual levels of performance on the majority of tests by 5 ½ years of English exposure. Individual differences in outcomes were predicted by length of English exposure, mother's education, mother's English fluency, child's use of English in the home, richness/quality of the English input outside school and age of arrival in Canada. In sum, the timeframe for bilinguals to catch up to monolinguals depends on linguistic sub‐domain, task difficulty and on individual children's language environment, making 4–6 years an approximate estimate only. This study also shows that language environment factors shape not only early‐stage but also late‐stage bilingual development. This longitudinal study shows that there is no straightforward answer to the question, How long does it take for English second language children to catch up to their monolingual peers? From ages 8½ to 10½, convergence on monolingual norms depended on task difficulty and linguistic sub‐domain. Longer exposure time to English, a richer English environment, a mother with a higher level of education, a mother with greater fluency in English, the child using English in the home and being foreign‐born all predicted stronger English second language abilities, and by extension, performance closer to monolingual norms.
    June 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12433   open full text
  • Adolescent development of insula‐dependent interoceptive regulation.
    Dawei Li, Nancy L. Zucker, Philip A. Kragel, Virginia E. Covington, Kevin S. LaBar.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2016
    Adolescence is hypothesized to be a critical period for the maturation of self‐regulatory capacities, including those that depend on interoceptive sensitivity, but the neural basis of interoceptive regulation in adolescence is unknown. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and psychophysiology to study interoceptive regulation in healthy adolescent females. Participants regulated their gut activities in response to a virtual roller coaster by deep breathing aided by visually monitoring their online electrogastrogram (EGG) activity through a virtual thermometer (i.e. gut biofeedback), or without biofeedback. Analyses focused on the insula, given its putative role in interoception. The bilateral posterior insula showed increased activation in the no‐biofeedback compared to biofeedback condition, suggesting that the participants relied more on interoceptive input when exteroceptive feedback was unavailable. The bilateral dorsal anterior insula showed activation linearly associated with age during both induction and regulation, and its activation during regulation correlated positively with change of EGG in the tachygastria frequency band from induction to regulation. Induction‐related activation in the bilateral ventral anterior insula was nonlinearly associated with age and peaked at mid‐adolescence. These results implicate different developmental trajectories of distinct sub‐regions of the insula in interoceptive processes, with implications for competing neurobiological theories of female adolescent development. This study investigated the brain mechanisms by which adolescents regulate their gut feelings in response to a virtual roller coaster ride. Participants were trained to use deep breathing exercises and biofeedback signals from their stomach (EGG) while brain activity was recorded using functional neuroimaging. Older adolescents show an increased reliance on a region of the insula, a brain area implicated in monitoring the body, to successfully regulate their gut activity.
    June 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12438   open full text
  • Part‐based representations of the body in early childhood: evidence from perceived distortions of tactile space across limb boundaries.
    Frances Le Cornu Knight, Dorothy Cowie, Andrew J. Bremner.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2016
    Studies show that touch in adults is referenced to a representation of the body that is structured topologically according to body parts; the perceived distance between two stimuli crossing over a body part boundary is elongated relative to the perceived distance between two stimuli presented within one body part category. Here we investigate this influence of body parts on tactile space perception in children of 5, 6 and 7 years of age. We presented children with pairs of tactile stimuli on the left hand/arm, either within the hand, within the forearm, or over the wrist. With their eyes closed children were asked to adjust the distance between the thumb and forefinger of their right hand to represent the felt distance between the two tactile stimuli. Like adults, the children perceived the distance between two stimuli that cross the body part boundary to be further apart than those that were presented within the hand or arm. They also perceive tactile distance to be greater on the hand than the arm which is the first observation of Weber's illusion in young children. We propose that a topological mode of body representation is particularly advantageous during early life given that body part categories remain constant while the metric proportions of the body change substantially as the child grows. Here we show that in childhood, as in adulthood, the way we represent our body in terms of its constituent parts and their boundaries, modulates the way that we perceive touch on the skin's surface. Two tactile stimuli presented on one body part are perceived as more similar, and therefore closer together, than two equally spaced tactile stimuli that cross over a body part boundary.
    June 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12439   open full text
  • Aberrant topologies and reconfiguration pattern of functional brain network in children with second language reading impairment.
    Lanfang Liu, Hehui Li, Manli Zhang, Zhengke Wang, Na Wei, Li Liu, Xiangzhi Meng, Guosheng Ding.
    Developmental Science. June 19, 2016
    Prior work has extensively studied neural deficits in children with reading impairment (RI) in their native language but has rarely examined those of RI children in their second language (L2). A recent study revealed that the function of the local brain regions was disrupted in children with RI in L2, but it is not clear whether the disruption also occurs at a large‐scale brain network level. Using fMRI and graph theoretical analysis, we explored the topology of the whole‐brain functional network during a phonological rhyming task and network reconfigurations across task and short resting phases in Chinese children with English reading impairment versus age‐matched typically developing (TD) children. We found that, when completing the phonological task, the RI group exhibited higher local network efficiency and network modularity compared with the TD group. When switching between the phonological task and the short resting phase, the RI group showed difficulty with network reconfiguration, as reflected in fewer changes in the local efficiency and modularity properties and less rearrangement of the modular communities. These findings were reproducible after controlling for the effects of in‐scanner accuracy, participant gender, and L1 reading performance. The results from the whole‐brain network analyses were largely replicated in the task‐activated network. These findings provide preliminary evidence supporting that RI in L2 is associated with not only abnormal functional network organization but also poor flexibility of the neural system in responding to changing cognitive demands. We explored the large‐scale functional brain network in children with L2 reading impairment (RI) versus typically developing (TD) children. We found RI children exhibited abnormally over‐clustered topology in their whole‐brain network in a phonological task, and showed difficulty with network reconfiguration when switching between the phonological task and short resting phases. These results indicate L2 reading impairment may be associated with a developmental lag and lack of flexibility in brain system.
    June 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12440   open full text
  • Napping reduces emotional attention bias during early childhood.
    Amanda Cremone, Laura B.F. Kurdziel, Ada Fraticelli‐Torres, Jennifer M. McDermott, Rebecca M.C. Spencer.
    Developmental Science. June 10, 2016
    Sleep loss alters processing of emotional stimuli in preschool‐aged children. However, the mechanism by which sleep modifies emotional processing in early childhood is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that a nap, compared to an equivalent time spent awake, reduces biases in attention allocation to affective information. Children (n = 43; M = 55.40 months, SD = 8.05 months) completed a Dot Probe task, which provides a measure of attention biases to emotional stimuli, following a mid‐day nap and an equivalent interval spent awake. No emotional attention biases emerged when children napped. However, when nap‐deprived, children exhibited biases towards negative and positive stimuli. This emotional bias after wake was greater in children who napped habitually. Gender differences also emerged such that females were more attentive to positive emotional stimuli whereas males showed heightened attention to negative emotional stimuli, regardless of having napped or not. Moreover, greater slow wave activity (SWA) during the nap was associated with faster responding, which suggests that SWA may promote efficiency of attention allocation. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIoZ8mzxQgg To understand the mechanism through which sleep alters emotional processing during early childhood, we assessed attention biases following a mid‐nap and an equivalent interval of wake in preschool children. Naps reduced emotional attention biases that were present following nap deprivation. Slow wave activity (SWA) may be a physiological property underlying the efficacy of emotional attention processing following sleep.
    June 10, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12411   open full text
  • Adaptive specialization in position encoding while learning to read.
    Dénes Tóth, Valéria Csépe.
    Developmental Science. June 02, 2016
    The present experiments focused on how orthographic processing develops during reading acquisition. Specifically, a large, cross‐sectional sample of children from grade 2 to grade 4 was exposed to pairs of words, pseudowords, digit strings, and pseudo‐letter (Armenian) strings while their sensitivity to transpositions (T) and substitutions (S) of internal characters was investigated in a perceptual matching task. The results showed that the development of identity and position decoding diverged between the four stimulus categories. Most importantly, sensitivity improved with longer exposure to formal education and higher reading level to both S and T pairs for digit strings, but only to S pairs for words and pseudowords. The results were successfully reproduced in two small independent samples. We propose a general framework, the Adaptive Specialization Hypothesis, to accommodate the results. According to this hypothesis, the transposed‐letter effect is not a hard‐wired feature of the orthographic processing system but an adaptive response of the developing orthographic system to the constraints of lexical access in several orthographies. We investigated the development of the transposition effect, a widely studied phenomenon of orthographic processing. Children with better reading abilities and/or longer exposure to formal education showed larger transposition effect and this developmental pattern was specific to letter strings. A novel interpretation of the results considers the letter transposition effect a marker of adaptive specialization during reading acquisition.
    June 02, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12426   open full text
  • Specialization of the motor system in infancy: from broad tuning to selectively specialized purposeful actions.
    Hana D'Souza, Dorothy Cowie, Annette Karmiloff‐Smith, Andrew J. Bremner.
    Developmental Science. June 02, 2016
    In executing purposeful actions, adults select sufficient and necessary limbs. But infants often move goal‐irrelevant limbs, suggesting a developmental process of motor specialization. Two experiments with 9‐ and 12‐month‐olds revealed gradual decreases in extraneous movements in non‐acting limbs during unimanual actions. In Experiment 1, 9‐month‐olds produced more extraneous movements in the non‐acting hand/arm and feet/legs than 12‐month‐olds. In Experiment 2, analysis of the spatiotemporal dynamics of infants’ movements revealed developmental declines in the spatiotemporal coupling of movements between acting and non‐acting arms. We also showed that the degree of specialization in infants’ unimanual actions is associated with individual differences in motor experience and visual attention, indicating the experience‐dependent and broad functional nature of these developmental changes. Our study provides important new insights into motor development: as in cognitive domains, motor behaviours are initially broadly tuned to their goal, becoming progressively specialized during the first year of life. This study provides important new insights into the developmental process of motor specialization, by which motor abilities, similarly to cognitive and perceptual functions, start out broadly tuned to their goal, becoming progressively more tailored to action goals over the first year of life. Two experiments with 9‐ and 12‐month‐olds revealed gradual decreases in extraneous movements in non‐acting limbs during unimanual actions. We also showed that the degree of specialization in infants’ unimanual actions is associated with individual differences in motor experience and visual attention, indicating the experience‐dependent and broad functional nature of these developmental changes.
    June 02, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12409   open full text
  • Caregiver talk to young Spanish‐English bilinguals: comparing direct observation and parent‐report measures of dual‐language exposure.
    Virginia A. Marchman, Lucía Z. Martínez, Nereyda Hurtado, Theres Grüter, Anne Fernald.
    Developmental Science. May 19, 2016
    In research on language development by bilingual children, the early language environment is commonly characterized in terms of the relative amount of exposure a child gets to each language based on parent report. Little is known about how absolute measures of child‐directed speech in two languages relate to language growth. In this study of 3‐year‐old Spanish‐English bilinguals (n = 18), traditional parent‐report estimates of exposure were compared to measures of the number of Spanish and English words children heard during naturalistic audio recordings. While the two estimates were moderately correlated, observed numbers of child‐directed words were more consistently predictive of children's processing speed and standardized test performance, even when controlling for reported proportion of exposure. These findings highlight the importance of caregiver engagement in bilingual children's language outcomes in both of the languages they are learning. This research compared reported estimates of Spanish‐English language exposure with those based on naturalistic recordings in 3‐year old bilingual children. While moderately correlated, reported exposure failed to capture some variability in the number of child‐directed words that children were observed to hear in each language. Moreover, observed estimates more consistently predicted children's outcomes than reported estimates. This figure plots the time course of spoken language processing, indicating faster processing speed in children who heard more vs. less child‐directed speech in (a) Spanish and (b) English. Our results revealed important parallels between monolingual and bilingual language development and suggest that caregiver talk supports the development of language knowledge and also tunes up critical information‐processing skills that are fundamental for language and cognitive growth.
    May 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12425   open full text
  • The role of learning in social development: Illustrations from neglected children.
    Alison B. Wismer Fries, Seth D. Pollak.
    Developmental Science. May 19, 2016
    Children who experience early caregiving neglect are very likely to have problems developing and maintaining relationships and regulating their social behavior. One of the earliest manifestations of this problem is reflected in indiscriminate behavior, a phenomenon where young children do not show normative wariness of strangers or use familiar adults as sources of security. To better understand the developmental mechanisms underlying the emergence of these problems, this study examined whether institutionally reared children, who experienced early social neglect, had difficulty associating motivational significance to visual stimuli. Pairing stimuli with motivational significance is presumably one of the associative learning processes involved in establishing discriminate or selective relationships with others. We found that early experiences of neglectful caregiving were associated with difficulties in acquiring such associations, and that delays in this developmental skill were related to children's social difficulties. These data suggest a way in which early social learning experiences may impact the development of processes underlying emotional development. Typically developing children were able to successfully utilize implicit information to motivate their learning behavior. In contrast, children who experienced severe early neglect did not make these associations. Children's ability to use these implicit learning cues was associated with their indiscriminate behavioral problems. These data are consistent with the view that motivated learning processes may be influenced by early caregiving and undermine children's abilities to form discriminate social relationships.
    May 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12431   open full text
  • The influence of bilingualism on the preference for the mouth region of dynamic faces.
    Alba Ayneto, Nuria Sebastian‐Galles.
    Developmental Science. May 15, 2016
    Bilingual infants show an extended period of looking at the mouth of talking faces, which provides them with additional articulatory cues that can be used to boost the challenging situation of learning two languages (Pons, Bosch & Lewkowicz, 2015). However, the eye region also provides fundamental cues for emotion perception and recognition, as well as communication. Here, we explored whether the adaptations resulting from learning two languages are specific to linguistic content or if they also influence the focus of attention when looking at dynamic faces. We recorded the eye gaze of bilingual and monolingual infants (8‐ and 12‐month‐olds) while watching videos of infants and adults portraying different emotional states (neutral, crying, and laughing). When looking at infant faces, bilinguals looked longer at the mouth region as compared to monolinguals regardless of age. However, when presented with adult faces, 8‐month‐old bilingual infants looked longer at the mouth region and less at the eye region compared to 8‐month‐old monolingual infants, but no effect of language exposure was found at 12 months of age. These findings suggest that the bias to the mouth region in bilingual infants at 8 months of age can be generalized to other audiovisual dynamic faces that do not contain linguistic information. We discuss the potential implications of such bias in early social and communicative development. This study explores if the increased preference for the mouth region in bilingual infants when looking at talking faces is generalized to other dynamic faces, such as emotional faces. The results show that bilingual infants look longer at the mouth as compared to monolingual infants regardless of the linguistic content of the stimuli. This indicates that the adaptations resulting from learning two languages can be generalized to non linguistic faces.
    May 15, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12446   open full text
  • The relationship between spoken language and speech and nonspeech processing in children with autism: a magnetic event‐related field study.
    Shu Hui Yau, Jon Brock, Genevieve McArthur.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    It has been proposed that language impairments in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) stem from atypical neural processing of speech and/or nonspeech sounds. However, the strength of this proposal is compromised by the unreliable outcomes of previous studies of speech and nonspeech processing in ASD. The aim of this study was to determine whether there was an association between poor spoken language and atypical event‐related field (ERF) responses to speech and nonspeech sounds in children with ASD (n = 14) and controls (n = 18). Data from this developmental population (ages 6–14) were analysed using a novel combination of methods to maximize the reliability of our findings while taking into consideration the heterogeneity of the ASD population. The results showed that poor spoken language scores were associated with atypical left hemisphere brain responses (200 to 400 ms) to both speech and nonspeech in the ASD group. These data support the idea that some children with ASD may have an immature auditory cortex that affects their ability to process both speech and nonspeech sounds. Their poor speech processing may impair their ability to process the speech of other people, and hence reduce their ability to learn the phonology, syntax, and semantics of their native language. As a group, children with ASD show atypical neural auditory processing of both speech and nonspeech sounds, which is linked to overall spoken language ability. Children with ASD also show immature auditory brain responses at the group level. Within the ASD group, poor language processing is strongly associated with dissimilar speech and nonspeech responses in the left hemisphere (within the 200–400ms higher cognitive processing time window). An impacted or immature auditory processing system may contribute to less stable representations of sounds, and interfere with the development of spoken language perception and production in ASD.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12328   open full text
  • The organization of exploratory behaviors in infant locomotor planning.
    Kari S. Kretch, Karen E. Adolph.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    How do infants plan and guide locomotion under challenging conditions? This experiment investigated the real‐time process of visual and haptic exploration in 14‐month‐old infants as they decided whether and how to walk over challenging terrain – a series of bridges varying in width. Infants’ direction of gaze was recorded with a head‐mounted eye tracker and their haptic exploration and locomotor actions were captured on video. Infants’ exploration was an organized, efficient sequence of visual, haptic, and locomotor behaviors. They used visual exploration from a distance as an initial assessment on nearly every bridge. Visual information subsequently prompted gait modifications while approaching narrow bridges and haptic exploration at the edge of the bridge. Results confirm predictions about the sequential, ramping‐up process of exploration and the distinct roles of vision and touch. Exploration, however, was not a guarantee of adaptive decisions. With walking experience, exploratory behaviors became increasingly efficient and infants were better able to interpret the resulting perceptual information in terms of whether it was safe to walk. When deciding whether to cross bridges varying in width, 13–14‐month‐old infants displayed an organized, efficient sequence of visual and haptic exploratory behaviors.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12421   open full text
  • Representations of numerical and non‐numerical magnitude both contribute to mathematical competence in children.
    Stella F. Lourenco, Justin W. Bonny.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    A growing body of evidence suggests that non‐symbolic representations of number, which humans share with nonhuman animals, are functionally related to uniquely human mathematical thought. Other research suggesting that numerical and non‐numerical magnitudes not only share analog format but also form part of a general magnitude system raises questions about whether the non‐symbolic basis of mathematical thinking is unique to numerical magnitude. Here we examined this issue in 5‐ and 6‐year‐old children using comparison tasks of non‐symbolic number arrays and cumulative area as well as standardized tests of math competence. One set of findings revealed that scores on both magnitude comparison tasks were modulated by ratio, consistent with shared analog format. Moreover, scores on these tasks were moderately correlated, suggesting overlap in the precision of numerical and non‐numerical magnitudes, as expected under a general magnitude system. Another set of findings revealed that the precision of both types of magnitude contributed shared and unique variance to the same math measures (e.g. calculation and geometry), after accounting for age and verbal competence. These findings argue against an exclusive role for non‐symbolic number in supporting early mathematical understanding. Moreover, they suggest that mathematical understanding may be rooted in a general system of magnitude representation that is not specific to numerical magnitude but that also encompasses non‐numerical magnitude. Numerical and non‐numerical magnitude precision in 5‐ and 6‐year‐olds was estimated using non‐symbolic number and cumulative area comparison tasks. The precision of children's magnitude representations predicted better performance on multiple measures of school‐relevant mathematics, even when controlling for age and non‐mathematical (verbal) intelligence. Hierarchical regression models revealed that the precision of numerical and non‐numerical magnitude contributed shared and unique variance to mathematical competence. Altogether, these results suggest that math development may be rooted in a general system of magnitude representation that is not specific to numerical magnitude but that also encompasses non‐numerical magnitude.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12418   open full text
  • Co‐occurrence statistics as a language‐dependent cue for speech segmentation.
    Amanda Saksida, Alan Langus, Marina Nespor.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    To what extent can language acquisition be explained in terms of different associative learning mechanisms? It has been hypothesized that distributional regularities in spoken languages are strong enough to elicit statistical learning about dependencies among speech units. Distributional regularities could be a useful cue for word learning even without rich language‐specific knowledge. However, it is not clear how strong and reliable the distributional cues are that humans might use to segment speech. We investigate cross‐linguistic viability of different statistical learning strategies by analyzing child‐directed speech corpora from nine languages and by modeling possible statistics‐based speech segmentations. We show that languages vary as to which statistical segmentation strategies are most successful. The variability of the results can be partially explained by systematic differences between languages, such as rhythmical differences. The results confirm previous findings that different statistical learning strategies are successful in different languages and suggest that infants may have to primarily rely on non‐statistical cues when they begin their process of speech segmentation. Co‐occurrence statistics are not equally informative about word boundaries in all languages. A possible source of statistical variance between languages is linguistic rhythm – in stress‐timed languages (English, Polish, Dutch), co‐occurrence statistics are more informative when an absolute threshold is selected, and in mora‐timed languages (Japanese, Tamil), relative thresholding yields better word segmentation. Infants might therefore use language‐specific information about rhythm to narrow down possible associative strategies to segment speech.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12390   open full text
  • Segmenting words from fluent speech during infancy – challenges and opportunities in a bilingual context.
    Linda Polka, Adriel John Orena, Megha Sundara, Jennifer Worrall.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    Previous research shows that word segmentation is a language‐specific skill. Here, we tested segmentation of bi‐syllabic words in two languages (French; English) within the same infants in a single test session. In Experiment 1, monolingual 8‐month‐olds (French; English) segmented bi‐syllabic words in their native language, but not in an unfamiliar and rhythmically different language. In Experiment 2, bilingual infants acquiring French and English demonstrated successful segmentation for French when it was tested first, but not for English and not for either language when tested second. There were no effects of language exposure on this pattern of findings. In Experiment 3, bilingual infants segmented the same English materials used in Experiment 2 when they were tested using the standard segmentation procedure, which provided more exposure to the test stimuli. These findings show that segmenting words in both their native languages in the dual‐language task poses a distinct challenge for bilingual 8‐month‐olds acquiring French and English. Further research exploring early word segmentation will advance our understanding of bilingual acquisition and expand our fundamental knowledge of language and cognitive development. When two languages are presented in the same segmentation test session, monolingual infants segmented target words only in their native language and bilinguals infants segmented words only in French. This task reveals a distinct challenge for bilingual infants in their development of word segmentation.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12419   open full text
  • Comprehending text versus reading words in young readers with varying reading ability: distinct patterns of functional connectivity from common processing hubs.
    Katherine S. Aboud, Stephen K. Bailey, Stephen A. Petrill, Laurie E. Cutting.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    Skilled reading depends on recognizing words efficiently in isolation (word‐level processing; WL) and extracting meaning from text (discourse‐level processing; DL); deficiencies in either result in poor reading. FMRI has revealed consistent overlapping networks in word and passage reading, as well as unique regions for DL processing; however, less is known about how WL and DL processes interact. Here we examined functional connectivity from seed regions derived from where BOLD signal overlapped during word and passage reading in 38 adolescents ranging in reading ability, hypothesizing that even though certain regions support word‐ and higher‐level language, connectivity patterns from overlapping regions would be task modulated. Results indeed revealed that the left‐lateralized semantic and working memory (WM) seed regions showed task‐dependent functional connectivity patterns: during DL processes, semantic and WM nodes all correlated with the left angular gyrus, a region implicated in semantic memory/coherence building. In contrast, during WL, these nodes coordinated with a traditional WL area (left occipitotemporal region). In addition, these WL and DL findings were modulated by decoding and comprehension abilities, respectively, with poorer abilities correlating with decreased connectivity. Findings indicate that key regions may uniquely contribute to multiple levels of reading; we speculate that these connectivity patterns may be especially salient for reading outcomes and intervention response. The authors found that, in adolescents, common neural hubs shared by word reading and text comprehension show differential, task‐dependent functional connectivity patterns. These discriminatory patterns are predicted by reading and reading comprehension ability. Findings emphasize that shared activation in similar cognitive tasks may not necessarily be indicative of shared function.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12422   open full text
  • The development of generosity and moral cognition across five cultures.
    Jason M. Cowell, Kang Lee, Susan Malcolm‐Smith, Bilge Selcuk, Xinyue Zhou, Jean Decety.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    Morality is an evolved aspect of human nature, yet is heavily influenced by cultural environment. This developmental study adopted an integrative approach by combining measures of socioeconomic status (SES), executive function, affective sharing, empathic concern, theory of mind, and moral judgment in predicting sharing behavior in children (N = 999) from the age of 5 to 12 in five large‐scale societies: Canada, China, Turkey, South Africa, and the USA. Results demonstrate that age, gender, SES, culture, and social cognitive mechanisms explain over 20% of the variance worldwide in children's resource allocation. These findings are discussed in reference to standard cultural comparisons (individualist/collectivist), as well as the degree of market integration, and highlight continuities and discontinuities in children's generosity across urban contexts. This developmental study combined measures of socioeconomic status (SES), executive function, affective sharing, empathic concern, theory of mind, and moral judgment in predicting sharing behavior in children (N = 999) from the age of 5 to 12 in five large‐scale societies. Results demonstrate that age, gender, SES, culture, and social cognitive mechanisms explain over 20% of the variance worldwide in children’s resource allocation, highlighting continuities and discontinuities in children's generosity across urban contexts.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12403   open full text
  • Neural signature of developmental coordination disorder in the structural connectome independent of comorbid autism.
    Karen Caeyenberghs, Tom Taymans, Peter H. Wilson, Guy Vanderstraeten, Hadi Hosseini, Hilde Waelvelde.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2016
    Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often exhibit motor clumsiness (Developmental Coordination Disorder, DCD), i.e. they struggle with everyday tasks that require motor coordination like dressing, self‐care, and participating in sport and leisure activities. Previous studies in these neurodevelopmental disorders have demonstrated functional abnormalities and alterations of white matter microstructural integrity in specific brain regions. These findings suggest that the global organization of brain networks is affected in DCD and ASD and support the hypothesis of a ‘dys‐connectivity syndrome’ from a network perspective. No studies have compared the structural covariance networks between ASD and DCD in order to look for the signature of DCD independent of comorbid autism. Here, we aimed to address the question of whether abnormal connectivity in DCD overlaps that seen in autism or comorbid DCD‐autism. Using graph theoretical analysis, we investigated differences in global and regional topological properties of structural brain networks in 53 children: 8 ASD children with DCD (DCD+ASD), 15 ASD children without DCD (ASD), 11 with DCD only, and 19 typically developing (TD) children. We constructed separate structural correlation networks based on cortical thickness derived from Freesurfer. The children were assessed on the Movement‐ABC and the Beery Test of Visual Motor Integration. Behavioral results demonstrated that the DCD group and DCD+ASD group scored on average poorer than the TD and ASD groups on various motor measures. Furthermore, although the brain networks of all groups exhibited small‐world properties, the topological architecture of the networks was significantly altered in children with ASD compared with DCD and TD. ASD children showed increased normalized path length and higher values of clustering coefficient. Also, paralimbic regions exhibited nodal clustering coefficient alterations in singular disorders. These changes were disorder‐specific, and included alterations in clustering coefficient in the isthmus of the right cingulate gyrus and the pars orbitalis of the right inferior frontal gyrus in ASD children, and DCD‐related increases in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex. Children meeting criteria for both DCD and ASD exhibited topological changes that were more widespread from those seen in children with only DCD, i.e. children with DCD+ASD showed alterations of clustering coefficient in (para)limbic regions, primary areas, and association areas. The DCD+ASD group showed changes in clustering coefficient in the left association cortex relative to the ASD group. Finally, the DCD+ASD group shared ASD‐specific abnormalities in the pars orbitalis of right inferior frontal gyrus, which was hypothesized to reflect atypical emotional‐cognitive processing. Our results provide evidence that DCD and ASD are neurodevelopmental disorders with a low degree of overlap in abnormalities in connectivity. The co‐occurrence of DCD+ASD was also associated with a distinct topological pattern, highlighting the unique neural signature of comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) were simultaneously investigated with graph theoretical analyses. The co‐occurrence of DCD+ASD was associated with a distinct topological pattern. These results will aid in providing better definitions for comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders.
    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12424   open full text
  • To trust or not to trust: social decision‐making in post‐institutionalized, internationally adopted youth.
    Clio E. Pitula, Jennifer A. Wenner, Megan R. Gunnar, Kathleen M. Thomas.
    Developmental Science. April 18, 2016
    Chronic parental maltreatment has been associated with lower levels of interpersonal trust, and depriving environments have been shown to predict short‐sighted, risk‐averse decision‐making. The present study examined whether a circumscribed period of adverse care occurring only early in life was associated with biases in trust behavior. Fifty‐three post‐institutionalized (PI) youth, adopted internationally on average by 1 year of age, and 33 never‐institutionalized, non‐adopted youth (Mage = 12.9 years) played a trust game. Participants decided whether or not to share coins with a different anonymous peer in each trial with the potential to receive a larger number of coins in return. Trials were presented in blocks that varied in the degree to which the peers behaved in a trustworthy (reciprocal) or untrustworthy (non‐reciprocal) manner. A comparison condition consisted of a computerized lottery with the same choices and probabilistic risk as the peer trials. Non‐adopted comparison youth showed a tendency to share more with peers than to invest in the lottery and tended to maintain their level of sharing across trials despite experiencing trials in which peers failed to reciprocate. In contrast, PI children, particularly those who were adopted over 1 year of age, shared less with peers than they invested in the lottery and quickly adapted their sharing behavior to peers’ responses. These results suggest that PI youth were more mistrusting, more sensitive to both defection and reciprocation, and potentially more accurate in their trusting decisions than comparison youth. Results support the presence of a sensitive period for the development of trust in others, whereby conditions early in life may set long‐term biases in decision‐making. Using a developmentally appropriate trust game, trust behavior was examined in post‐institutionalized (PI) adolescents internationally adopted as infants or young children. As shown here, in contrast with non‐adopted comparison youth, PI youth, particularly those who were adopted over a year of age, were more mistrusting of peers at baseline (i.e., no feedback) and more sensitive to both defection (i.e., low reciprocation) and high reciprocation. Findings suggest that conditions early in life may set long‐term biases in decision‐making.
    April 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12375   open full text
  • Second label learning in bilingual and monolingual infants.
    Padmapriya Kandhadai, D. Geoffrey Hall, Janet F. Werker.
    Developmental Science. April 10, 2016
    Mutual exclusivity is the assumption that each object has only one category label. Prior research suggests that bilingual infants, unlike monolingual infants, fail to adhere to this assumption to guide word learning. Yet previous work has not addressed whether bilingual infants systematically interpret a novel word for a familiar object (i.e. an object with a known category label) as a second category label. We addressed this question by exploring bilingual and monolingual infants’ use of mutual exclusivity in a task in which they heard a novel label for a familiar object with a salient color (e.g. an aqua‐colored dog). They were subsequently tested with two trials that probed whether they interpreted the word as a second category label for the object (e.g. another word meaning dog) or as a label for one of the object's salient properties, namely its color (e.g. a word meaning aqua). Bilingual infants failed to adhere to mutual exclusivity and interpreted the novel word systematically as a second object category label for the familiar object. In contrast, consistent with their use of mutual exclusivity, monolingual infants rejected the novel word as a second category label, and instead showed some evidence of interpreting it as a property (color) term for the familiar object. The findings suggest that both bilingual and monolingual infants are systematic in their interpretation of a novel label for a familiar object, but that they show different interpretations of that label. We thus argue that theoretical accounts of early word learning must consider the crucial role of linguistic experience. This research shows that linguistic experience shapes word‐learning strategies even at the onset of lexical development. While bilingual infants interpreted a novel label that is applied to a familiar object as a second category label (another label for the familiar category), monolingual infants interpreted the novel word as a property (color) term for the familiar object. These findings show that growing up bilingual can influence word learning strategies even in infancy, and more generally underscores the need for theories of word learning to take into consideration the role of early linguistic experience.
    April 10, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12429   open full text
  • Longitudinal development of manual motor ability in autism spectrum disorder from childhood to mid‐adulthood relates to adaptive daily living skills.
    Brittany G. Travers, Erin D. Bigler, Tyler C. Duffield, Molly D.B. Prigge, Alyson L. Froehlich, Nicholas Lange, Andrew L. Alexander, Janet E. Lainhart.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2016
    Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit motor difficulties, but it is unknown whether manual motor skills improve, plateau, or decline in ASD in the transition from childhood into adulthood. Atypical development of manual motor skills could impact the ability to learn and perform daily activities across the life span. This study examined longitudinal grip strength and finger tapping development in individuals with ASD (n = 90) compared to individuals with typical development (n = 56), ages 5 to 40 years old. We further examined manual motor performance as a possible correlate of current and future daily living skills. The group with ASD demonstrated atypical motor development, characterized by similar performance during childhood but increasingly poorer performance from adolescence into adulthood. Grip strength was correlated with current adaptive daily living skills, and Time 1 grip strength predicted daily living skills eight years into the future. These results suggest that individuals with ASD may experience increasingly more pronounced motor difficulties from adolescence into adulthood and that manual motor performance in ASD is related to adaptive daily living skills. We investigated age‐related changes from early childhood into mid‐adulthood in manual motor skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to typical development. We then examined if manual motor performance correlated with current and future daily living skills. We found evidence for atypical development of grip strength and finger tapping speed in ASD, atypically low grip strength in ~1/3 of the individuals with ASD, and correlations between manual motor performance and both current and future daily living skills.
    April 07, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12401   open full text
  • Preliminary evidence of the impact of early childhood maltreatment and a preventive intervention on neural patterns of response inhibition in early adolescence.
    Kathryn F. Jankowski, Jacqueline Bruce, Kathryn G. Beauchamp, Leslie E. Roos, William E. Moore, Philip A. Fisher.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2016
    Maltreated youths in foster care often experience negative developmental and psychological outcomes, which have been linked with poor response inhibition. Recent evidence suggests that childhood maltreatment is also associated with alterations in the neural circuitry underlying response inhibition. However, a burgeoning line of research has begun to explore the mitigating effects of preventive interventions on neural functioning. The current study used event‐related functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the impact of early childhood maltreatment and a preventive intervention on response inhibition in early adolescence. Thirty‐six demographically similar adolescents (ages 9–14 years) completed a Go/NoGo task. The sample included nonmaltreated adolescents (n = 14) and maltreated adolescents who were in foster care as preschoolers and randomly assigned to receive services as usual (n = 11) or a preventive intervention, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers (n = 11). The groups demonstrated similar behavioral performance but significantly different neural patterns. The maltreated adolescents who received services as usual demonstrated subcortical hypoactivity during successful response inhibition and subcortical hyperactivity during unsuccessful response inhibition. In contrast, the nonmaltreated adolescents and maltreated adolescents who received the intervention exhibited strikingly similar neural patterns during successful response inhibition, but the maltreated adolescents who received the intervention demonstrated prefrontal hypoactivity during unsuccessful response inhibition. These findings offer preliminary evidence that early childhood maltreatment alters the neural patterns underlying response inhibition in early adolescence and that participating in a preventive intervention could mitigate maltreatment‐related effects on these neural systems. The current study used event‐related functional magnetic resonance imaging during a Go/NoGo task to explore the impact of early childhood maltreatment and a preventive intervention on response inhibition in nonmaltreated adolescents who were raised by their biological parents, maltreated adolescents who were in foster care as preschoolers and were randomly assigned to receive services as usual, and maltreated adolescents who were in foster care as preschoolers and were randomly assigned to receive the intervention. These groups of adolescents demonstrated similar behavioral performance but significantly different neural patterns. For example, the maltreated adolescents who received the intervention recruited greater lingual gyral activity during successful response inhibition than the maltreated adolescents who received services as usual.
    April 07, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12413   open full text
  • Speech discrimination in 11‐month‐old bilingual and monolingual infants: a magnetoencephalography study.
    Naja Ferjan Ramírez, Rey R. Ramírez, Maggie Clarke, Samu Taulu, Patricia K. Kuhl.
    Developmental Science. April 04, 2016
    Language experience shapes infants' abilities to process speech sounds, with universal phonetic discrimination abilities narrowing in the second half of the first year. Brain measures reveal a corresponding change in neural discrimination as the infant brain becomes selectively sensitive to its native language(s). Whether and how bilingual experience alters the transition to native language specific phonetic discrimination is important both theoretically and from a practical standpoint. Using whole head magnetoencephalography (MEG), we examined brain responses to Spanish and English syllables in Spanish‐English bilingual and English monolingual 11‐month‐old infants. Monolingual infants showed sensitivity to English, while bilingual infants were sensitive to both languages. Neural responses indicate that the dual sensitivity of the bilingual brain is achieved by a slower transition from acoustic to phonetic sound analysis, an adaptive and advantageous response to increased variability in language input. Bilingual neural responses extend into the prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex, which may be related to their previously described bilingual advantage in executive function skills. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/TAYhj‐gekqw The study used whole head MEG to compare brain activity in response to speech sounds in 11‐month‐old babies raised in monolingual (English) and bilingual (Spanish‐English) households. While the monolingual brains discriminated only English, the bilingual brains discriminated Spanish and English. The bilingual brains also showed increased activity in areas related to executive functioning, suggesting that exposure to two languages shapes cognitive development more generally.
    April 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12427   open full text
  • Exposure to multiple languages enhances communication skills in infancy.
    Zoe Liberman, Amanda L. Woodward, Boaz Keysar, Katherine D. Kinzler.
    Developmental Science. March 21, 2016
    Early exposure to multiple languages can enhance children's communication skills, even when children are effectively monolingual (Fan, Liberman, Keysar & Kinzler, ). Here we report evidence that the social benefits of multilingual exposure emerge in infancy. Sixteen‐month‐old infants participated in a communication task that required taking a speaker's perspective to understand her intended meaning. Infants were presented with two identical toys, such as two cars. One toy was mutually visible to both the infant and the speaker, but the other was visible only to the infant and was blocked from the speaker's view by an opaque barrier. The speaker requested the mutually visible toy and we evaluated whether infants understood the speaker's request. Whereas monolingual infants were at chance in choosing between the two toys, infants with multilingual exposure reliably chose the toy the speaker requested. Successful performance was not related to the degree of exposure to other languages, suggesting that even minimal multilingual exposure may enhance communication skills. Infants raised in multilingual environments outperformed infants raised in monolingual environments at taking a speaker's visual perspective to understand her intended meaning in a communication task. We propose that communicative benefits may arise due to differences in social experiences based on linguistic background, and that even minimal second language exposure can enhance communication skills.
    March 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12420   open full text
  • Learning the association between a context and a target location in infancy.
    Julie Bertels, Estibaliz San Anton, Titia Gebuis, Arnaud Destrebecqz.
    Developmental Science. February 26, 2016
    Extracting the statistical regularities present in the environment is a central learning mechanism in infancy. For instance, infants are able to learn the associations between simultaneously or successively presented visual objects (Fiser & Aslin, ; Kirkham, Slemmer & Johnson, ). The present study extends these results by investigating whether infants can learn the association between a target location and the context in which it is presented. With this aim, we used a visual associative learning procedure inspired by the contextual cuing paradigm, with infants from 8 to 12 months of age. In two experiments, in which we varied the complexity of the stimuli, we first habituated infants to several scenes where the location of a target (a cartoon character) was consistently associated with a context, namely a specific configuration of geometrical shapes. Second, we examined whether infants learned the covariation between the target location and the context by measuring looking times at scenes that either respected or violated the association. In both experiments, results showed that infants learned the target–context associations, as they looked longer at the familiar scenes than at the novel ones. In particular, infants selected clusters of co‐occurring contextual shapes and learned the covariation between the target location and this subset. These results support the existence of a powerful and versatile statistical learning mechanism that may influence the orientation of infants’ visual attention toward areas of interest in their environment during early developmental stages. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hm1unyLBn0 We explored the statistical learning of visual contingencies in 8‐ to 12‐month‐old infants. We investigated whether infants can learn the association between a target location and the context in which it is presented. To address this issue, we used a visual associative learning procedure that is reminiscent of the contextual cuing paradigm. We observed that infants could learn the target‐context associations. In particular, infants selected clusters of co‐occurring contextual shapes and learned the covariation between the target location and this subset, as revealed by strong correlations between the target‐cluster distance during training and the familiarity effect at test.
    February 26, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12397   open full text
  • Monolingual and bilingual children's social preferences for monolingual and bilingual speakers.
    Krista Byers‐Heinlein, Douglas A. Behrend, Lyakout Mohamed Said, Helana Girgis, Diane Poulin‐Dubois.
    Developmental Science. February 21, 2016
    Past research has shown that young monolingual children exhibit language‐based social biases: they prefer native language to foreign language speakers. The current research investigated how children's language preferences are influenced by their own bilingualism and by a speaker's bilingualism. Monolingual and bilingual 4‐ to 6‐year‐olds heard pairs of adults (a monolingual and a bilingual, or two monolinguals) and chose the person with whom they wanted to be friends. Whether they were from a largely monolingual or a largely bilingual community, monolingual children preferred monolingual to bilingual speakers, and native language to foreign language speakers. In contrast, bilingual children showed similar affiliation with monolingual and bilingual speakers, as well as for monolingual speakers using their dominant versus non‐dominant language. Exploratory analyses showed that individual bilinguals displayed idiosyncratic patterns of preference. These results reveal that language‐based preferences emerge from a complex interaction of factors, including preference for in‐group members, avoidance of out‐group members, and characteristics of the child as they relate to the status of the languages within the community. Moreover, these results have implications for bilingual children's social acceptance by their peers. Past research has shown that young monolingual children exhibit language‐based social biases: they prefer native language to foreign language speakers. In two experiments, we investigated whether both monolinguals and bilinguals display the same bias. In contrast to monolinguals, bilingual children showed similar affiliation with monolingual and bilingual speakers, as well as for monolingual speakers using their dominant versus non‐dominant language.
    February 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12392   open full text
  • Visual cues of motion that trigger animacy perception at birth: the case of self‐propulsion.
    Elisa Di Giorgio, Marco Lunghi, Francesca Simion, Giorgio Vallortigara.
    Developmental Science. February 21, 2016
    Self‐propelled motion is a powerful cue that conveys information that an object is animate. In this case, animate refers to an entity's capacity to initiate motion without an applied external force. Sensitivity to this motion cue is present in infants that are a few months old, but whether this sensitivity is experience‐dependent or is already present at birth is unknown. Here, we tested newborns to examine whether predispositions to process self‐produced motion cues underlying animacy perception were present soon after birth. We systematically manipulated the onset of motion by self‐propulsion (Experiment 1) and the change in trajectory direction in the presence or absence of direct contact with an external object (Experiments 2 and 3) to investigate how these motion cues determine preference in newborns. Overall, data demonstrated that, at least at birth, the self‐propelled onset of motion is a crucial visual cue that allowed newborns to differentiate between self‐ and non‐self‐propelled objects (Experiment 1) because when this cue was removed, newborns did not manifest any visual preference (Experiment 2), even if they were able to discriminate between the stimuli (Experiment 3). To our knowledge, this is the first study aimed at identifying sensitivity in human newborns to the most basic and rudimentary motion cues that reliably trigger perceptions of animacy in adults. Our findings are compatible with the hypothesis of the existence of inborn predispositions to visual cues of motion that trigger animacy perception in adults. Understanding how humans identify and separate social agents from other objects and how this ability develops are open and intriguing questions. The aim of this paper was to investigate sensitivity in human newborns to the most basic and rudimentary motion cues that reliably trigger perception of animacy in adults. We sistematically manipulated the onset of motion by self‐propulsion (Exp.1) and the change in trajectory direction in the presence or absence of direct contact with an external object (Exp.2 and Exp.3) to investigate how these motion cues determine preference in newborns. Data demonstrated that, at least at birth, the self‐propelled onset motion is a crucial visual cue that allowed newborns to differentiate between self and non‐self‐propelled objects. Overall, our findings are compatible with the hypothesis of the existence of inborn predispositions to visual cues of motion that trigger animacy perception in adults.
    February 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12394   open full text
  • Parietal hyper‐connectivity, aberrant brain organization, and circuit‐based biomarkers in children with mathematical disabilities.
    Dietsje Jolles, Sarit Ashkenazi, John Kochalka, Tanya Evans, Jennifer Richardson, Miriam Rosenberg‐Lee, Hui Zhao, Kaustubh Supekar, Tianwen Chen, Vinod Menon.
    Developmental Science. February 14, 2016
    Mathematical disabilities (MD) have a negative life‐long impact on professional success, employment, and health outcomes. Yet little is known about the intrinsic functional brain organization that contributes to poor math skills in affected children. It is now increasingly recognized that math cognition requires coordinated interaction within a large‐scale fronto‐parietal network anchored in the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). Here we characterize intrinsic functional connectivity within this IPS‐network in children with MD, relative to a group of typically developing (TD) children who were matched on age, gender, IQ, working memory, and reading abilities. Compared to TD children, children with MD showed hyper‐connectivity of the IPS with a bilateral fronto‐parietal network. Importantly, aberrant IPS connectivity patterns accurately discriminated children with MD and TD children, highlighting the possibility for using IPS connectivity as a brain‐based biomarker of MD. To further investigate regional abnormalities contributing to network‐level deficits in children with MD, we performed whole‐brain analyses of intrinsic low‐frequency fluctuations. Notably, children with MD showed higher low‐frequency fluctuations in multiple fronto‐parietal areas that overlapped with brain regions that exhibited hyper‐connectivity with the IPS. Taken together, our findings suggest that MD in children is characterized by robust network‐level aberrations, and is not an isolated dysfunction of the IPS. We hypothesize that intrinsic hyper‐connectivity and enhanced low‐frequency fluctuations may limit flexible resource allocation, and contribute to aberrant recruitment of task‐related brain regions during numerical problem solving in children with MD. We investigated intrinsic functional connectivity and regional low‐frequency signal fluctuations in a well‐characterized group of 7–9‐year old children with mathematical disabilities (MD). Compared to carefully matched typically developing peers, we found MD‐related hyper‐connectivity of the intraparietal sulcus (IPS), as well as higher levels of spontaneous low frequency fluctuations in multiple frontal and parietal areas. Our findings advance the view that MD is best characterized as a network‐level deficit, and not an isolated dysfunction of the IPS.
    February 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12399   open full text
  • Interactions between levels of attention ability and levels of bilingualism in children's executive functioning.
    Geoff B. Sorge, Maggie E. Toplak, Ellen Bialystok.
    Developmental Science. February 14, 2016
    Attention difficulty is associated with poor performance on executive functioning (EF) tasks, yet EF is enhanced in bilingual children. However, no research to date has investigated the possible interaction between bilingualism and attention ability in children to determine the consequences for EF when both are present. We assessed a sample of typically developing children who were 8 to 11 years old for their ability in attention control and level of bilingualism on the basis of questionnaires completed by parents and teachers. Children performed three tasks requiring aspects of EF: stop signal task (inhibition), flanker task (interference control), and frogs matrices task (spatial working memory). Results from hierarchical regressions confirmed that both attention ability and bilingualism contributed to performance on the EF tasks. Where interaction effects were significant, they showed that attention ability was a stronger predictor for an inhibition task, namely stop signal, and bilingualism a stronger predictor for an interference task, namely flanker. Furthermore, these results allow us to discuss the relation between EF and attention ability. This project is the first to investigate the interaction between bilingualism and attention ability on children's executive functioning (EF). Consistent with previous literature, poor attention was associated with poorer EF and greater degree of bilingualism was associated with better EF performance across all tasks. Interactions showed that each of bilingualism and attention ability is primary for different EF tasks.
    February 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12408   open full text
  • Multivariate pattern classification of pediatric Tourette syndrome using functional connectivity MRI.
    Deanna J. Greene, Jessica A. Church, Nico U.F. Dosenbach, Ashley N. Nielsen, Babatunde Adeyemo, Binyam Nardos, Steven E. Petersen, Kevin J. Black, Bradley L. Schlaggar.
    Developmental Science. February 01, 2016
    Tourette syndrome (TS) is a developmental neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Individuals with TS would benefit greatly from advances in prediction of symptom timecourse and treatment effectiveness. As a first step, we applied a multivariate method – support vector machine (SVM) classification – to test whether patterns in brain network activity, measured with resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) MRI, could predict diagnostic group membership for individuals. RSFC data from 42 children with TS (8–15 yrs) and 42 unaffected controls (age, IQ, in‐scanner movement matched) were included. While univariate tests identified no significant group differences, SVM classified group membership with ~70% accuracy (p < .001). We also report a novel adaptation of SVM binary classification that, in addition to an overall accuracy rate for the SVM, provides a confidence measure for the accurate classification of each individual. Our results support the contention that multivariate methods can better capture the complexity of some brain disorders, and hold promise for predicting prognosis and treatment outcome for individuals with TS. In the present paper, we used a multivariate approach – namely support vector machine (SVM) classification – to discriminate children with Tourette syndrome (TS) and unaffected controls based on resting state functional connectivity data. While univariate analyses found no significant group differences, SVM classified group membership with ~70% accuracy. Thus, there are multivariate patterns of functional connectivity that can discriminate TS from controls.
    February 01, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12407   open full text
  • Predicting writing development in dual language instructional contexts: exploring cross‐linguistic relationships.
    Robert Savage, Meagan Kozakewich, Fred Genesee, Caroline Erdos, Corinne Haigh.
    Developmental Science. January 29, 2016
    This study examined whether decoding and linguistic comprehension abilities, broadly defined by the Simple View of Reading, in grade 1 each uniquely predicted the grade 6 writing performance of English‐speaking children (n = 76) who were educated bilingually in both English their first language and French, a second language. Prediction was made from (1) English to English; (2) French to French; and (3) English to French. Results showed that both decoding and linguistic comprehension scores predicted writing accuracy but rarely predicted persuasive writing. Within the linguistic comprehension cluster of tests, Formulating Sentences was a strong consistent within‐ and between‐language predictor of writing accuracy. In practical terms, the present results indicate that early screening for later writing ability using measures of sentence formulation early in students’ schooling, in their L1 or L2, can provide greatest predictive power and allow teachers to differentiate instruction in the primary grades. Theoretically, the present results argue that there are correlations between reading‐related abilities and writing abilities not only within the same language but also across languages, adding to the growing body of evidence for facilitative cross‐linguistic relationships between bilinguals’ developing languages. This 5 year longitudinal study predicted writing in English and French in grade 6 from within‐ and cross‐language word decoding and oral linguistic comprehension abilities in Grade 1. Results showed significant predictive power for both factors, and more particularly for tasks involving sentence formulation in grade 1, suggesting cross‐language facilitation.
    January 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12406   open full text
  • Cultural differences in self‐recognition: the early development of autonomous and related selves?
    Josephine Ross, Mandy Yilmaz, Rachel Dale, Rose Cassidy, Iraz Yildirim, M. Suzanne Zeedyk.
    Developmental Science. January 29, 2016
    Fifteen‐ to 18‐month‐old infants from three nationalities were observed interacting with their mothers and during two self‐recognition tasks. Scottish interactions were characterized by distal contact, Zambian interactions by proximal contact, and Turkish interactions by a mixture of contact strategies. These culturally distinct experiences may scaffold different perspectives on self. In support, Scottish infants performed best in a task requiring recognition of the self in an individualistic context (mirror self‐recognition), whereas Zambian infants performed best in a task requiring recognition of the self in a less individualistic context (body‐as‐obstacle task). Turkish infants performed similarly to Zambian infants on the body‐as‐obstacle task, but outperformed Zambians on the mirror self‐recognition task. Verbal contact (a distal strategy) was positively related to mirror self‐recognition and negatively related to passing the body‐as‐obstacle task. Directive action and speech (proximal strategies) were negatively related to mirror self‐recognition. Self‐awareness performance was best predicted by cultural context; autonomous settings predicted success in mirror self‐recognition, and related settings predicted success in the body‐as‐obstacle task. These novel data substantiate the idea that cultural factors may play a role in the early expression of self‐awareness. More broadly, the results highlight the importance of moving beyond the mark test, and designing culturally sensitive tests of self‐awareness. This study describes cultural differences in rural Zambian, urban Scottish and urban Turkish infants' performance on two established self‐awareness tasks. Autonomous settings were associated with success in mirror self‐recognition, whereas related settings were associated with success in the ‘body‐as‐obstacle’ task.
    January 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12387   open full text
  • Reduced adaptability, but no fundamental disruption, of norm‐based face coding following early visual deprivation from congenital cataracts.
    Gillian Rhodes, Mayu Nishimura, Adelaide Heering, Linda Jeffery, Daphne Maurer.
    Developmental Science. January 29, 2016
    Faces are adaptively coded relative to visual norms that are updated by experience, and this adaptive coding is linked to face recognition ability. Here we investigated whether adaptive coding of faces is disrupted in individuals (adolescents and adults) who experience face recognition difficulties following visual deprivation from congenital cataracts in infancy. We measured adaptive coding using face identity aftereffects, where smaller aftereffects indicate less adaptive updating of face‐coding mechanisms by experience. We also examined whether the aftereffects increase with adaptor identity strength, consistent with norm‐based coding of identity, as in typical populations, or whether they show a different pattern indicating some more fundamental disruption of face‐coding mechanisms. Cataract‐reversal patients showed significantly smaller face identity aftereffects than did controls (Experiments 1 and 2). However, their aftereffects increased significantly with adaptor strength, consistent with norm‐based coding (Experiment 2). Thus we found reduced adaptability but no fundamental disruption of norm‐based face‐coding mechanisms in cataract‐reversal patients. Our results suggest that early visual experience is important for the normal development of adaptive face‐coding mechanisms. The updating of face norms by experience is reduced in cataract‐reversal patients, suggesting a role for early visual experience in the development of adaptive face‐coding mechanisms.
    January 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12384   open full text
  • Developmental bias for number words in the intraparietal sulcus.
    Courtney A. Lussier, Jessica F. Cantlon.
    Developmental Science. January 29, 2016
    Children and adults show behavioral evidence of psychological overlap between their early, non‐symbolic numerical concepts and their later‐developing symbolic numerical concepts. An open question is to what extent the common cognitive signatures observed between different numerical notations are coupled with physical overlap in neural processes. We show that from 8 years of age, regions of the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) that exhibit a numerical ratio effect during non‐symbolic numerical judgments also show a semantic distance effect for symbolic number words. In both children and adults, the IPS showed a semantic distance effect during magnitude judgments of number words (i.e. larger/smaller number) but not for magnitude judgments of object words (i.e. larger/smaller object size). The results provide novel evidence of conceptual overlap between neural representations of symbolic and non‐symbolic numerical values that cannot be explained by a general process, and present the first demonstration of an early‐developing dissociation between number words and object words in the human brain. When making magnitude judgments, there is a dissociation between number words and object words that emerges by at least 8 years of age in children: the IPS processes number words and ventral temporal cortex processes object words. Number words likely dissociate from object words because, as we show, they are rooted in numerosity judgments of physical sets.
    January 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12385   open full text
  • Trust matters: Seeing how an adult treats another person influences preschoolers' willingness to delay gratification.
    Laura E. Michaelson, Yuko Munakata.
    Developmental Science. January 21, 2016
    Holding out for a delayed reward in the face of temptation is notoriously difficult, and the ability to do so in childhood predicts diverse indices of life success. Prominent explanations focus on the importance of cognitive control. However, delaying gratification may also require trust in people delivering future rewards as promised. Only limited experimental work has tested this idea, and such studies with children were focused on general reward expectations, so evidence was ambiguous as to whether social trust played a role. The present study provides the first targeted test of a role for social trust in children's willingness to delay gratification. Children observed an adult behave in either a trustworthy or untrustworthy manner toward another adult, then were tested in the classic delay of gratification task by that adult. Children were less likely to wait the full delay period, and waited less time overall, for a reward promised by an untrustworthy adult, relative to children tested by a trustworthy adult. These findings demonstrate that manipulations of social trust influence delaying gratification, and highlight intriguing alternative reasons to test for individual differences in delaying gratification and associated life outcomes. Children's willingness to delay gratification is typically interpreted in terms of cognitive control, but may also require trust in people delivering future rewards as promised. We manipulated preschoolers' impressions of social trust by having them observe an adult either lie or behave honestly with another person, and then measured their willingness to delay gratification for a reward promised by that adult in the classic marshmallow task. Preschoolers waited less time, and were less likely to wait the full 15 min delay period, for rewards that had been promised by an untrustworthy adult relative to a trustworthy adult.
    January 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12388   open full text
  • Associations of non‐symbolic and symbolic numerical magnitude processing with mathematical competence: a meta‐analysis.
    Michael Schneider, Kassandra Beeres, Leyla Coban, Simon Merz, S. Susan Schmidt, Johannes Stricker, Bert De Smedt.
    Developmental Science. January 14, 2016
    Many studies have investigated the association between numerical magnitude processing skills, as assessed by the numerical magnitude comparison task, and broader mathematical competence, e.g. counting, arithmetic, or algebra. Most correlations were positive but varied considerably in their strengths. It remains unclear whether and to what extent the strength of these associations differs systematically between non‐symbolic and symbolic magnitude comparison tasks and whether age, magnitude comparison measures or mathematical competence measures are additional moderators. We investigated these questions by means of a meta‐analysis. The literature search yielded 45 articles reporting 284 effect sizes found with 17,201 participants. Effect sizes were combined by means of a two‐level random‐effects regression model. The effect size was significantly higher for the symbolic (r = .302, 95% CI [.243, .361]) than for the non‐symbolic (r = .241, 95% CI [.198, .284]) magnitude comparison task and decreased very slightly with age. The correlation was higher for solution rates and Weber fractions than for alternative measures of comparison proficiency. It was higher for mathematical competencies that rely more heavily on the processing of magnitudes (i.e. mental arithmetic and early mathematical abilities) than for others. The results support the view that magnitude processing is reliably associated with mathematical competence over the lifespan in a wide range of tasks, measures and mathematical subdomains. The association is stronger for symbolic than for non‐symbolic numerical magnitude processing. So symbolic magnitude processing might be a more eligible candidate to be targeted by diagnostic screening instruments and interventions for school‐aged children and for adults. This is the first meta‐analysis on the association of non‐symbolic and symbolic magnitude comparison with mathematical competence. We synthesized 284 effect sizes from 17,201 participants. Associations with mathematical competence were stronger for symbolic than for non‐symbolic measures. Measures of comparison and mathematical competence strongly moderated the effect sizes.
    January 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12372   open full text
  • Functional connectivity of brain regions for self‐ and other‐evaluation in children, adolescents and adults with autism.
    Catherine A. Burrows, Angela R. Laird, Lucina Q. Uddin.
    Developmental Science. January 11, 2016
    Developing strong ties between oneself and others lays the foundation for developing social competence. Neuroimaging studies have consistently identified specific cortical midline regions activated during evaluative judgments about the self and others. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) process self‐relevant information differently from their peers, both behaviorally and at the neural level. We compared resting‐state functional connectivity (rsFC) of regions involved in self‐referential (e.g. medial prefrontal cortex; mPFC) and other‐referential (e.g. posterior cingulate cortex; PCC) processing between neurotypical individuals and individuals with ASD in three age cohorts using regions of interest (ROIs) identified through an activation likelihood estimation meta‐analysis. Typically developing children demonstrated greater connectivity within the midline self‐ and other‐referential networks compared with age‐matched children with ASD. No group differences in rsFC of mPFC or PCC emerged between typically developing adolescents and adolescents with ASD. Neurotypical adults exhibited stronger rsFC of the PCC with orbitofrontal cortex compared with adults with ASD. Developmental differences in functional connectivity between areas underlying self‐ and other‐referential thought may explain altered developmental trajectories in the understanding of self and others in individuals with ASD. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate differences in self‐referential processing, which may contribute to reduced understanding of themselves and others. We examined functional connectivity of brain regions underlying self and other‐referential processing in individuals with ASD across development. Children with ASD demonstrated functional underconnectivity of both regions of interest compared with typically developing individuals, while older individuals showed fewer group differences.
    January 11, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12400   open full text
  • Bilingualism alters children's frontal lobe functioning for attentional control.
    Maria M. Arredondo, Xiao‐Su Hu, Teresa Satterfield, Ioulia Kovelman.
    Developmental Science. January 06, 2016
    Bilingualism is a typical linguistic experience, yet relatively little is known about its impact on children's cognitive and brain development. Theories of bilingualism suggest that early dual‐language acquisition can improve children's cognitive abilities, specifically those relying on frontal lobe functioning. While behavioral findings present much conflicting evidence, little is known about its effects on children's frontal lobe development. Using functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), the findings suggest that Spanish–English bilingual children (n = 13, ages 7–13) had greater activation in left prefrontal cortex during a non‐verbal attentional control task relative to age‐matched English monolinguals. In contrast, monolinguals (n = 14) showed greater right prefrontal activation than bilinguals. The present findings suggest that early bilingualism yields significant changes to the functional organization of children's prefrontal cortex for attentional control and carry implications for understanding how early life experiences impact cognition and brain development. This fNIRS study investigated the impact of bilingual exposure on children's brain organization for attentional control (N = 27, ages 7‐13). During a non‐verbal attention task, bilinguals showed greater left frontal lobe activation than monolinguals. Monolinguals showed greater right frontal lobe activation than bilinguals. The findings suggest that bilingualism affects the functionality of children's left prefrontal cortex for attentional control.
    January 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12377   open full text
  • The role of early visual input in the development of contour interpolation: the case of subjective contours.
    Bat‐Sheva Hadad, Daphne Maurer, Terri L. Lewis.
    Developmental Science. January 06, 2016
    We tested the effect of early monocular and binocular deprivation of normal visual input on the development of contour interpolation. Patients deprived from birth by dense central cataracts in one or both eyes, and age‐matched controls, discriminated between fat and thin shapes formed by either illusory or luminance‐defined contours. Thresholds indicated the minimum amount of curvature (the fatness or thinness) required for discrimination of the illusory shape, providing a measure of the precision of interpolation. The results show that individuals deprived of visual input in one eye, but not those deprived in both eyes, later show deficits in perceptual interpolation. The deficits were shown mostly for weakly supported contours in which interpolation of contours between the inducers was over a large distance relative to the size of the inducers. Deficits shown for the unilateral but not for the bilateral patients point to the detrimental effect of unequal competition between the eyes for cortical connections on the later development of the mechanisms underlying contour interpolation. Patients with early monocular deprivation show greater deficits, than those exhibited by patients with comparable binocular deprivation, in interpolating weakly supported contours. The results point to the detrimental effect of unequal competition between the eyes for cortical connections on the later development of the mechanisms underlying contour interpolation.
    January 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12379   open full text
  • Selective attention to a talker's mouth in infancy: role of audiovisual temporal synchrony and linguistic experience.
    Anne Hillairet de Boisferon, Amy H. Tift, Nicholas J. Minar, David J. Lewkowicz.
    Developmental Science. January 06, 2016
    Previous studies have found that infants shift their attention from the eyes to the mouth of a talker when they enter the canonical babbling phase after 6 months of age. Here, we investigated whether this increased attentional focus on the mouth is mediated by audio‐visual synchrony and linguistic experience. To do so, we tracked eye gaze in 4‐, 6‐, 8‐, 10‐, and 12‐month‐old infants while they were exposed either to desynchronized native or desynchronized non‐native audiovisual fluent speech. Results indicated that, regardless of language, desynchronization disrupted the usual pattern of relative attention to the eyes and mouth found in response to synchronized speech at 10 months but not at any other age. These findings show that audio‐visual synchrony mediates selective attention to a talker's mouth just prior to the emergence of initial language expertise and that it declines in importance once infants become native‐language experts. Studies show that infants shift their relative attention to a talker's eyes and mouth over the course of the first year of life and that these shifts are modulated by whether the talker speaks in a native or non‐native language. We investigated whether the temporal synchrony of the auditory and visual speech that normally emanates from a talker's mouth affects attention by presenting desynchronized native and non‐native audiovisual speech and tracking eye gaze in groups of 4‐, 6‐, 8‐, 10‐, and 12 month‐old infants. Findings showed that desynchronization of both types of speech eliminated the usually observed preference for the talker's mouth at 10 but not at 8 months of age. This indicates that the multisensory redundancy of synchronous audiovisual speech plays a key role in recruiting infant attention to a talker's mouth during the canonical babbling stage, a key phase in the acquisition of speech production capacity.
    January 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/desc.12381   open full text
  • A cross‐syndrome study of the differential effects of sleep on declarative memory consolidation in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
    Anna Ashworth, Catherine M. Hill, Annette Karmiloff‐Smith, Dagmara Dimitriou.
    Developmental Science. December 22, 2015
    Sleep plays an active role in memory consolidation. Because children with Down syndrome (DS) and Williams syndrome (WS) experience significant problems with sleep and also with learning, we predicted that sleep‐dependent memory consolidation would be impaired in these children when compared to typically developing (TD) children. This is the first study to provide a cross‐syndrome comparison of sleep‐dependent learning in school‐aged children. Children with DS (n = 20) and WS (n = 22) and TD children (n = 33) were trained on the novel Animal Names task where they were taught pseudo‐words as the personal names of ten farm and domestic animals, e.g. Basco the cat, with the aid of animal picture flashcards. They were retested following counterbalanced retention intervals of wake and sleep. Overall, TD children remembered significantly more words than both the DS and WS groups. In addition, their performance improved following night‐time sleep, whereas performance over the wake retention interval remained stable, indicating an active role of sleep for memory consolidation. Task performance of children with DS did not significantly change following wake or sleep periods. However, children with DS who were initially trained in the morning continued to improve on the task at the following retests, so that performance on the final test was greater for children who had initially trained in the morning than those who trained in the evening. Children with WS improved on the task between training and the first retest, regardless of whether sleep or wake occurred during the retention interval. This suggests time‐dependent rather than sleep‐dependent learning in children with WS, or tiredness at the end of the first session and better performance once refreshed at the start of the second session, irrespective of the time of day. Contrary to expectations, sleep‐dependent learning was not related to baseline level of performance. The findings have significant implications for educational strategies, and suggest that children with DS should be taught more important or difficult information in the morning when they are better able to learn, whilst children with WS should be allowed a time delay between learning phases to allow for time‐dependent memory consolidation, and frequent breaks from learning so that they are refreshed and able to perform at their best. This novel study showed the expected pattern of sleep‐dependent declarative memory consolidation in typically developing children. Children with Down syndrome benefited from morning (as opposed to evening) learning and children with Williams syndrome had improved recall following a break from testing, regardless of whether the retention interval was of sleep or wake.
    December 22, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12383   open full text
  • Early childhood cortisol reactivity moderates the effects of parent–child relationship quality on the development of children's temperament in early childhood.
    Daniel C. Kopala‐Sibley, Lea R. Dougherty, Margret W. Dyson, Rebecca S. Laptook, Thomas M. Olino, Sara J. Bufferd, Daniel N. Klein.
    Developmental Science. December 21, 2015
    Positive parenting has been related both to lower cortisol reactivity and more adaptive temperament traits in children, whereas elevated cortisol reactivity may be related to maladaptive temperament traits, such as higher negative emotionality (NE) and lower positive emotionality (PE). However, no studies have examined whether hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal axis activity, as measured by cortisol reactivity, moderates the effect of the quality of the parent–child relationship on changes in temperament in early childhood. In this study, 126 3‐year‐olds were administered the Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (Lab‐TAB; Goldsmith et al., 1995) as a measure of temperamental NE and PE. Salivary cortisol was collected from the child at 4 time points during this task. The primary parent and the child completed the Teaching Tasks battery (Egeland et al., 1995), from which the quality of the relationship was coded. At age 6, children completed the Lab‐TAB again. From age 3 to 6, adjusting for age 3 PE or NE, a better quality relationship with their primary parent predicted decreases in NE for children with elevated cortisol reactivity and predicted increases in PE for children with low cortisol reactivity. Results have implications for our understanding of the interaction of biological stress systems and the parent–child relationship in the development of temperament in childhood. In the current study, a better quality parent‐child relationship predicted increases in PE in less reactive children, whereas a poorer quality relationship predicted increases in NE for more highly reactive children.
    December 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12378   open full text
  • Development in reading and math in children from different SES backgrounds: the moderating role of child temperament.
    Zhe Wang, Brooke Soden, Kirby Deater‐Deckard, Sarah L. Lukowski, Victoria J. Schenker, Erik G. Willcutt, Lee A. Thompson, Stephen A. Petrill.
    Developmental Science. December 21, 2015
    Socioeconomic risks (SES risks) are robust risk factors influencing children's academic development. However, it is unclear whether the effects of SES on academic development operate universally in all children equally or whether they vary differentially in children with particular characteristics. The current study aimed to explore children's temperament as protective or risk factors that potentially moderate the associations between SES risks and academic development. Specifically, latent growth modeling (LGM) was used in two longitudinal datasets with a total of 2236 children to examine how family SES risks and children's temperament interactively predicted the development of reading and math from middle childhood to early adolescence. Results showed that low negative affect, high effortful control, and low surgency mitigated the negative associations between SES risks and both reading and math development in this developmental period. These findings underline the heterogeneous nature of the negative associations between SES risks and academic development and highlight the importance of the interplay between biological and social factors on individual differences in development. Although higher SES risks are generally associated with poorer academic outcomes, this relation is not universal. The current study shows that high effortful control, low surgency, and low negative affect gradually help compensate for the academic disadvantages associated with SES constraints.
    December 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12380   open full text
  • Children with autism are impaired in the understanding of teaching.
    John Knutsen, David S. Mandell, Douglas Frye.
    Developmental Science. December 08, 2015
    Children learn novel information using various methods, and one of the most common is human pedagogical communication or teaching – the purposeful imparting of information from one person to another. Neuro‐typically developing (TD) children gain the ability to recognize and understand teaching as a core method for acquiring knowledge from others. However, it is not known when children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) acquire the ability to recognize and understand teaching. This study (total N = 70) examined whether children with ASD recognize the two central elements that define teaching: (1) that teaching is an intentional activity; and (2) that teaching requires a knowledge difference between teacher and learner. Theory of mind understanding was also tested. Compared to individually matched TD children, high cognitively functioning children with ASD were impaired in their comprehension of both components of teaching understanding, and their performance was correlated with theory of mind understanding. These findings could have broad implications for explaining learning in children with autism, and could help in designing more effective interventions, which could ultimately lead to improved learning outcomes for everyday life skills, school performance, health, and overall well‐being. In this study we investigated the understanding of teaching in ASD. Compared to matched TD controls, children with ASD were impaired in their comprehension that teaching is an intentional activity that requires a knowledge difference between teacher and learner.
    December 08, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12368   open full text
  • Atypical developmental of dorsal and ventral attention networks in autism.
    Kristafor Farrant, Lucina Q. Uddin.
    Developmental Science. November 27, 2015
    Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibit early and lifelong impairments in attention across multiple domains. While the disorder is known to affect attention processes, very little is currently known about the brain networks underlying attention in ASD, and even less is known about whether these atypicalities persist across the lifespan. We used functional connectivity analysis applied to resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to explore the dorsal (DAN) and ventral (VAN) attention networks in two separate age cohorts of children and adults with and without ASD. We find significant developmental differences in functional connectivity of brain regions that are critical for attention in children and adults with ASD. Specifically, children with ASD show hyper‐connectivity of regions‐of‐interest (ROIs) in both attention networks compared with both typically developing (TD) children and adults with ASD. In contrast, adults with ASD show hypo‐connectivity of these networks compared with neurotypical adults. These findings are consistent with the notion that consideration of developmental stage is critical in studies of functional connectivity in ASD. This study further illustrates diverging developmental patterns for top‐down and bottom‐up attention systems in autism. Individuals with autism exhibit a variety of deficits in attention processes, yet brain networks supporting attention in autism have not been systematically investigated. We examined functional connectivity of dorsal and ventral attention networks in children and adults with autism and found that compared with neurotypical individuals, functional hyper‐connectivity is observed in children with ASD, whereas functional hypo‐connectivity is observed in adults with the disorder.
    November 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12359   open full text
  • Genetic associations with reflexive visual attention in infancy and childhood.
    Rebecca A. Lundwall, James L. Dannemiller, H. Hill Goldsmith.
    Developmental Science. November 27, 2015
    This study elucidates genetic influences on reflexive (as opposed to sustained) attention in children (aged 9–16 years; N = 332) who previously participated as infants in visual attention studies using orienting to a moving bar (Dannemiller, 2004). We investigated genetic associations with reflexive attention measures in infancy and childhood in the same group of children. The genetic markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms and variable number tandem repeats on the genes APOE, BDNF, CHRNA4, COMT, DRD4, HTR4, IGF2, MAOA, SLC5A7, SLC6A3, and SNAP25) are related to brain development and/or to the availability of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, dopamine, or serotonin. This study shows that typically developing children have differences in reflexive attention associated with their genes, as we found in adults (Lundwall, Guo & Dannemiller, 2012). This effort to extend our previous findings to outcomes in infancy and childhood was necessary because genetic influence may differ over the course of development. Although two of the genes that were tested in our adult study (Lundwall et al., 2012) were significant in either our infant study (SLC6A3) or child study (DRD4), the specific markers tested differed. Performance on the infant task was associated with SLC6A3. In addition, several genetic associations with an analogous child task occurred with markers on CHRNA4, COMT, and DRD4. Interestingly, the child version of the task involved an interaction such that which genotype group performed poorer on the child task depended on whether we were examining the higher or lower infant scoring group. These findings are discussed in terms of genetic influences on reflexive attention in infancy and childhood. Participants completed a moving bar task as infants and again as children. Static bars exerted a distracting effect. We found that percent and response time to look at the moving bar was associated with SLC6A3 in infants and CHRNA4, COMT, and DRD4 for children.
    November 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12371   open full text
  • Testing enhances subsequent learning in older but not in younger elementary school children.
    Alp Aslan, Karl‐Heinz T. Bäuml.
    Developmental Science. November 27, 2015
    In adults, testing can enhance subsequent learning by reducing interference from the tested information. Here, we examined this forward effect of testing in children. Younger and older elementary school children and adult controls studied four lists of items in anticipation of a final cumulative recall test. Following presentation of each of the first three lists, participants were immediately tested on the respective list, or the list was re‐presented for additional study. Results revealed that, compared to additional study, immediate testing of Lists 1–3 enhanced memory for the subsequently studied List 4 in adults and older elementary school children, but not in younger elementary school children. The findings indicate that the forward effect of testing is a relatively late‐maturing phenomenon that develops over middle childhood and is still inefficient in the early elementary school years. Together with the results of other recent studies, these findings point to a more general problem in young children in combating interference. Testing of previously studied nontarget lists (Lists 1‐3) enhanced recall of a subsequently studied target list (List 4), and reduced number of intrusions from the nontarget lists during recall of the target list in adults and older elementary school children, but not in younger elementary school children.
    November 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12340   open full text
  • Auditory and proprioceptive spatial impairments in blind children and adults.
    Giulia Cappagli, Elena Cocchi, Monica Gori.
    Developmental Science. November 27, 2015
    It is not clear what role visual information plays in the development of space perception. It has previously been shown that in absence of vision, both the ability to judge orientation in the haptic modality and bisect intervals in the auditory modality are severely compromised (Gori, Sandini, Martinoli & Burr, 2010; Gori, Sandini, Martinoli & Burr, 2014). Here we report for the first time also a strong deficit in proprioceptive reproduction and audio distance evaluation in early blind children and adults. Interestingly, the deficit is not present in a small group of adults with acquired visual disability. Our results support the idea that in absence of vision the audio and proprioceptive spatial representations may be delayed or drastically weakened due to the lack of visual calibration over the auditory and haptic modalities during the critical period of development. There is a general consensus on the crucial role of visual experience in guiding the maturation of space cognition in the brain (Thinus‐Blanc & Gaunet, 1997). We tested congenitally blind children and adults in two spatial tasks (auditory distance discrimination and proprioceptive reproduction). We found a substantial spatial impairment in congenitally blind children and adults for auditory distance discrimination and proprioceptive reproduction, but we did not observe the same trend in a small group of late blind adults. The results support the idea that vision is crucial for the development of space perception and highlight the importance of cross‐sensory input for calibration of sensory systems during development.
    November 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12374   open full text
  • Beyond naïve cue combination: salience and social cues in early word learning.
    Daniel Yurovsky, Michael C. Frank.
    Developmental Science. November 17, 2015
    Children learn their earliest words through social interaction, but it is unknown how much they rely on social information. Some theories argue that word learning is fundamentally social from its outset, with even the youngest infants understanding intentions and using them to infer a social partner's target of reference. In contrast, other theories argue that early word learning is largely a perceptual process in which young children map words onto salient objects. One way of unifying these accounts is to model word learning as weighted cue combination, in which children attend to many potential cues to reference, but only gradually learn the correct weight to assign each cue. We tested four predictions of this kind of naïve cue combination account, using an eye‐tracking paradigm that combines social word teaching and two‐alternative forced‐choice testing. None of the predictions were supported. We thus propose an alternative unifying account: children are sensitive to social information early, but their ability to gather and deploy this information is constrained by domain‐general cognitive processes. Developmental changes in children's use of social cues emerge not from learning the predictive power of social cues, but from the gradual development of attention, memory, and speed of information processing. Over the first two years, children appear to rely more on social and less on perceptual cues to learn the meanings of words. One account of this development is that children may gradually learn that social cues are more reliable than perceptual cues. In two experiments, however, we show that these changes emerge not from learning the predictive power of social cues, but instead from the gradual development of attention, memory, and speed of information processing.
    November 17, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12349   open full text
  • Bilingual enhancements have no socioeconomic boundaries.
    Jennifer Krizman, Erika Skoe, Nina Kraus.
    Developmental Science. November 16, 2015
    To understand how socioeconomic status (SES) and bilingualism simultaneously operate on cognitive and sensory function, we examined executive control, language skills, and neural processing of sound in adolescents who differed in language experience (i.e. English monolingual or Spanish‐English bilingual) and level of maternal education (a proxy for SES). We hypothesized that experience communicating in two languages provides an enriched linguistic environment that can bolster neural precision in subcortical auditory processing which, in turn, enhances cognitive and linguistic function, regardless of the adolescent's socioeconomic standing. Consistent with this, we report that adolescent bilinguals of both low and high SES demonstrate more stable neural responses, stronger phonemic decoding skills, and heightened executive control, relative to their monolingual peers. These results support the argument that bilingualism can bolster cognitive and neural function in low‐SES children and suggest that strengthened neural response consistency provides a biological mechanism through which these enhancements occur. To understand how socioeconomic status (SES) and bilingualism simultaneously operate on cognitive and sensory function, we examined executive control, language skills, and subcortical neural processing of sound in adolescents who differed in language experience (i.e. English monolingual or Spanish‐English bilingual) and level of maternal education (a proxy for SES). Adolescent bilinguals of both low and high SES demonstrate more stable neural responses, stronger phonemic decoding skills, and heightened executive control, relative to their monolingual peers. These results support the argument that bilingualism can bolster cognitive and neural function in adolescents regardless of SES.
    November 16, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12347   open full text
  • Transitive inference of social dominance by human infants.
    Regina Paxton Gazes, Robert R. Hampton, Stella F. Lourenco.
    Developmental Science. November 16, 2015
    It is surprising that there are inconsistent findings of transitive inference (TI) in young infants given that non‐linguistic species succeed on TI tests. To conclusively test for TI in infants, we developed a task within the social domain, with which infants are known to show sophistication. We familiarized 10‐ to 13‐month‐olds (M = 11.53 months) to a video of two dominance interactions between three puppets (bear > elephant; hippo > bear) consistent with a dominance hierarchy (hippo > bear > elephant; where ‘>’ denotes greater dominance). Infants then viewed interactions between the two puppets that had not interacted during familiarization. These interactions were either congruent (hippo > elephant) or incongruent (elephant > hippo) with the inferred hierarchy. Consistent with TI, infants looked longer to incongruent than congruent displays. Control conditions ruled out the possibility that infants’ expectations were based on stable behaviors specific to individual puppets rather than their inferred transitive dominance relations. We suggest that TI may be supported by phylogenetically ancient mechanisms of ordinal representation and visuospatial processing that come online early in human development. We used a violation‐of‐expectation paradigm to compare looking time to test videos of social dominance interactions that were congruent (expected) or incongruent (unexpected) with inferred social dominance relations between three puppets. Infants as young as 10 months looked longer to the incongruent than to the congruent test trials, and control conditions (one of which is depicted here) ruled out the possibility that these differences were due to expectations about the behavior of individual puppets. These results indicate that competence with TI in the social domain emerges as early as 10 months of age and may be supported by nonverbal, phylogenetically ancient ordinal and visuospatial processes.
    November 16, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12367   open full text
  • Relation of infant motor development with nonverbal intelligence, language comprehension and neuropsychological functioning in childhood: a population‐based study.
    Fadila Serdarevic, Tamara Batenburg‐Eddes, Sabine E. Mous, Tonya White, Albert Hofman, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, Frank C. Verhulst, Akhgar Ghassabian, Henning Tiemeier.
    Developmental Science. November 08, 2015
    Within a population‐based study of 3356 children, we investigated whether infant neuromotor development was associated with cognition in early childhood. Neuromotor development was examined with an adapted version of Touwen's Neurodevelopmental Examination between 9 and 20 weeks. Parents rated their children's executive functioning at 4 years. At age 6 years, children performed intelligence and language comprehension tests, using Dutch test batteries. At age 6–9 years, neuropsychological functioning was assessed in 486 children using the validated NEPSY‐II–NL test battery. We showed that less optimal neurodevelopment in infancy may predict poor mental rotation, immediate memory, shifting, and planning; but not nonverbal intelligence or language comprehension. Early infant motor development, assessed by hands‐on examination at around age 3 months, predicted immediate visual memory and mental rotation in school children in a population‐based study of 3356 children.
    November 08, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12326   open full text
  • The origins of word learning: Brain responses of 3‐month‐olds indicate their rapid association of objects and words.
    Manuela Friedrich, Angela D. Friederici.
    Developmental Science. November 08, 2015
    The present study explored the origins of word learning in early infancy. Using event‐related potentials (ERP) we monitored the brain activity of 3‐month‐old infants when they were repeatedly exposed to several initially novel words paired consistently with each the same initially novel objects or inconsistently with different objects. Our results provide strong evidence that these young infants extract statistic regularities in the distribution of the co‐occurrences of objects and words extremely quickly. The data suggest that this ability is based on the rapid formation of associations between the neural representations of objects and words, but that the new associations are not retained in long‐term memory until the next day. The type of brain response moreover indicates that, unlike in older infants, in 3‐month‐olds a semantic processing stage is not involved. Their ability to combine words with meaningful information is caused by a primary learning mechanism that enables the formation of proto‐words and acts as a precursor for the acquisition of genuine words. Three‐month‐old infants learned pairings of eight novel objects and eight novel words within only four consistent repetitions, but they did not retain them in long‐term memory until the next day. In the memory test infants relearned the combinations, even though objects and words were paired consistently in only half of their overall pairings. Instead of the N400 component that evidences the learning of word meanings in the ERP of older infants, a late left‐hemispheric negativity indicated the learning of object‐word pairings in 3‐month‐olds. This result represents the first neurophysiological distinction between ‘higher’ lexical‐semantic learning and associative ‘proto‐word’ learning.
    November 08, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12357   open full text
  • When does social learning become cultural learning?
    Cecilia Heyes.
    Developmental Science. November 06, 2015
    Developmental research on selective social learning, or ‘social learning strategies’, is currently a rich source of information about when children copy behaviour, and who they prefer to copy. It also has the potential to tell us when and how human social learning becomes cultural learning; i.e. mediated by psychological mechanisms that are specialized, genetically or culturally, to promote cultural inheritance. However, this review article argues that, to realize its potential, research on the development of selective social learning needs more clearly to distinguish functional from mechanistic explanation; to achieve integration with research on attention and learning in adult humans and ‘dumb’ animals; and to recognize that psychological mechanisms can be specialized, not only by genetic evolution, but also by associative learning and cultural evolution.
    November 06, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12350   open full text
  • Categorization in infancy: labeling induces a persisting focus on commonalities.
    Nadja Althaus, Kim Plunkett.
    Developmental Science. November 05, 2015
    Recent studies with infants and adults demonstrate a facilitative role of labels in object categorization. A common interpretation is that labels highlight commonalities between objects. However, direct evidence for such a mechanism is lacking. Using a novel object category with spatially separate features that are either of low or high variability across the stimulus set, we tracked 12‐month‐olds’ attention to object features during learning and at test. Learning occurred in both conditions, but what was learned depended on whether or not labels were heard. A detailed analysis of eye movements revealed that infants in the two conditions employed different object processing strategies. In the silent condition, looking patterns were governed exclusively by the variability of object parts. In the label condition, infants’ categorization performance was linked to their relative attention to commonalities. Moreover, the commonality focus persisted after learning even in the absence of labels. These findings constitute the first experimental evidence that labels induce a persistent focus on commonalities. Twelve‐month‐old infants were familiarized with a novel object category in silence or with labels. Infants succeeded in forming a new category in both conditions. However, the processes underlying category formation differ when familiarization objects are presented with or without labels. In the absence of labels infants' attention is drawn to variability in category features. The presence of labels promotes attention to the commonalities between category exemplars.
    November 05, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12358   open full text
  • On the relationship between phonological awareness, morphological awareness and Chinese literacy skills: evidence from an 8‐year longitudinal study.
    Jinger Pan, Shuang Song, Mengmeng Su, Catherine McBride, Hongyun Liu, Yuping Zhang, Hong Li, Hua Shu.
    Developmental Science. November 05, 2015
    The present study reported data on phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and Chinese literacy skills of 294 children from an 8‐year longitudinal study. Results showed that mainland Chinese children's preliterate syllable awareness at ages 4 to 6 years uniquely predicted post‐literate morphological awareness at ages 7 to 10 years. Preliterate syllable awareness directly contributed to character reading and writing at age 11 years, while post‐literate phonemic awareness predicted only character reading at age 11 years. In addition, preliterate syllable and morphological awareness at ages 4 to 6 years had indirect effects on character reading and writing, reading fluency, and reading comprehension at age 11 years, through post‐literate morphological awareness at ages 7 to 10 years. Findings underscore the significant role of syllable awareness in Chinese character reading and writing, and the importance of morphological awareness in character‐level processing and high‐level literacy skills. More importantly, our results suggest the unique relation of syllable awareness and morphological awareness in Chinese as they focus on the same unit, which is also likely to map directly onto a character, the basic unit for high‐level Chinese reading skills. This article investigates the longitudinal relationship between preliterate and post‐literate phonological awareness and morphological awareness, and their contributions to Chinese literacy skills. Our results suggest the importance of preliterate syllable awareness and post‐literate morphological awareness in Chinese literacy skills. These findings underscore the unique relation of syllable awareness and morphological awareness in Chinese as they are mapped onto a character, which is the basic unit in Chinese reading.
    November 05, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12356   open full text
  • Preschool children's control of action outcomes.
    Livia Freier, Richard P. Cooper, Denis Mareschal.
    Developmental Science. October 27, 2015
    Naturalistic goal‐directed behaviours require the engagement and maintenance of appropriate levels of cognitive control over relatively extended intervals of time. In two experiments, we examined preschool children's abilities to maintain top‐down control throughout the course of a sequential task. Both 3‐ and 5‐year‐olds demonstrated good abilities to access goals at the lowest level of the representational hierarchy. However, only 5‐year‐olds consistently aligned their response choices with goals at superordinate levels. These findings suggest that the ability to maintain top‐down control and adjust behavioural responses according to goals at multiple levels of abstraction undergoes a marked improvement throughout the preschool period. Results are discussed in relation to current accounts of cognitive control and the monitoring of conflict in sequential action. Preschoolers' strategy‐guided acting differed for 3‐ and 5‐year‐olds on a naturalistic colouring task. All children attained goals at subordinate levels of the goal hierarchy but only 5‐year‐olds monitored action outcomes in line with the overarching goal of the task.
    October 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12354   open full text
  • Splenium development and early spoken language in human infants.
    Meghan R. Swanson, Jason J. Wolff, Jed T. Elison, Hongbin Gu, Heather C. Hazlett, Kelly Botteron, Martin Styner, Sarah Paterson, Guido Gerig, John Constantino, Stephen Dager, Annette Estes, Clement Vachet, Joseph Piven,.
    Developmental Science. October 21, 2015
    The association between developmental trajectories of language‐related white matter fiber pathways from 6 to 24 months of age and individual differences in language production at 24 months of age was investigated. The splenium of the corpus callosum, a fiber pathway projecting through the posterior hub of the default mode network to occipital visual areas, was examined as well as pathways implicated in language function in the mature brain, including the arcuate fasciculi, uncinate fasciculi, and inferior longitudinal fasciculi. The hypothesis that the development of neural circuitry supporting domain‐general orienting skills would relate to later language performance was tested in a large sample of typically developing infants. The present study included 77 infants with diffusion weighted MRI scans at 6, 12 and 24 months and language assessment at 24 months. The rate of change in splenium development varied significantly as a function of language production, such that children with greater change in fractional anisotropy (FA) from 6 to 24 months produced more words at 24 months. Contrary to findings from older children and adults, significant associations between language production and FA in the arcuate, uncinate, or left inferior longitudinal fasciculi were not observed. The current study highlights the importance of tracing brain development trajectories from infancy to fully elucidate emerging brain–behavior associations while also emphasizing the role of the splenium as a key node in the structural network that supports the acquisition of spoken language. The association between developmental trajectories of language‐related white matter fiber pathways from 6 to 24 months of age and individual differences in language production at 24 months of age were investigated in 77 typically developing infants. The rate of change in splenium development varied significantly as a function of language production, such that children with greater change in fractional anisotropy from 6 to 24 months produced more words at 24 months (blue solid line in figure). These findings highlight the importance of tracing brain development trajectories from infancy to fully elucidate emerging brain‐behavior associations while also emphasizing the role of the splenium as a key node in the structural network that supports the acquisition of spoken language.
    October 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12360   open full text
  • Difficult temperament and negative parenting in early childhood: a genetically informed cross‐lagged analysis.
    Lauren Micalizzi, Manjie Wang, Kimberly J. Saudino.
    Developmental Science. October 21, 2015
    A genetically informed longitudinal cross‐lagged model was applied to twin data to explore etiological links between difficult temperament and negative parenting in early childhood. The sample comprised 313 monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs. Difficult temperament and negative parenting were assessed at ages 2 and 3 using parent ratings. Both constructs were interrelated within and across age (rs .34–.47) and showed substantial stability (rs .65–.68). Difficult temperament and negative parenting were influenced by genetic and environmental factors at ages 2 and 3. The genetic and nonshared environmental correlations (rs .21–.76) at both ages suggest overlap at the level of etiology between the phenotypes. Significant bidirectional associations between difficult temperament and negative parenting were found. The cross‐lagged association from difficult temperament at age 2 to negative parenting at age 3 and from negative parenting at age 2 and difficult temperament at age 3 were due to genetic, shared environmental, and nonshared environmental factors. Substantial novel genetic and nonshared environmental influences emerged at age 3 and suggest change in the etiology of these constructs over time. Individual differences in difficult temperament and negative parenting in early childhood are due to genetic, shared environmental, and nonshared environmental effects. In addition to contemporaneous associations at ages 2 and 3, there is evidence of a bidirectional association between difficult temperament and negative parenting across this period that is due to genetic and environmental influences.
    October 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12355   open full text
  • Facial speech gestures: the relation between visual speech processing, phonological awareness, and developmental dyslexia in 10‐year‐olds.
    Gesa Schaadt, Claudia Männel, Elke Meer, Ann Pannekamp, Angela D. Friederici.
    Developmental Science. October 21, 2015
    Successful communication in everyday life crucially involves the processing of auditory and visual components of speech. Viewing our interlocutor and processing visual components of speech facilitates speech processing by triggering auditory processing. Auditory phoneme processing, analyzed by event‐related brain potentials (ERP), has been shown to be associated with impairments in reading and spelling (i.e. developmental dyslexia), but visual aspects of phoneme processing have not been investigated in individuals with such deficits. The present study analyzed the passive visual Mismatch Response (vMMR) in school children with and without developmental dyslexia in response to video‐recorded mouth movements pronouncing syllables silently. Our results reveal that both groups of children showed processing of visual speech stimuli, but with different scalp distribution. Children without developmental dyslexia showed a vMMR with typical posterior distribution. In contrast, children with developmental dyslexia showed a vMMR with anterior distribution, which was even more pronounced in children with severe phonological deficits and very low spelling abilities. As anterior scalp distributions are typically reported for auditory speech processing, the anterior vMMR of children with developmental dyslexia might suggest an attempt to anticipate potentially upcoming auditory speech information in order to support phonological processing, which has been shown to be deficient in children with developmental dyslexia. Studies demonstrated impaired auditory speech processing in individuals with developmental dyslexia (DD), but visual aspects of speech processing have hardly been investigated. We analyzed the visual Mismatch Response (vMMR) to mouth movements silently pronouncing syllables in school children with and without DD. Children without DD show a posterior vMMR, whereas children with DD show an anterior vMMR, which was more pronounced in children with severe phonological deficits. As anterior MMR scalp distributions are typically observed for auditory speech processing, the anterior vMMR of children with DD might suggest an attempt to anticipate potentially upcoming auditory speech information in order to support phonological processing.
    October 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12346   open full text
  • Effect of socioeconomic status (SES) disparity on neural development in female African‐American infants at age 1 month.
    Laura M. Betancourt, Brian Avants, Martha J. Farah, Nancy L. Brodsky, Jue Wu, Manzar Ashtari, Hallam Hurt.
    Developmental Science. October 21, 2015
    There is increasing interest in both the cumulative and long‐term impact of early life adversity on brain structure and function, especially as the brain is both highly vulnerable and highly adaptive during childhood. Relationships between SES and neural development have been shown in children older than age 2 years. Less is known regarding the impact of SES on neural development in children before age 2. This paper examines the effect of SES, indexed by income‐to‐needs (ITN) and maternal education, on cortical gray, deep gray, and white matter volumes in term, healthy, appropriate for gestational age, African‐American, female infants. At 5 weeks postnatal age, unsedated infants underwent MRI (3.0T Siemens Verio scanner, 32‐channel head coil). Images were segmented based on a locally constructed template. Utilizing hierarchical linear regression, SES effects on MRI volumes were examined. In this cohort of healthy African‐American female infants of varying SES, lower SES was associated with smaller cortical gray and deep gray matter volumes. These SES effects on neural outcome at such a young age build on similar studies of older children, suggesting that the biological embedding of adversity may occur very early in development. Relationships between SES and neural development have been shown in older children, however, less is known regarding the impact of SES on neural development in infants. We examined effects of SES on cortical gray, deep gray, and white matter volumes in term, healthy, appropriate for gestational age, African‐American, female infants at 5 weeks of age and found that lower SES was associated with smaller cortical gray and deep gray matter volumes. These SES effects on neural outcome at such a young age build on similar studies of older children, suggesting that the biological embedding of adversity may occur very early in development.
    October 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12344   open full text
  • Lexical leverage: category knowledge boosts real‐time novel word recognition in 2‐year‐olds.
    Arielle Borovsky, Erica M. Ellis, Julia L. Evans, Jeffrey L. Elman.
    Developmental Science. October 09, 2015
    Recent research suggests that infants tend to add words to their vocabulary that are semantically related to other known words, though it is not clear why this pattern emerges. In this paper, we explore whether infants leverage their existing vocabulary and semantic knowledge when interpreting novel label–object mappings in real time. We initially identified categorical domains for which individual 24‐month‐old infants have relatively higher and lower levels of knowledge, irrespective of overall vocabulary size. Next, we taught infants novel words in these higher and lower knowledge domains and then asked if their subsequent real‐time recognition of these items varied as a function of their category knowledge. While our participants successfully acquired the novel label–object mappings in our task, there were important differences in the way infants recognized these words in real time. Namely, infants showed more robust recognition of high (vs. low) domain knowledge words. These findings suggest that dense semantic structure facilitates early word learning and real‐time novel word recognition. We measured novel word recognition in 24 month old children as a function of whether newly learned words came from relatively dense or sparse semantic categories. Results indicated that words were recognized more reliably when words came from dense categories. The findings suggest that young children recognize links between novel and known word meanings and leverage this knowledge during word learning.
    October 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12343   open full text
  • Functional brain organization for number processing in pre‐verbal infants.
    Laura A. Edwards, Jennifer B. Wagner, Charline E. Simon, Daniel C. Hyde.
    Developmental Science. September 22, 2015
    Humans are born with the ability to mentally represent the approximate numerosity of a set of objects, but little is known about the brain systems that sub‐serve this ability early in life and their relation to the brain systems underlying symbolic number and mathematics later in development. Here we investigate processing of numerical magnitudes before the acquisition of a symbolic numerical system or even spoken language, by measuring the brain response to numerosity changes in pre‐verbal infants using functional near‐infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). To do this, we presented infants with two types of numerical stimulus blocks: number change blocks that presented dot arrays alternating in numerosity and no change blocks that presented dot arrays all with the same number. Images were carefully constructed to rule out the possibility that responses to number changes could be due to non‐numerical stimulus properties that tend to co‐vary with number. Interleaved with the two types of numerical blocks were audio‐visual animations designed to increase attention. We observed that number change blocks evoked an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin over a focal right parietal region that was greater than that observed during no change blocks and during audio‐visual attention blocks. The location of this effect was consistent with intra‐parietal activity seen in older children and adults for both symbolic and non‐symbolic numerical tasks. A distinct set of bilateral occipital and middle parietal channels responded more to the attention‐grabbing animations than to either of the types of numerical stimuli, further dissociating the specific right parietal response to number from a more general bilateral visual or attentional response. These results provide the strongest evidence to date that the right parietal cortex is specialized for numerical processing in infancy, as the response to number is dissociated from visual change processing and general attentional processing. We investigated functional brain organization for numerical processing in pre‐verbal infants using fNIRS. We show that sensitivity to numerosity change is restricted to right parietal cortex and responses to number can be functionally and spatially dissociated from the broader visual‐attentional response. These results suggest a strict brain lateralization and specialization for numerosity before the acquisition of a symbolic number system.
    September 22, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12333   open full text
  • Challenging gender stereotypes: Theory of mind and peer group dynamics.
    Kelly Lynn Mulvey, Michael T. Rizzo, Melanie Killen.
    Developmental Science. September 22, 2015
    To investigate the social cognitive skills related to challenging gender stereotypes, children (N = 61, 3–6 years) evaluated a peer who challenged gender stereotypic norms held by the peer's group. Participants with false belief theory of mind (FB ToM) competence were more likely than participants who did not have FB ToM to expect a peer to challenge the group's stereotypes and propose that the group engage in a non‐stereotypic activity. Further, participants with FB ToM rated challenging the peer group more positively. Participants without FB ToM did not differentiate between their own and the group's evaluation of challenges to the group's stereotypic norms, but those with ToM competence asserted that they would be more supportive of challenging the group norm than would the peer group. Results reveal the importance of social‐cognitive competencies for recognizing the legitimacy of challenging stereotypes, and for understanding one's own and other group perspectives. To investigate the social‐cognitive skills related to challenging gender stereotypes, children (N = 61, 3–6 years) evaluated a peer who challenged gender stereotypic norms held by the peer's group. Participants with false belief theory of mind (FB ToM) competence were more likely than participants who did not have FB ToM to expect a peer to challenge the group's stereotypes and propose that the group engage in a non‐stereotypic activity. Further, participants with FB ToM rated challenging the peer group more positively.
    September 22, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12345   open full text
  • The influence of power and reason on young Maya children's endorsement of testimony.
    Thomas Castelain, Stéphane Bernard, Jean‐Baptiste Van der Henst, Hugo Mercier.
    Developmental Science. September 09, 2015
    Two important parenting strategies are to impose one's power and to use reasoning. The effect of these strategies on children's evaluation of testimony has received very little attention. Using the epistemic vigilance framework, we predict that when the reasoning cue is strong enough it should overcome the power cue. We test this prediction in a population for which anthropological data suggest that power is the prominent strategy while reasoning is rarely relied on in the interactions with children. In Experiment 1, 4‐ to 6‐year‐old children from a traditional Maya population are shown to endorse the testimony supported by a strong argument over that supported by a weak argument. In Experiment 2, the same participants are shown to follow the testimony of a dominant over that of a subordinate. The participants are then shown to endorse the testimony of a subordinate who provides a strong argument over that of a dominant who provides either a weak argument (Experiment 3) or no argument (Experiment 4). Thus, when the power and reasoning cues conflict, reasoning completely trumps power. Children from a traditional Maya community were more likely to endorse testimony supported by a good argument (Experiment 1), provided by a dominant (Experiment 2), and supported by a good argument provided by a subordinate (Experiments 3 and 4).
    September 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12336   open full text
  • Emotional experience in music fosters 18‐month‐olds' emotion–action understanding: a training study.
    Tik Sze Carrey Siu, Him Cheung.
    Developmental Science. September 09, 2015
    We examine whether emotional experiences induced via music‐making promote infants' use of emotional cues to predict others' action. Fifteen‐month‐olds were randomly assigned to participate in interactive emotion training either with or without musical engagement for three months. Both groups were then re‐tested with two violation‐of‐expectation paradigms respectively assessing their sensitivity to some expressive features in music and understanding of the link between emotion and behaviour in simple action sequences. The infants who had participated in music, but not those who had not, were surprised by music–face inconsistent displays and were able to interpret an agent's action as guided by her expressed emotion. The findings suggest a privileged role of musical experience in prompting infants to form emotional representations, which support their understanding of the association between affective states and action. Training 15‐month‐olds to recognize emotions via interactive musical activities not only enhances their appreciation of musical expressiveness, but also promotes their affective interpretation of behaviour.
    September 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12348   open full text
  • Development of infants' segmentation of words from native speech: a meta‐analytic approach.
    Christina Bergmann, Alejandrina Cristia.
    Developmental Science. September 09, 2015
    Infants start learning words, the building blocks of language, at least by 6 months. To do so, they must be able to extract the phonological form of words from running speech. A rich literature has investigated this process, termed word segmentation. We addressed the fundamental question of how infants of different ages segment words from their native language using a meta‐analytic approach. Based on previous popular theoretical and experimental work, we expected infants to display familiarity preferences early on, with a switch to novelty preferences as infants become more proficient at processing and segmenting native speech. We also considered the possibility that this switch may occur at different points in time as a function of infants' native language and took into account the impact of various task‐ and stimulus‐related factors that might affect difficulty. The combined results from 168 experiments reporting on data gathered from 3774 infants revealed a persistent familiarity preference across all ages. There was no significant effect of additional factors, including native language and experiment design. Further analyses revealed no sign of selective data collection or reporting. We conclude that models of infant information processing that are frequently cited in this domain may not, in fact, apply in the case of segmenting words from native speech. In a meta‐analysis, we addressed how infants across different ages segment words from continuous speech in their native language. Based on previous popular theoretical and experimental work, we expected infants to display familiarity preferences early on, with a switch to novelty preferences as infants become more proficient at processing and segmenting native speech. The combined results from 168 experiments reporting on data gathered from 3774 infants revealed a persistent familiarity preference across all ages. There was no significant effect of additional factors, including native language and experiment design. Further analyses revealed no sign of selective data collection or reporting. We conclude that models of infant information processing that are frequently cited in this domain may not, in fact, apply in the case of segmenting words from native speech.
    September 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12341   open full text
  • Infants’ unprovoked acts of force toward others.
    Audun Dahl.
    Developmental Science. August 25, 2015
    Infants harm others at higher rates than older children and adults. A common explanation is that infants fail to regulate their frustration, becoming aggressive when they do not get what they want. The present research investigated whether infants also use force against others without provocation, for instance because they seek to explore the consequences of hitting or try to pet someone using too much force. Two studies with infants aged 11 to 24 months investigated infants’ use of force against others in everyday life using maternal report (Study 1) and direct observation (Study 2). In both studies, a large proportion of infants’ acts of force were unprovoked and occurred without signs of infant distress. Unlike provoked acts, unprovoked acts showed a decrease late in the second year and were positively associated with reports of infant pleasure‐proneness. The presence of unprovoked acts of harm may reflect that infants’ actions are not reliably guided by an aversion for harming others and may provide unique opportunities for early moral development. It is often thought that infants hit, bite, or kick others more often than older children merely because infants cannot regulate their frustration in response to provocation. Contrary to this view, two studies showed that a large proportion of acts of force in the second year are unprovoked and not accompanied by distress.
    August 25, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12342   open full text
  • Developmental consequences of behavioral inhibition: a model in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).
    Katie Chun, John P. Capitanio.
    Developmental Science. August 25, 2015
    In children, behavioral inhibition is characterized by a disposition to withdraw in the presence of strangers and novel situations. Later in life, behavioral inhibition can result in an increased risk for anxiety and depression and a decrease in social behavior. We selected rhesus monkeys that, during infancy, showed evidence of behavioral inhibition in response to separation, and contrasted them with non‐inhibited peers. To understand the development of behavioral inhibition at juvenile age, we collected behavioral data in response to relocation; in response to a human intruder challenge; and in naturalistic outdoor field corrals. At 4 years of age (young adulthood), we again collected behavioral data in the outdoor field corrals to understand the adult social consequences of behavioral inhibition. We also included sex, dominance rank, and number of available kin in our analyses. Finally, to understand the consistency in behavior in behaviorally inhibited animals, we conducted exploratory analyses contrasting behaviorally inhibited animals that showed high vs. low durations of non‐social behaviors as adults. At juvenile age, behaviorally inhibited animals continued to show behavioral differences in the novel testing room and during the human intruder challenge, generally showing evidence of greater anxiety and emotionality compared to non‐inhibited controls. In their outdoor corrals, behaviorally inhibited juveniles spent more time alone and less time in proximity and grooming with mother and other adult females. In young adulthood, we found that behavioral inhibition was not related to time spent alone. We did find that duration of time alone in adulthood was related to time alone exhibited as juveniles; sex, dominance rank, or the number of kin were not influential in adult non‐social duration, either as main effects or as moderators. Finally, exploratory analyses revealed that behaviorally inhibited females that were more sociable (less time spent alone) as adults had spent more time grooming as juveniles, suggesting that high‐quality social interaction at a young age might mitigate the social consequences of behavioral inhibition. Overall, we believe that the many similarities with the human data that we found suggest that this monkey model of naturally occurring behavioral inhibition can be valuable for understanding social development. Although behavioral inhibition can result in an increased risk for anxiety and depression and decreased social behavior later in life, some studies have found that the stability of behavioral inhibition can be moderated by different factors. In a rhesus monkey model of behavioral inhibition, behaviorally inhibited juveniles showed increased anxious behaviors in response to relocation and decreased social behaviors in naturalistic conditions, however, as adults, behaviorally inhibited animals showed discontinuity in social behavior, which may be related to the quality of interactions early in life.
    August 25, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12339   open full text
  • Brain and behavioral inhibitory control of kindergartners facing negative emotions.
    Tali Farbiash, Andrea Berger.
    Developmental Science. August 18, 2015
    Inhibitory control (IC) – one of the most critical functions underlying a child's ability to self‐regulate – develops significantly throughout the kindergarten years. Experiencing negative emotions imposes challenges on executive functioning and may specifically affect IC. In this study, we examined kindergartners' IC and its related brain activity during a negative emotional situation: 58 children (aged 5.5–6.5 years) performed an emotion‐induction Go/NoGo task. During this task, we recorded children's performance and brain activity, focusing on the fronto‐central N2 component in the event‐related potential (ERP) and the power of its underlying theta frequency. Compared to Go trials, inhibition of NoGo trials was associated with larger N2 amplitudes and theta power. The negative emotional experience resulted in better IC performance and, at the brain level, in larger theta power. Source localization of this effect showed that the brain activity related to IC during the negative emotional experience was principally generated in the posterior frontal regions. Furthermore, the band power measure was found to be a more sensitive index for children's inhibitory processes than N2 amplitudes. This is the first study to focus on kindergartners' IC while manipulating their emotional experience to induce negative emotions. Our findings suggest that a kindergartner's experience of negative emotion can result in improved IC and increases in associated aspects of brain activity. Our results also suggest the utility of time‐frequency analyses in the study of brain processes associated with response inhibition in young children. Inhibitory control (IC) ‐ one of the most critical functions underlying a child's ability to self‐regulate ‐ develops significantly throughout the kindergarten years. Experiencing negative emotions imposes challenges on executive functioning and may specifically affect IC. In this study, we examined kindergartners' IC and its related brain activity during a negative emotional situation. We found that theta power within the N2 window was increased in NoGo trials of the negative emotional block (B), compared to the non‐negative emotional blocks (A and C). This increase reflects the recruitment of emotional and attentional resources needed when children were asked to cope with their negative emotions and exert inhibitory control under this challenging condition.
    August 18, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12330   open full text
  • Bimodal emotion congruency is critical to preverbal infants’ abstract rule learning.
    Angeline Sin Mei Tsui, Yuen Ki Ma, Anna Ho, Hiu Mei Chow, Chia‐huei Tseng.
    Developmental Science. August 17, 2015
    Extracting general rules from specific examples is important, as we must face the same challenge displayed in various formats. Previous studies have found that bimodal presentation of grammar‐like rules (e.g. ABA) enhanced 5‐month‐olds’ capacity to acquire a rule that infants failed to learn when the rule was presented with visual presentation of the shapes alone (circle‐triangle‐circle) or auditory presentation of the syllables (la‐ba‐la) alone. However, the mechanisms and constraints for this bimodal learning facilitation are still unknown. In this study, we used audio‐visual relation congruency between bimodal stimulation to disentangle possible facilitation sources. We exposed 8‐ to 10‐month‐old infants to an AAB sequence consisting of visual faces with affective expressions and/or auditory voices conveying emotions. Our results showed that infants were able to distinguish the learned AAB rule from other novel rules under bimodal stimulation when the affects in audio and visual stimuli were congruently paired (Experiments 1A and 2A). Infants failed to acquire the same rule when audio‐visual stimuli were incongruently matched (Experiment 2B) and when only the visual (Experiment 1B) or the audio (Experiment 1C) stimuli were presented. Our results highlight that bimodal facilitation in infant rule learning is not only dependent on better statistical probability and redundant sensory information, but also the relational congruency of audio‐visual information. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KYTyjH1k9RQ Pre‐verbal infants can extract grammar‐like abstract rules (e.g. A‐A‐B) from repeated sequence exposure. We discovered that simultaneous visual‐auditory presentation enhanced this rule acquisition, but only when the visual‐ and auditory‐ stimuli were congruently paired. In this case, the emotional contents determined whether infants benefit from bimodal abstract rule learning.
    August 17, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12319   open full text
  • The development of implicit gender attitudes.
    Yarrow Dunham, Andrew Scott Baron, Mahzarin R. Banaji.
    Developmental Science. August 11, 2015
    The development course of implicit and explicit gender attitudes between the ages of 5 and adulthood is investigated. Findings demonstrate that implicit and explicit own‐gender preferences emerge early in both boys and girls, but implicit own‐gender preferences are stronger in young girls than boys. In addition, female participants' attitudes remain largely stable over development, whereas male participants' implicit and explicit attitudes show an age‐related shift towards increasing female positivity. Gender attitudes are an anomaly in that social evaluations dissociate from social status, with both male and female participants tending to evaluate female more positively than male. Children's preference for their own gender emerges early in childhood. Thereafter, boys and girls show strikingly different patterns of development. Girls' attitudes, measured at both the implicit and explicit level, remain stable. By contrast, boys' attitudes show a marked decline in strength, ending at pro‐female attitudes as measured explicitly and relative neutrality as measured implicitly.
    August 11, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12321   open full text
  • The irreversibility of sensitive period effects in language development: evidence from second language acquisition in international adoptees.
    Gunnar Norrman, Emanuel Bylund.
    Developmental Science. August 11, 2015
    The question of a sensitive period in language acquisition has been subject to extensive research and debate for more than half a century. While it has been well established that the ability to learn new languages declines in early years, the extent to which this outcome depends on biological maturation in contrast to previously acquired knowledge remains disputed. In the present study, we addressed this question by examining phonetic discriminatory abilities in early second language (L2) speakers of Swedish, who had either maintained their first language (L1) (immigrants) or had lost it (international adoptees), using native speaker controls. Through this design, we sought to disentangle the effects of the maturational state of the learner on L2 development from the effects of L1 interference: if additional language development is indeed constrained by an interfering L1, then adoptees should outperform immigrant speakers. The results of an auditory lexical decision task, in which fine vowel distinctions in Swedish had been modified, showed, however, no difference between the L2 groups. Instead, both L2 groups scored significantly lower than the native speaker group. The three groups did not differ in their ability to discriminate non‐modified words. These findings demonstrate that L1 loss is not a crucial condition for successfully acquiring an L2, which in turn is taken as support for a maturational constraints view on L2 acquisition. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/1J9X50aePeU A prominent hypothesis holds that a second language can be more successfully acquired if the learner's first language is lost. We compared second language learners who had either lost their first language (adoptee learners) or maintained it (immigrant learners). Results showed that first language loss does not promote successful second language learning, and instead suggest that age of acquisition is the crucial factor.
    August 11, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12332   open full text
  • Developmental changes between childhood and adulthood in passive observational and interactive feedback‐based categorization rule learning.
    Rubi Hammer, Jim Kloet, James R. Booth.
    Developmental Science. August 11, 2015
    As children start attending school they are more likely to face situations where they have to autonomously learn about novel object categories (e.g. by reading a picture book with descriptions of novel animals). Such autonomous observational category learning (OCL) gradually complements interactive feedback‐based category learning (FBCL), where a child hypothesizes about the nature of a novel object, acts based on his prediction, and then receives feedback indicating the correctness of his prediction. Here we tested OCL and FBCL skills of elementary school children and adults. In both conditions, participants performed complex rule‐based categorization tasks that required associating novel objects with novel category‐labels. We expected children to perform better in FBCL tasks than in OCL tasks, whereas adults to be skilled in both tasks. As hypothesized, in early‐phase learning children performed better in FBCL tasks than in OCL tasks. Unexpectedly, adults performed somewhat better in OCL tasks. Early‐phase FBCL performance in the two age groups was matched, but the OCL performance of adults was higher than that of children. In late‐phase learning there was only an age group main effect (adults > children). Moreover, performance in post‐learning categorization tasks, that did not require label recollection, indicated that in FBCL tasks children were likely to directly learn the associations between an object and a category label, whereas in the OCL tasks they were likely to first learn which feature‐dimensions were relevant. These findings shed light on developmental changes in cognitive control and learning mechanisms. Implications for educational settings are discussed. We tested autonomous observational category learning (OCL) and feedback‐based category learning (FBCL) skills of elementary school children and adults. Early‐phase FBCL performances in the two age groups were matched, but the OCL performances of adults were higher than those of children. Performances in post learning categorization tasks indicated that in FBCL tasks children directly learn the associations between an object and a category label, whereas in the OCL tasks they first learn which feature‐dimensions were relevant.
    August 11, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12338   open full text
  • Electrophysiological evidence of phonetic normalization across coarticulation in infants.
    Karima Mersad, Ghislaine Dehaene‐Lambertz.
    Developmental Science. August 09, 2015
    The auditory neural representations of infants can easily be studied with electroencephalography using mismatch experimental designs. We recorded high‐density event‐related potentials while 3‐month‐old infants were listening to trials consisting of CV syllables produced with different vowels (/bX/ or /gX/). The consonant remained the same for the first three syllables, followed (or not) by a change in the fourth position. A consonant change evoked a significant difference around the second auditory peak (400–600 ms) relative to control trials. This mismatch response demonstrates that the infants robustly categorized the consonant despite coarticulation that blurs the phonetic cues, and at an age at which they do not produce these consonants themselves. This response was obtained even when infants had no visual articulatory information to help them to track the consonant repetition. In combination with previous studies establishing categorical perception and normalization across speakers, this result demonstrates that preverbal infants already have abstract phonetic representation integrating over acoustical features in the first months of life. Preverbal infants can compute automatically consonant representation, independently of the vocalic context. Infants share with adults a similar neural architecture suitable for computing phonetic representations from the first months of life.
    August 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12325   open full text
  • Delayed Match Retrieval: a novel anticipation‐based visual working memory paradigm.
    Zsuzsa Kaldy, Sylvia B. Guillory, Erik Blaser.
    Developmental Science. July 31, 2015
    We tested 8‐ and 10‐month‐old infants’ visual working memory (VWM) for object‐location bindings – what is where – with a novel paradigm, Delayed Match Retrieval, that measured infants’ anticipatory gaze responses (using a Tobii T120 eye tracker). In an inversion of Delayed‐Match‐to‐Sample tasks and with inspiration from the game Memory, in test trials, three face‐down virtual ‘cards’ were presented. Two flipped over sequentially (revealing, e.g. a swirl pattern and then a star), and then flipped back face‐down. Next, the third card was flipped to reveal a match (e.g. a star) to one of the previously seen, now face‐down cards. If infants looked to the location where the (now face‐down) matching card had been shown, this was coded as a correct response. To encourage anticipatory looks, infants subsequently received a reward (a brief, engaging animation) presented at that location. Ten‐month‐old infants performed significantly above chance, showing that their VWM could hold object‐location information for the two cards. Overall, 8‐month‐olds’ performance was at chance, but they showed a robust learning trend. These results corroborate previous findings (Kaldy & Leslie, 2005; Oakes, Ross‐Sheehy & Luck, 2006) and point to rapid development of VWM for object‐location bindings. However, compared to previous paradigms that measure passive gaze responses to novelty, this paradigm presents a more challenging, ecologically relevant test of VWM, as it measures the ability to make online predictions and actively localize objects based on VWM. In addition, this paradigm can be readily scaled up to test toddlers or older children without significant modification. Here we introduce a novel eye‐tracking paradigm (Delayed Match Retrieval) to test infants’ visual working memory (VWM) using anticipatory gaze responses. 10‐month‐olds were able to reliably maintain two object‐location bindings over a 1.5‐second delay. Our paradigm can be readily scaled up to test toddlers and older children as well.
    July 31, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12335   open full text
  • Individual differences in neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention in preschoolers from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds: an event‐related potentials study.
    Elif Isbell, Amanda Hampton Wray, Helen J. Neville.
    Developmental Science. July 31, 2015
    Selective attention, the ability to enhance the processing of particular input while suppressing the information from other concurrent sources, has been postulated to be a foundational skill for learning and academic achievement. The neural mechanisms of this foundational ability are both vulnerable and enhanceable in children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) families. In the current study, we assessed individual differences in neural mechanisms of this malleable brain function in children from lower SES families. Specifically, we investigated the extent to which individual differences in neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention accounted for variability in nonverbal cognitive abilities in lower SES preschoolers. We recorded event‐related potentials (ERPs) during a dichotic listening task and administered nonverbal IQ tasks to 124 lower SES children (77 females) between the ages of 40 and 67 months. The attention effect, i.e., the difference in ERP mean amplitudes elicited by identical probes embedded in stories when attended versus unattended, was significantly correlated with nonverbal IQ scores. Larger, more positive attention effects over the anterior and central electrode locations were associated with superior nonverbal IQ performance. Our findings provide initial evidence for prominent individual differences in neural indices of selective attention in lower SES children. Furthermore, our results indicate a noteworthy relationship between neural mechanisms of selective attention and nonverbal IQ performance in lower SES preschoolers. These findings provide the basis for future research to identify the factors that contribute to such individual differences in neural mechanisms of selective attention. To assess neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention, we recorded event‐related potentials (ERPs) during a dichotic listening paradigm from 124 preschoolers from lower SES backgrounds. We observed prominent individual differences in neural indices of selective attention. These individual differences were associated with nonverbal IQ performance. Children with more pronounced ERP attention effects, i.e., larger mean amplitude differences between the ERPs elicited by identical probes embedded in stories when attended versus unattended, had higher nonverbal IQ scores.
    July 31, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12334   open full text
  • Probing the nature of deficits in the ‘Approximate Number System’ in children with persistent Developmental Dyscalculia.
    Stephanie Bugden, Daniel Ansari.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2015
    In the present study we examined whether children with Developmental Dyscalculia (DD) exhibit a deficit in the so‐called ‘Approximate Number System’ (ANS). To do so, we examined a group of elementary school children who demonstrated persistent low math achievement over 4 years and compared them to typically developing (TD), aged‐matched controls. The integrity of the ANS was measured using the Panamath (www.panamath.org) non‐symbolic numerical discrimination test. Children with DD demonstrated imprecise ANS acuity indexed by larger Weber fraction (w) compared to TD controls. Given recent findings showing that non‐symbolic numerical discrimination is affected by visual parameters, we went further and investigated whether children performed differently on trials on which number of dots and their overall area were either congruent or incongruent with each other. This analysis revealed that differences in w were only found between DD and TD children on the incongruent trials. In addition, visuo‐spatial working memory strongly predicts individual differences in ANS acuity (w) during the incongruent trials. Thus the purported ANS deficit in DD can be explained by a difficulty in extracting number from an array of dots when area is anti‐correlated with number. These data highlight the role of visuo‐spatial working memory during the extraction process, and demonstrate that close attention needs to be paid to perceptual processes invoked by tasks thought to represent measures of the ANS. In this study, children with persistent dyscalculia (DD) exhibited (a) larger Weber fraction and (b) greater error rates when the size of the individual dot stimuli were incongruent with the more numerous dot array during a non‐symbolic numerical discrimination task compared to typically developing children. These findings reveal that indices commonly used to assess internal numerical representations are affected by visual perceptual variables and affects children with DD to a greater extent than their typically developing peers. Multiple explanations for the present set of findings are discussed herein.
    July 30, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12324   open full text
  • Relationships between event‐related potentials and behavioral and scholastic measures of reading ability: A large‐scale, cross‐sectional study.
    Negin Khalifian, Mallory C. Stites, Sarah Laszlo.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2015
    In the cognitive, computational, neuropsychological, and educational literatures, it is established that children approach text in unique ways, and that even adult readers can differ in the strategies they bring to reading. In the developmental event‐related potential (ERP) literature, however, children with differing degrees of reading ability are, the majority of the time, placed in monolithic groups such as ‘normal’ and ‘dyslexic’ (e.g. Araújo et al., 2012) and analyzed only at the group level. This is likely done due to methodological concerns – such as low sample size or a lack of statistical power – that can make it difficult to perform analysis at the individual level. Here, we collected ERPs and behavior from > 100 children in grades pre‐K–7, as they read unconnected text silently to themselves. This large sample, combined with the statistical power of the Linear Mixed Effects Regression (LMER) technique, enables us to address individual differences in ERP component effects due to reading ability at an unprecedented level of detail. Results indicate that it is possible to predict reading‐related report card scores from ERP component amplitudes – especially that of the N250, a component pertaining to sublexical processing (including phonological decoding). Results also reveal relationships between behavioral measures of reading ability and ERP component effects that have previously been elusive, such as the relationship between vocabulary and N400 mean amplitude (cf. Henderson et al., 2011). We conclude that it is possible to meaningfully examine reading‐related ERP effects at the single subject level in developing readers, and that this type of analysis can provide novel insights into both behavior and scholastic achievement. This report presents the results of a very large (N > 100) developmental ERP study that aimed to link ERP component amplitudes with behavioral and scholastic measures of reading achievement. Results indicate a primacy of phonological ERP components for predicting scholastic reading success.
    July 30, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12329   open full text
  • Integration of audio‐visual information for spatial decisions in children and adults.
    Marko Nardini, Jennifer Bales, Denis Mareschal.
    Developmental Science. July 17, 2015
    In adults, decisions based on multisensory information can be faster and/or more accurate than those relying on a single sense. However, this finding varies significantly across development. Here we studied speeded responding to audio‐visual targets, a key multisensory function whose development remains unclear. We found that when judging the locations of targets, children aged 4 to 12 years and adults had faster and less variable response times given auditory and visual information together compared with either alone. Comparison of response time distributions with model predictions indicated that children at all ages were integrating (pooling) sensory information to make decisions but that both the overall speed and the efficiency of sensory integration improved with age. The evidence for pooling comes from comparison with the predictions of Miller's seminal ‘race model’, as well as with a major recent extension of this model and a comparable ‘pooling’ (coactivation) model. The findings and analyses can reconcile results from previous audio‐visual studies, in which infants showed speed gains exceeding race model predictions in a spatial orienting task (Neil et al., 2006) but children below 7 years did not in speeded reaction time tasks (e.g. Barutchu et al., 2009). Our results provide new evidence for early and sustained abilities to integrate visual and auditory signals for spatial localization from a young age. Children aged 4–12 years and adults were faster at localising audio‐visual targets given both senses together compared with either alone. All groups' reaction times were best explained by integration (pooling) of sensory information. These results provide new evidence for early and sustained abilities to integrate visual and auditory signals for spatial localisation from a young age.
    July 17, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12327   open full text
  • On the edge of language acquisition: inherent constraints on encoding multisyllabic sequences in the neonate brain.
    Alissa L. Ferry, Ana Fló, Perrine Brusini, Luigi Cattarossi, Francesco Macagno, Marina Nespor, Jacques Mehler.
    Developmental Science. July 17, 2015
    To understand language, humans must encode information from rapid, sequential streams of syllables – tracking their order and organizing them into words, phrases, and sentences. We used Near‐Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to determine whether human neonates are born with the capacity to track the positions of syllables in multisyllabic sequences. After familiarization with a six‐syllable sequence, the neonate brain responded to the change (as shown by an increase in oxy‐hemoglobin) when the two edge syllables switched positions but not when two middle syllables switched positions (Experiment 1), indicating that they encoded the syllables at the edges of sequences better than those in the middle. Moreover, when a 25 ms pause was inserted between the middle syllables as a segmentation cue, neonates’ brains were sensitive to the change (Experiment 2), indicating that subtle cues in speech can signal a boundary, with enhanced encoding of the syllables located at the edges of that boundary. These findings suggest that neonates’ brains can encode information from multisyllabic sequences and that this encoding is constrained. Moreover, subtle segmentation cues in a sequence of syllables provide a mechanism with which to accurately encode positional information from longer sequences. Tracking the order of syllables is necessary to understand language and our results suggest that the foundations for this encoding are present at birth. We used near‐infrared spectroscopy to show that neonates detected a change in a six‐syllabic sequence if the edge syllables switched position, but not if two middle syllables switched position, suggesting that neonates better encode the edge syllables. However, if a 25ms pause was inserted between the two middle syllables as a prosodic boundary, neonates detected the switch. These findings suggest that there are inherent constraints on how newborns encode sequences of syllables and that these constraints can be modulated by prosodic cues in speech.
    July 17, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12323   open full text
  • Neuro‐oscillatory mechanisms of intersensory selective attention and task switching in school‐aged children, adolescents and young adults.
    Jeremy W. Murphy, John J. Foxe, Sophie Molholm.
    Developmental Science. July 17, 2015
    The ability to attend to one among multiple sources of information is central to everyday functioning. Just as central is the ability to switch attention among competing inputs as the task at hand changes. Such processes develop surprisingly slowly, such that even into adolescence, we remain slower and more error prone at switching among tasks compared to young adults. The amplitude of oscillations in the alpha band (~8–14 Hz) tracks the top‐down deployment of attention, and there is growing evidence that alpha can act as a suppressive mechanism to bias attention away from distracting sensory input. Moreover, the amplitude of alpha has also been shown to be sensitive to the demands of switching tasks. To understand the neural basis of protracted development of these executive functions, we recorded high‐density electrophysiology from school‐aged children (8–12 years), adolescents (13–17), and young adults (18–34) as they performed a cued inter‐sensory selective attention task. The youngest participants showed increased susceptibility to distracting inputs that was especially evident when switching tasks. Concordantly, they showed weaker and delayed onset of alpha modulation compared to the older groups. Thus the flexible and efficient deployment of alpha to bias competition among attentional sets remains underdeveloped in school‐aged children. The amplitude of alpha band oscillations (~10Hz) modulates as a function of selective attention. These modulatory effects are considered to reflect attentional regulation of sensory information processing. Here we tested the developmental trajectory of these processes in a cued cross‐sensory selective attention design in participants ranging in age from 8 to 34 years of age. Cross‐sensory attention related alpha modulation in the cue‐target interval was present even in the youngest participants, whereas age differences were reflected in greater behavioral costs as well as reduced switch‐specific alpha modulation in the youngest group on trials in which the participant was cued to switch between attended sensory modalities. These data suggest that the ability to fully bring these attentional processes online is still developing in childhood, with implications for more attentionally taxing situations.
    July 17, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12316   open full text
  • Risky visuomotor choices during rapid reaching in childhood.
    Tessa M. Dekker, Marko Nardini.
    Developmental Science. July 17, 2015
    Many everyday actions are implicit gambles because imprecisions in our visuomotor systems place probabilities on our success or failure. Choosing optimal action strategies involves weighting the costs and gains of potential outcomes by their corresponding probabilities, and requires stable representations of one's own imprecisions. How this ability is acquired during development in childhood when visuomotor skills change drastically is unknown. In a rewarded rapid reaching task, 6‐ to 11‐year‐old children followed ‘risk‐seeking’ strategies leading to overly high point‐loss. Adults' performance, in contrast, was close to optimal. Children's errors were not explained by distorted estimates of value or probability, but may reflect different action selection criteria or immature integration of value and probability information while planning movements. These findings provide a starting point for understanding children's risk‐taking in everyday visuomotor situations when suboptimal choices can be dangerous. Moreover, children's risky visuomotor decisions mirror those reported for non‐motor gambles, raising the possibility that common processes underlie development across decision‐making domains. We tracked the development of visuomotor decision‐making during childhood, using a task in which participants rapidly reached towards targets to win points whilst avoiding penalty regions that incurred loss. Adults aimed for locations on the screen (Touched Location) with the highest expected score (Max Gain Location), while children aged 6–11 years aimed too close to the penalty region (data below the dotted identity line), with detrimental effects on their scores. This reveals a clear, age‐related shift towards more optimal visuomotor decision‐making across childhood and adulthood, with overly risk‐seeking action selection between ages 6 and 11 years.
    July 17, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12322   open full text
  • Longitudinal relations among exuberance, externalizing behaviors, and attentional bias to reward: the mediating role of effortful control.
    Santiago Morales, Koraly Pérez‐Edgar, Kristin Buss.
    Developmental Science. June 15, 2015
    The present study examined the associations between temperamental exuberance during toddlerhood (20 months), attention bias towards reward at the end of kindergarten (76 months), and externalizing behaviors across the kindergarten year. Moreover, we examined the role of effortful control at 48 months on the relation between early exuberance and attention bias. Attention bias towards reward was positively predicted by exuberance, negatively predicted by effortful control, and positively related to externalizing problems. Finally, the longitudinal path between exuberance and attention bias to reward was mediated by effortful control – such that higher toddler exuberance led to increased attention bias towards reward by way of lower effortful control. These results extend the attention bias and socioemotional functioning literature and have implications for the identification of children at risk for behavioral problems. Attention bias towards reward was positively predicted by exuberance, negatively predicted by effortful control, and positively related to externalizing problems. The longitudinal path between exuberance and attention bias to reward was mediated by effortful control.
    June 15, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12320   open full text
  • Electrophysiological correlates of observational learning in children.
    Julia M. Rodriguez Buritica, Ben Eppinger, Nicolas W. Schuck, Hauke R. Heekeren, Shu‐Chen Li.
    Developmental Science. June 12, 2015
    Observational learning is an important mechanism for cognitive and social development. However, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying observational learning in children are not well understood. In this study, we used a probabilistic reward‐based observational learning paradigm to compare behavioral and electrophysiological markers of individual and observational reinforcement learning in 8‐ to 10‐year‐old children. Specifically, we manipulated the amount of observable information as well as children's similarity in age to the observed person (same‐aged child vs. adult) to examine the effects of similarity in age on the integration of observed information in children. We show that the feedback‐related negativity (FRN) during individual reinforcement learning reflects the valence of outcomes of own actions. Furthermore, we found that the feedback‐related negativity during observational reinforcement learning (oFRN) showed a similar distinction between outcome valences of observed actions. This suggests that the oFRN can serve as a measure of observational learning in middle childhood. Moreover, during observational learning children profited from the additional social information and imitated the choices of their own peers more than those of adults, indicating that children have a tendency to conform more with similar others (e.g. their own peers) compared to dissimilar others (adults). Taken together, our results show that children can benefit from integrating observable information and that oFRN may serve as a measure of observational learning in children. We showed that the oFRN differentiated between negative and positive observed action‐outcomes of others and may serve as a measure of observational learning in school‐aged children. Moreover, we found that the oFRN showed a trend of being larger when observing other children compared to observing adults.
    June 12, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12317   open full text
  • Small on the left, large on the right: numbers orient visual attention onto space in preverbal infants.
    Hermann Bulf, Maria Dolores Hevia, Viola Macchi Cassia.
    Developmental Science. June 12, 2015
    Numbers are represented as ordered magnitudes along a spatially oriented number line. While culture and formal education modulate the direction of this number–space mapping, it is a matter of debate whether its emergence is entirely driven by cultural experience. By registering 8–9‐month‐old infants’ eye movements, this study shows that numerical cues are critical in orienting infants’ visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left‐to‐right oriented representational continuum. This finding provides the first direct evidence that, in humans, the association between numbers and oriented spatial codes occurs before the acquisition of symbols or exposure to formal education, suggesting that the number line is not merely a product of human invention. This work addresses the origins of the link between numbers and oriented spatial codes, as hypothesized under the‘mental number line’ model of numerical representation. Using a Posner‐like task, we found that numerical (arrays of dots), but not non‐numerical (size), cues orient 8‐9 month‐old infants' visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left‐to‐right oriented representational continuum. This evidence shows that a tendency to associate numbers onto spatial positions along a left‐to‐right oriented axis emerges before humans learn to read, write or count on their hands, and before acquisition of symbolic knowledge, supporting to the view that the number line is not merely a product of human invention.
    June 12, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12315   open full text
  • Child‐directed teaching and social learning at 18 months of age: evidence from Yucatec Mayan and US infants.
    Laura Shneidman, Suzanne Gaskins, Amanda Woodward.
    Developmental Science. June 12, 2015
    In several previous studies, 18‐month‐old infants who were directly addressed demonstrated more robust imitative behaviors than infants who simply observed another's actions, leading theorists to suggest that child‐directed interactions carried unique informational value. However, these data came exclusively from cultural communities where direct teaching is commonplace, raising the possibility that the findings reflect regularities in infants' social experiences rather than responses to innate or a priori learning mechanisms. The current studies consider infants' imitative learning from child‐directed teaching and observed interaction in two cultural communities, a Yucatec Mayan village where infants have been described as experiencing relatively limited direct instruction (Study 1) and a US city where infants are regularly directly engaged (Study 2). Eighteen‐month‐old infants from each community participated in a within‐subjects study design where they were directly taught to use novel objects on one day and observed actors using different objects on another day. Mayan infants showed relative increases in imitative behaviors on their second visit to the lab as compared to their first visit, but there was no effect of condition. US infants showed no difference in imitative behavior in the child‐directed vs. observed conditions; however, infants who were directly addressed on their first visit showed significantly higher overall imitation rates than infants who observed on their first visit. Together, these findings call into question the idea that child‐directed teaching holds automatic or universal informational value. We considered 18 month old infants' imitative learning from child‐directed and observed interaction in two cultural communities: a Yucatec Mayan village where infants have been described as experiencing relatively limited direct instruction (Study 1) and a US city where infants are regularly directly engaged (Study 2). Infants participated in a within‐subjects study design where they were directly taught to use novel objects on one day and observed actors using different objects on another day. Mayan infants' imitation did not relate to condition, whereas US infants who were directly addressed on their first visit showed significantly higher overall imitation rates than infants who observed on their first visit.
    June 12, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12318   open full text
  • Identifying learning patterns of children at risk for Specific Reading Disability.
    Baptiste Barbot, Suzanna Krivulskaya, Sascha Hein, Jodi Reich, Philip E. Thuma, Elena L. Grigorenko.
    Developmental Science. June 02, 2015
    Differences in learning patterns of vocabulary acquisition in children at risk (+SRD) and not at risk (−SRD) for Specific Reading Disability (SRD) were examined using a microdevelopmental paradigm applied to the multi‐trial Foreign Language Learning Task (FLLT; Baddeley et al., 1995). The FLLT was administered to 905 children from rural Chitonga‐speaking Zambia. A multi‐group Latent Growth Curve Model (LGCM) was implemented to study interindividual differences in intraindividual change across trials. Results showed that the +SRD group recalled fewer words correctly in the first trial, learned at a slower rate during the subsequent trials, and demonstrated a more linear learning pattern compared to the −SRD group. This study illustrates the promise of LGCM applied to multi‐trial learning tasks, by isolating three components of the learning process (initial recall, rate of learning, and functional pattern of learning). Implications of this microdevelopmental approach to SRD research in low‐to‐middle income countries are discussed. This study explores the relationship between foreign language vocabulary acquisition and Specific Reading Disability (SRD) and suggests ways in which foreign language assessments can be a useful tool for understanding how children at risk for SRD and not at risk for SRD learn vocabulary differently.
    June 02, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12313   open full text
  • Rethinking the concepts of ‘local or global processors’: evidence from Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Dean D'Souza, Rhonda Booth, Monica Connolly, Francesca Happé, Annette Karmiloff‐Smith.
    Developmental Science. May 25, 2015
    Both Williams syndrome (WS) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been characterized as preferentially processing local information, whereas in Down syndrome (DS) the reported tendency is to process stimuli globally. We designed a cross‐syndrome, cross‐task comparison to reveal similarities and differences in local/global processing in these disorders. Our in‐depth study compared local/global processing across modalities (auditory‐verbal/visuo‐spatial) and levels of processing (high/low) in the three syndromes. Despite claims in the literature, participants with ASD or WS failed to show a consistent local processing bias, while those with DS failed to show a reliable global processing bias. Depending on the nature of the stimuli and the task, both local and global processing biases were evident in all three neurodevelopmental disorders. These findings indicate that individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders cannot simply be characterized as local or global processors. This cross‐syndrome, cross‐task, cross‐modality comparison demonstrates that, in contrast to the traditional view, individuals with a neurodevelopmental disorder cannot be characterised as having a specific local or global processing style. Here we show that—contrary to claims in the literature—participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Williams syndrome failed to show a consistent local processing bias, while those with Down syndrome failed to show a reliable global processing bias.
    May 25, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12312   open full text
  • What would Batman do? Self‐distancing improves executive function in young children.
    Rachel E. White, Stephanie M. Carlson.
    Developmental Science. May 21, 2015
    This experimental research assessed the influence of graded levels of self‐distancing – psychological distancing from one's egocentric perspective – on executive function (EF) in young children. Three‐ (n = 48) and 5‐year‐old (n = 48) children were randomly assigned to one of four manipulations of distance from the self (from proximal to distal: self‐immersed, control, third person, and exemplar) on a comprehensive measure of EF. Performance increased as a function of self‐distancing across age groups. Follow‐up analyses indicated that 5‐year‐olds were driving this effect. They showed significant improvements in EF with increased distance from the self, outperforming controls both when taking a third person perspective on the self and when taking the perspective of an exemplar other (e.g., Batman) through role play. Three‐year‐olds, however, did not show increased EF performance as a function of greater distance from the self. Preliminary results suggest that developments in theory of mind might contribute to these age‐related differences in efficacy. These findings speak to the importance of psychological distancing in the expression of conscious control over thought and action from a young age and suggest a promising new avenue for early EF intervention. Self‐distancing (by taking a third person perspective on the self or taking the perspective of an exemplar other) improved executive function in 5‐year‐olds, but not 3‐year‐olds. Preliminary evidence suggests that these age‐related differences could be attributable, at least in part, to improvements in theory of mind.
    May 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12314   open full text
  • Impaired face detection may explain some but not all cases of developmental prosopagnosia.
    Kirsten A. Dalrymple, Brad Duchaine.
    Developmental Science. May 10, 2015
    Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is defined by severe face recognition difficulties due to the failure to develop the visual mechanisms for processing faces. The two‐process theory of face recognition (Morton & Johnson, 1991) implies that DP could result from a failure of an innate face detection system; this failure could prevent an individual from then tuning higher‐level processes for face recognition (Johnson, 2005). Work with adults indicates that some individuals with DP have normal face detection whereas others are impaired. However, face detection has not been addressed in children with DP, even though their results may be especially informative because they have had less opportunity to develop strategies that could mask detection deficits. We tested the face detection abilities of seven children with DP. Four were impaired at face detection to some degree (i.e. abnormally slow, or failed to find faces) while the remaining three children had normal face detection. Hence, the cases with impaired detection are consistent with the two‐process account suggesting that DP could result from a failure of face detection. However, the cases with normal detection implicate a higher‐level origin. The dissociation between normal face detection and impaired identity perception also indicates that these abilities depend on different neurocognitive processes. We tested the face detection abilities of seven children with developmental prosopagnosia (DP) using two tests of face detection (“faces among non‐faces” and “faces among face parts” search tasks). Four of the children with DP were impaired at face detection to some degree, while the remaining three children had normal face detection. We conclude that impaired face detection may explain some, but not all, cases of developmental prosopagnosia.
    May 10, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12311   open full text
  • Investigating cognitive transfer within the framework of music practice: genetic pleiotropy rather than causality.
    Miriam A. Mosing, Guy Madison, Nancy L. Pedersen, Fredrik Ullén.
    Developmental Science. May 01, 2015
    The idea of far transfer effects in the cognitive sciences has received much attention in recent years. One domain where far transfer effects have frequently been reported is music education, with the prevailing idea that music practice entails an increase in cognitive ability (IQ). While cross‐sectional studies consistently find significant associations between music practice and IQ, randomized controlled trials, however, report mixed results. An alternative to the hypothesis of cognitive transfer effects is that some underlying factors, such as shared genes, influence practice behaviour and IQ causing associations on the phenotypic level. Here we explored the hypothesis of far transfer within the framework of music practice. A co‐twin control design combined with classical twin‐modelling based on a sample of more than 10,500 twins was used to explore causal associations between music practice and IQ as well as underlying genetic and environmental influences. As expected, phenotypic associations were moderate (r = 0.11 and r = 0.10 for males and females, respectively). However, the relationship disappeared when controlling for genetic and shared environmental influences using the co‐twin control method, indicating that a highly practiced twin did not have higher IQ than the untrained co‐twin. In line with that finding, the relationship between practice and IQ was mostly due to shared genetic influences. Findings strongly suggest that associations between music practice and IQ in the general population are non‐causal in nature. The implications of the present findings for research on plasticity, modularity, and transfer are discussed. We examined cognitive transfer within the framework of music practice using a genetically informative sample. We showed that when controlling for genetic influences the association between practice and IQ disappeared, suggesting no causal association between music practice and IQ. Our findings suggest that associations between training and cognitive abilities do not necessarily reflect far transfer, but rather suggest preexisting differences influence both training and cognitive ability.
    May 01, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12306   open full text
  • Narrowing in categorical responding to other‐race face classes by infants.
    Paul C. Quinn, Kang Lee, Olivier Pascalis, James W. Tanaka.
    Developmental Science. April 20, 2015
    Infants can form object categories based on perceptual cues, but their ability to form categories based on differential experience is less clear. Here we examined whether infants filter through perceptual differences among faces from different other‐race classes and represent them as a single other‐race class different only from own‐race faces. We used a familiarization/novelty‐preference procedure to investigate category formation for two other‐race face classes (Black vs. Asian) by White 6‐ and 9‐month‐olds. The data indicated that while White 6‐month‐olds categorically represented the distinction between Black and Asian faces, White 9‐month‐olds formed a broad other‐race category inclusive of Black and Asian faces, but exclusive of own‐race White faces. The findings provide evidence that narrowing can occur for mental processes other than discrimination: category formation is also affected. The results suggest that frequency of experience with own‐race versus other‐race classes of faces may propel infants to contrast own‐race faces with other‐race faces, but not different classes of other‐race faces with each other. White 6‐month‐olds categorically represent the distinction between Black and Asian faces, whereas White 9‐month‐olds form a broad other‐race category inclusive of Black and Asian faces, but exclusive of own‐race White faces. The findings provide evidence that experience‐based narrowing can occur for mental processes other than discrimination: category formation is also affected. Nine‐month‐old representation of face race may be a precursor of an initial race‐based ingroup‐outgroup partitioning of faces.
    April 20, 2015   doi: 10.1111/desc.12301   open full text
  • Neurocognitive mechanisms of learning to read: print tuning in beginning readers related to word‐reading fluency and semantics but not phonology.
    Aleksandra K. Eberhard‐Moscicka, Lea B. Jost, Margit Raith, Urs Maurer.
    Developmental Science. May 26, 2014
    Abstract During reading acquisition children learn to recognize orthographic stimuli and link them to phonology and semantics. The present study investigated neurocognitive processes of learning to read after one year of schooling. We aimed to elucidate the cognitive processes underlying neural tuning for print that has been shown to play an important role for reading and dyslexia. A 128‐channel EEG was recorded while 68 (Swiss‐)German monolingual first grade children (mean age: 7.6) performed a one‐back task with different types of letter and false‐font strings. Print tuning was indexed by the N1 difference in the ERPs between German words and false‐font strings, while the N1 lexicality effect was indexed by the difference between German words and pseudowords. In addition, we measured reading fluency, rapid automatized naming, phonological awareness, auditory memory span, and vocabulary. After one year of formal reading instruction N1 print tuning was clearly present at the group level, and could be detected at the individual level in almost 90% of the children. The N1 lexicality effect, however, could not be reliably found. On the cognitive level, next to word‐reading fluency, vocabulary was also associated with N1 print tuning, but not measures reflecting phonological processing. These results demonstrate the presence of print tuning in the first year of reading acquisition and its development at the individual level. Moreover, individual differences in print tuning are not only related to word‐reading fluency, but also to semantic knowledge, indicating that at early stages of learning to read the top‐down modulation of print tuning is semantic rather than phonological in nature. This study demonstrates the presence of print tuning in the first year of reading acquisition and its development at the individual level. Moreover, individual differences in print tuning are not only related to word‐reading fluency, but also to semantic knowledge.
    May 26, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12189   open full text
  • Effects of posture on tactile localization by 4 years of age are modulated by sight of the hands: evidence for an early acquired external spatial frame of reference for touch.
    Jannath Begum Ali, Dorothy Cowie, Andrew J. Bremner.
    Developmental Science. May 25, 2014
    Adults show a deficit in their ability to localize tactile stimuli to their hands when their arms are in the less familiar, crossed posture. It is thought that this ‘crossed‐hands deficit’ arises due to a conflict between the anatomical and external spatial frames of reference within which touches can be encoded. The ability to localize a single tactile stimulus applied to one of the two hands across uncrossed‐hands and crossed‐hands postures was investigated in typically developing children (aged 4 to 6 years). The effect of posture was also compared across conditions in which children did, or did not, have visual information about current hand posture. All children, including the 4‐year‐olds, demonstrated the crossed‐hands deficit when they did not have sight of hand posture, suggesting that touch is located in an external reference frame by this age. In this youngest age group, when visual information about current hand posture was available, tactile localization performance was impaired specifically when the children's hands were uncrossed. We propose that this may be due to an early difficulty with integrating visual representations of the hand within the body schema. Adults show a deficit in their ability to localize tactile stimuli to their hands when their arms are in the less familiar, crossed posture. It is thought that this “crossed‐hands deficit” arises due to a conflict between the anatomical and external spatial frames of reference within which touches can be encoded. The ability to localize a single tactile stimulus applied to one of the two hands across uncrossed‐hands and crossed‐hands postures was investigated in typically developing children (aged 4 to 6 years). The effect of posture was also compared across conditions in which children did, or did not have, visual information about current hand posture. All children, including the 4‐year‐olds, demonstrated the crossed hands deficit when they did not have sight of hand posture, suggesting that touch is located in an external reference frame by this age. In this youngest age‐group, when visual information about current hand posture was available, tactile localization performance was impaired specifically when the children's hands were uncrossed. We propose that this may be due to an early difficulty with integrating visual representations of the hand within the body schema.
    May 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12184   open full text
  • Electrophysiological evidence of heterogeneity in visual statistical learning in young children with ASD.
    Shafali S. Jeste, Natasha Kirkham, Damla Senturk, Kyle Hasenstab, Catherine Sugar, Chloe Kupelian, Elizabeth Baker, Andrew J. Sanders, Christina Shimizu, Amanda Norona, Tanya Paparella, Stephanny F.N. Freeman, Scott P. Johnson.
    Developmental Science. May 13, 2014
    Statistical learning is characterized by detection of regularities in one's environment without an awareness or intention to learn, and it may play a critical role in language and social behavior. Accordingly, in this study we investigated the electrophysiological correlates of visual statistical learning in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using an event‐related potential shape learning paradigm, and we examined the relation between visual statistical learning and cognitive function. Compared to typically developing (TD) controls, the ASD group as a whole showed reduced evidence of learning as defined by N1 (early visual discrimination) and P300 (attention to novelty) components. Upon further analysis, in the ASD group there was a positive correlation between N1 amplitude difference and non‐verbal IQ, and a positive correlation between P300 amplitude difference and adaptive social function. Children with ASD and a high non‐verbal IQ and high adaptive social function demonstrated a distinctive pattern of learning. This is the first study to identify electrophysiological markers of visual statistical learning in children with ASD. Through this work we have demonstrated heterogeneity in statistical learning in ASD that maps onto non‐verbal cognition and adaptive social function. We investigated the electrophysiological correlates of visual statistical learning in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using an event‐related potential shape learning paradigm, and we examined the relation between visual statistical learning and cognitive function. Compared to typically developing (TD) controls, the ASD group as a whole showed reduced evidence of learning as defined by N1 (early visual discrimination) and P300 (attention to novelty) components. Upon further analysis, in the ASD group there was a positive correlation between N1 amplitude difference and non‐verbal IQ, and a positive correlation between P300 amplitude difference and adaptive social function. Children with ASD and a high non‐verbal IQ and high adaptive social function, therefore, demonstrated a distinctive pattern of learning. This is the first study to identify electrophysiological markers of visual statistical learning in children with ASD, and the first to demonstrate heterogeneity in statistical learning in ASD that maps onto non‐verbal cognition and adaptive social function.
    May 13, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12188   open full text
  • Can't stop believing: inhibitory control and resistance to misleading testimony.
    Vikram K. Jaswal, Koraly Pérez‐Edgar, Robyn L. Kondrad, Carolyn M. Palmquist, Caitlin A. Cole, Claire E. Cole.
    Developmental Science. May 08, 2014
    Why are some young children consistently willing to believe what they are told even when it conflicts with first‐hand experience? In this study, we investigated the possibility that this deference reflects an inability to inhibit a prepotent response. Over the course of several trials, 2.5‐ to 3.5‐year‐olds (N = 58) heard an adult contradict their report of a simple event they had both witnessed, and children were asked to resolve this discrepancy. Those who repeatedly deferred to the adult's misleading testimony had more difficulty on an inhibitory control task involving spatial conflict than those who responded more skeptically. These results suggest that responding skeptically to testimony that conflicts with first‐hand experience may be challenging for some young children because it requires inhibiting a normally appropriate bias to believe testimony. Some young children consistently believe what they are told even when it conflicts with something they have seen. We show that these ‘deferential’ children have more difficulty inhibiting a dominant response than ‘skeptical’ children who favor perceptual evidence. We suggest that not believing testimony can be challenging because it requires inhibiting a normally adaptive bias to believe information other people provide.
    May 08, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12187   open full text
  • Children's cognitive representation of the mathematical number line.
    Jeffrey N. Rouder, David C. Geary.
    Developmental Science. May 04, 2014
    Learning of the mathematical number line has been hypothesized to be dependent on an inherent sense of approximate quantity. Children's number line placements are predicted to conform to the underlying properties of this system; specifically, placements are exaggerated for small numerals and compressed for larger ones. Alternative hypotheses are based on proportional reasoning; specifically, numerals are placed relative to set anchors such as end points on the line. Traditional testing of these alternatives involves fitting group medians to corresponding regression models which assumes homogenous residuals and thus does not capture useful information from between‐ and within‐child variation in placements across the number line. To more fully assess differential predictions, we developed a novel set of hierarchical statistical models that enable the simultaneous estimation of mean levels of and variation in performance, as well as developmental transitions. Using these techniques we fitted the number line placements of 224 children longitudinally assessed from first to fifth grade, inclusive. The compression pattern was evident in mean performance in first grade, but was the best fit for only 20% of first graders when the full range of variation in the data are modeled. Most first graders' placements suggested use of end points, consistent with proportional reasoning. Developmental transition involved incorporation of a mid‐point anchor, consistent with a modified proportional reasoning strategy. The methodology introduced here enables a more nuanced assessment of children's number line representation and learning than any previous approaches and indicates that developmental improvement largely results from midpoint segmentation of the line. Learning of the mathematical number line has been hypothesized to be dependent on an inherent sense of approximate quantity. Children's number line placements are predicted to conform to the underlying properties of this system; specifically, placements are exaggerated for small numerals and compressed for larger ones. Alternative hypotheses are based on proportional reasoning; specifically, numerals are placed relative to set anchors such as end points on the line. Applying novel statistical models that capture mean performance and variance to the number line placements of 224 children from first to fifth grade, inclusive, provided strong evidence for proportional reasoning; specifically, the two cycle and scallop models.
    May 04, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12166   open full text
  • Children's learning of number words in an indigenous farming‐foraging group.
    Steven T. Piantadosi, Julian Jara‐Ettinger, Edward Gibson.
    Developmental Science. April 27, 2014
    We show that children in the Tsimane', a farming‐foraging group in the Bolivian rain‐forest, learn number words along a similar developmental trajectory to children from industrialized countries. Tsimane' children successively acquire the first three or four number words before fully learning how counting works. However, their learning is substantially delayed relative to children from the United States, Russia, and Japan. The presence of a similar developmental trajectory likely indicates that the incremental stages of numerical knowledge – but not their timing — reflect a fundamental property of number concept acquisition which is relatively independent of language, culture, age, and early education. We show that children in the Tsimane', a farming‐foraging group in the Bolivian rain‐forest, learn number words along a similar developmental trajectory to children from industrialized countries. Tsimane' children successively acquire the first three or four number words before fully learning how counting works. However, their learning is substantially delayed relative to children from the United States, Russia, and Japan.
    April 27, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12078   open full text
  • Cognitive control moderates early childhood temperament in predicting social behavior in 7‐year‐old children: an ERP study.
    Connie Lamm, Olga L. Walker, Kathryn A. Degnan, Heather A. Henderson, Daniel S. Pine, Jennifer Martin McDermott, Nathan A. Fox.
    Developmental Science. April 22, 2014
    Behavioral inhibition (BI) is a temperament associated with heightened vigilance and fear of novelty in early childhood, and social reticence and increased risk for anxiety problems later in development. However, not all behaviorally inhibited children develop signs of anxiety. One mechanism that might contribute to the variability in developmental trajectories is the recruitment of cognitive‐control resources. The current study measured N2 activation, an ERP (event‐related potential) associated with cognitive control, and modeled source‐space activation (LORETA; Low Resolution Brain Electromagnetic Tomography) at 7 years of age while children performed a go/no‐go task. Activation was estimated for the entire cortex and then exported for four regions of interest: ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dorsal ACC), and dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). BI was measured in early childhood (ages 2 and 3 years). Anxiety problems and social reticence were measured at 7 years of age to ascertain stability of temperamental style. Results revealed that BI was associated with increased performance accuracy, longer reaction times, greater (more negative) N2 activation, and higher estimated dorsal ACC and DLPFC activation. Furthermore, early BI was only associated with social reticence at age 7 at higher (more negative) levels of N2 activation or higher estimated dorsal ACC or DLPFC activation. Results are discussed in the context of overcontrolled behavior contributing to social reticence and signs of anxiety in middle childhood. Behavioral inhibition (BI) is a temperament associated with heightened vigilance and fear of novelty in early childhood, and social reticence and increased risk for anxiety problems later in development. However, not all behaviorally inhibited children develop signs of anxiety. One mechanism that might contribute to the variability in developmental trajectories is the recruitment of cognitive‐control resources.
    April 22, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12158   open full text
  • Learning to imitate individual finger movements by the human neonate.
    Emese Nagy, Attila Pal, Hajnalka Orvos.
    Developmental Science. April 22, 2014
    Imitation in human neonates, unlike imitation in young infants, is still regarded as controversial. Four studies with 203 newborns are presented to examine the imitation of index finger, two‐ and three‐finger movements in human neonates. Results found differential imitations of all three modelled gestures, a left‐handed pattern, and a rapid learning mechanism. The lateralized behavioural pattern suggests the involvement of a right lateralized neural network, and the mechanisms described in this study – (i) the accurate imitation of all aspects of the model's movements, (ii) the rapid learning component, and the (iii) the early sensitive period might fulfil the criteria for filial imprinting. Imitation in human neonates, unlike imitation in young infants, is still regarded as controversial. Four studies with 203 newborns are presented to examine the imitation of index finger, two‐ and three‐finger movements in human neonates. Results found differential imitations of all three modelled gestures, a left‐handed pattern, and a rapid learning mechanism.
    April 22, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12163   open full text
  • Why the body comes first: effects of experimenter touch on infants' word finding.
    Amanda Seidl, Ruth Tincoff, Christopher Baker, Alejandrina Cristia.
    Developmental Science. April 16, 2014
    The lexicon of 6‐month‐olds is comprised of names and body part words. Unlike names, body part words do not often occur in isolation in the input. This presents a puzzle: How have infants been able to pull out these words from the continuous stream of speech at such a young age? We hypothesize that caregivers' interactions directed at and on the infant's body may be at the root of their early acquisition of body part words. An artificial language segmentation study shows that experimenter‐provided synchronous tactile cues help 4‐month‐olds to find words in continuous speech. A follow‐up study suggests that this facilitation cannot be reduced to the highly social situation in which the directed interaction occurs. Taken together, these studies suggest that direct caregiver–infant interaction, exemplified in this study by touch cues, may play a key role in infants' ability to find word boundaries, and suggests that early vocabulary items may consist of words often linked with caregiver touches. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://youtu.be/NfCj5ipatyE The lexicon of 6‐month‐olds is comprised of names and body part words. Unlike names, body part words do not often occur in isolation in the input. This presents a puzzle: How have infants been able to pull out these words from the continuous stream of speech at such a young age? We hypothesize that caregivers' interactions directed at and on the infant's body may be at the root of their early acquisition of body part words.
    April 16, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12182   open full text
  • Words, shape, visual search and visual working memory in 3‐year‐old children.
    Catarina Vales, Linda B. Smith.
    Developmental Science. April 11, 2014
    Do words cue children's visual attention, and if so, what are the relevant mechanisms? Across four experiments, 3‐year‐old children (N = 163) were tested in visual search tasks in which targets were cued with only a visual preview versus a visual preview and a spoken name. The experiments were designed to determine whether labels facilitated search times and to examine one route through which labels could have their effect: By influencing the visual working memory representation of the target. The targets and distractors were pictures of instances of basic‐level known categories and the labels were the common name for the target category. We predicted that the label would enhance the visual working memory representation of the target object, guiding attention to objects that better matched the target representation. Experiments 1 and 2 used conjunctive search tasks, and Experiment 3 varied shape discriminability between targets and distractors. Experiment 4 compared the effects of labels to repeated presentations of the visual target, which should also influence the working memory representation of the target. The overall pattern fits contemporary theories of how the contents of visual working memory interact with visual search and attention, and shows that even in very young children heard words affect the processing of visual information. Do words cue children's visual attention, and if so, what are the relevant mechanisms? Across four experiments, 3‐year‐old children were tested in visual search tasks in which targets were cued with only a visual preview versus a visual preview and a spoken name. The experiments were designed to determine whether labels facilitated search times and to examine one route through which labels could have their effect: By influencing the visual working memory representation of the target. The results show that labels modulate the encoding of the target in working memory, which in turn influences the processing of visual information.
    April 11, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12179   open full text
  • Surprise! Infants consider possible bases of generalization for a single input example.
    LouAnn Gerken, Colin Dawson, Razanne Chatila, Josh Tenenbaum.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2014
    Infants have been shown to generalize from a small number of input examples. However, existing studies allow two possible means of generalization. One is via a process of noting similarities shared by several examples. Alternatively, generalization may reflect an implicit desire to explain the input. The latter view suggests that generalization might occur when even a single input example is surprising, given the learner's current model of the domain. To test the possibility that infants are able to generalize based on a single example, we familiarized 9‐month‐olds with a single three‐syllable input example that contained either one surprising feature (syllable repetition, Experiment 1) or two features (repetition and a rare syllable, Experiment 2). In both experiments, infants generalized only to new strings that maintained all of the surprising features from familiarization. This research suggests that surprise can promote very rapid generalization. Infants have been shown to generalize from a small number of input examples. However, existing studies allow two possible means of generalization. One is via a process of noting similarities shared by several examples. Alternatively, generalization may reflect an implicit desire to explain the input. The latter view suggests that generalization might occur when even a single input example is surprising, given the learner's current model of the domain.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12183   open full text
  • Visual motherese? Signal‐to‐noise ratios in toddler‐directed television.
    Sam V. Wass, Tim J. Smith.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2014
    Younger brains are noisier information processing systems; this means that information for younger individuals has to allow clearer differentiation between those aspects that are required for the processing task in hand (the ‘signal’) and those that are not (the ‘noise’). We compared toddler‐directed and adult‐directed TV programmes (TotTV/ATV). We examined how low‐level visual features (that previous research has suggested influence gaze allocation) relate to semantic information, namely the location of the character speaking in each frame. We show that this relationship differs between TotTV and ATV. First, we conducted Receiver Operator Characteristics analyses and found that feature congestion predicted speaking character location in TotTV but not ATV. Second, we used multiple analytical strategies to show that luminance differentials (flicker) predict face location more strongly in TotTV than ATV. Our results suggest that TotTV designers have intuited techniques for controlling toddler attention using low‐level visual cues. The implications of these findings for structuring childhood learning experiences away from a screen are discussed. Younger brains are noisier information processing systems; this means that information for younger individuals has to allow clearer differentiation between those aspects that are required for the processing task in hand (the ‘signal’) and those that are not (the ‘noise’). We compared toddler‐directed and adult‐directed TV programmes (TotTV/ATV). We examined how low‐level visual features (that previous research has suggested influence gaze allocation) relate to semantic information, namely the location of the character speaking in each frame.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12156   open full text
  • Look who's talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development.
    Nairán Ramírez‐Esparza, Adrián García‐Sierra, Patricia K. Kuhl.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2014
    Language input is necessary for language learning, yet little is known about whether, in natural environments, the speech style and social context of language input to children impacts language development. In the present study we investigated the relationship between language input and language development, examining both the style of parental speech, comparing ‘parentese’ speech to standard speech, and the social context in which speech is directed to children, comparing one‐on‐one (1:1) to group social interactions. Importantly, the language input variables were assessed at home using digital first‐person perspective recordings of the infants' auditory environment as they went about their daily lives (N =26, 11‐ and 14‐months‐old). We measured language development using (a) concurrent speech utterances, and (b) word production at 24 months. Parentese speech in 1:1 contexts is positively correlated with both concurrent speech and later word production. Mediation analyses further show that the effect of parentese speech‐1:1 on infants' later language is mediated by concurrent speech. Our results suggest that both the social context and the style of speech in language addressed to children are strongly linked to a child's future language development. Language input is necessary for language learning, yet little is known about whether, in natural environments, the speech style and social context of language input to children impacts language development. In the present study we investigated the relationship between language input and language development, examining both the style of parental speech, comparing ‘parentese’ speech to standard speech, and the social context in which speech is directed to children, comparing one‐on‐one (1:1) to group social interactions. Importantly, the language input variables were assessed at home using digital first‐person perspective recordings of the infants' auditory environment as they went about their daily lives (N = 26, 11‐ and 14‐months‐old).
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12172   open full text
  • Egocentric and allocentric navigation strategies in Williams syndrome and typical development.
    Hannah J. Broadbent, Emily K. Farran, Andy Tolmie.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2014
    Recent findings suggest that difficulties on small‐scale visuospatial tasks documented in Williams syndrome (WS) also extend to large‐scale space. In particular, individuals with WS often present with difficulties in allocentric spatial coding (encoding relationships between items within an environment or array). This study examined the effect of atypical spatial processing in WS on large‐scale navigational strategies, using a novel 3D virtual environment. During navigation of recently learnt large‐scale space, typically developing (TD) children predominantly rely on the use of a sequential egocentric strategy (recalling the sequence of left–right body turns throughout a route), but become more able to use an allocentric strategy between 5 and 10 years of age. The navigation strategies spontaneously employed by TD children between 5 and 10 years of age and individuals with WS were analysed. The ability to use an allocentric strategy on trials where spatial relational knowledge was required to find the shortest route was also examined. Results showed that, unlike TD children, during spontaneous navigation the WS group did not predominantly employ a sequential egocentric strategy. Instead, individuals with WS followed the path until the correct environmental landmarks were found, suggesting the use of a time‐consuming and inefficient view‐matching strategy for wayfinding. Individuals with WS also presented with deficits in allocentric spatial coding, demonstrated by difficulties in determining short‐cuts when required and difficulties developing a mental representation of the environment layout. This was found even following extensive experience in an environment, suggesting that – unlike in typical development – experience cannot contribute to the development of spatial relational processing in WS. This atypical presentation of both egocentric and allocentric spatial encoding is discussed in relation to specific difficulties on small‐scale spatial tasks and known atypical cortical development in WS. Recent findings suggest that difficulties on small‐scale visuospatial tasks documented in Williams syndrome (WS) also extend to large‐scale space. In particular, individuals with WS often present with difficulties in allocentric spatial coding (encoding relationships between items within an environment or array). This study examined the effect of atypical spatial processing in WS on large‐scale navigational strategies, using a novel 3D virtual environment.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12176   open full text
  • Social class differences produce social group preferences.
    Suzanne R. Horwitz, Kristin Shutts, Kristina R. Olson.
    Developmental Science. April 07, 2014
    Some social groups are higher in socioeconomic status than others and the former tend to be favored over the latter. The present research investigated whether observing group differences in wealth alone can directly cause children to prefer wealthier groups. In Experiment 1, 4–5‐year‐old children developed a preference for a wealthy novel group over a less wealthy group. In Experiment 2, children did not develop preferences when groups differed by another kind of positive/negative attribute (i.e. living in brightly colored houses vs. drab houses), suggesting that wealth is a particularly meaningful group distinction. Lastly, in Experiment 3, the effect of favoring novel wealthy groups was moderated by group membership: Children assigned to a wealthy group showed ingroup favoritism, but those assigned to a less wealthy group did not. These experiments shed light on why children tend to be biased in favor of social groups that are higher in socioeconomic status. Some social groups are higher in socioeconomic status than others and the former tend to be favored over the latter. The present research investigated whether observing group differences in wealth alone can directly cause children to prefer wealthier groups. In Experiment 1, 4–5‐year‐old children developed a preference for a wealthy novel group over a less wealthy group. . In Experiment 2, children did not develop preferences when groups differed by another kind of positive/negative attribute (i.e. living in brightly colored houses vs. drab houses), suggesting that wealth is a particularly meaningful group distinction.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12181   open full text
  • Training‐induced recovery of low‐level vision followed by mid‐level perceptual improvements in developmental object and face agnosia.
    Maria Lev, Sharon Gilaie‐Dotan, Dana Gotthilf‐Nezri, Oren Yehezkel, Joseph L. Brooks, Anat Perry, Shlomo Bentin, Yoram Bonneh, Uri Polat.
    Developmental Science. April 04, 2014
    Long‐term deprivation of normal visual inputs can cause perceptual impairments at various levels of visual function, from basic visual acuity deficits, through mid‐level deficits such as contour integration and motion coherence, to high‐level face and object agnosia. Yet it is unclear whether training during adulthood, at a post‐developmental stage of the adult visual system, can overcome such developmental impairments. Here, we visually trained LG, a developmental object and face agnosic individual. Prior to training, at the age of 20, LG's basic and mid‐level visual functions such as visual acuity, crowding effects, and contour integration were underdeveloped relative to normal adult vision, corresponding to or poorer than those of 5–6 year olds (Gilaie‐Dotan, Perry, Bonneh, Malach & Bentin, ). Intensive visual training, based on lateral interactions, was applied for a period of 9 months. LG's directly trained but also untrained visual functions such as visual acuity, crowding, binocular stereopsis and also mid‐level contour integration improved significantly and reached near‐age‐level performance, with long‐term (over 4 years) persistence. Moreover, mid‐level functions that were tested post‐training were found to be normal in LG. Some possible subtle improvement was observed in LG's higher‐order visual functions such as object recognition and part integration, while LG's face perception skills have not improved thus far. These results suggest that corrective training at a post‐developmental stage, even in the adult visual system, can prove effective, and its enduring effects are the basis for a revival of a developmental cascade that can lead to reduced perceptual impairments. Abnormal visual inputs during development can impair various visual functions, and it is unclear whether these can be corrected during adulthood. Here, visual training at the age of 20 significantly improved LG's underdeveloped basic and mid‐level visual functions with long‐term persistence in trained and also untrained visual functions.
    April 04, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12178   open full text
  • How fresh a look? A reply to Heyes.
    Rose M. Scott, Renée Baillargeon.
    Developmental Science. March 25, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    March 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12173   open full text
  • False belief in infancy: a fresh look.
    Cecilia Heyes.
    Developmental Science. March 25, 2014
    Can infants appreciate that others have false beliefs? Do they have a theory of mind? In this article I provide a detailed review of more than 20 experiments that have addressed these questions, and offered an affirmative answer, using nonverbal ‘violation of expectation’ and ‘anticipatory looking’ procedures. Although many of these experiments are both elegant and ingenious, I argue that their results can be explained by the operation of domain‐general processes and in terms of ‘low‐level novelty’. This hypothesis suggests that the infants' looking behaviour is a function of the degree to which the observed (perceptual novelty) and remembered or expected (imaginal novelty) low‐level properties of the test stimuli – their colours, shapes and movements – are novel with respect to events encoded by the infants earlier in the experiment. If the low‐level novelty hypothesis is correct, research on false belief in infancy currently falls short of demonstrating that infants have even an implicit theory of mind. However, I suggest that the use of two experimental strategies – inanimate control procedures, and self‐informed belief induction – could be used in combination with existing methods to bring us much closer to understanding the evolutionary and developmental origins of theory of mind. Can infants appreciate that others have false beliefs? Do they have a theory of mind? In this article I provide a detailed review of more than 20 experiments that have addressed these questions, and offered an affirmative answer, using nonverbal ‘violation of expectation’ and ‘anticipatory looking’ procedures. Although many of these experiments are both elegant and ingenious, I argue that their results can be explained by the operation of domain‐general processes and in terms of ‘low‐level novelty’.
    March 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12148   open full text
  • Precursors to aggression are evident by 6 months of age.
    Dale F. Hay, Cerith S. Waters, Oliver Perra, Naomi Swift, Victoria Kairis, Rebecca Phillips, Roland Jones, Ian Goodyer, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar, Stephanie Goozen.
    Developmental Science. February 25, 2014
    We tested the hypothesis that developmental precursors to aggression are apparent in infancy. Up to three informants rated 301 firstborn infants for early signs of anger, hitting and biting; 279 (93%) were assessed again as toddlers. Informants' ratings were validated by direct observation at both ages. The precursor behaviours were significantly associated with known risk factors for high levels of aggressiveness. Individual differences were stable from early infancy to the third year and predicted broader conduct problems. These findings suggest that some individuals set forth on the trajectory to high levels of aggression by 6 months of age. The findings have implications for developmental studies of aggression, clinical prevention and intervention strategies, and theoretical considerations regarding the detection of precursors in different domains of development. Developmental precursors to aggression are apparent in infancy. Up to three informants rated 301 firstborn infants for early signs of anger and physical force; 279 (93%) were assessed again as toddlers, as depicted in the figure. Informants' ratings were validated by direct observation of peer interaction. The precursor behaviours were significantly associated with known risk factors for aggressiveness and significantly predicted later aggressive behavioural problems.
    February 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12133   open full text
  • When vision is not an option: children's integration of auditory and haptic information is suboptimal.
    Karin Petrini, Alicia Remark, Louise Smith, Marko Nardini.
    Developmental Science. February 25, 2014
    When visual information is available, human adults, but not children, have been shown to reduce sensory uncertainty by taking a weighted average of sensory cues. In the absence of reliable visual information (e.g. extremely dark environment, visual disorders), the use of other information is vital. Here we ask how humans combine haptic and auditory information from childhood. In the first experiment, adults and children aged 5 to 11 years judged the relative sizes of two objects in auditory, haptic, and non‐conflicting bimodal conditions. In , different groups of adults and children were tested in non‐conflicting and conflicting bimodal conditions. In , adults reduced sensory uncertainty by integrating the cues optimally, while children did not. In , adults and children used similar weighting strategies to solve audio–haptic conflict. These results suggest that, in the absence of visual information, optimal integration of cues for discrimination of object size develops late in childhood. When visual information is available, human adults, but not children, have been shown to reduce sensory uncertainty by taking a weighted average of sensory cues. In the absence of reliable visual information (e.g. extremely dark environment, visual disorders), the use of other information is vital. Here we ask how humans combine haptic and auditory information from childhood.
    February 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12127   open full text
  • Rich analysis and rational models: inferring individual behavior from infant looking data.
    Steven T. Piantadosi, Celeste Kidd, Richard Aslin.
    Developmental Science. February 07, 2014
    Studies of infant looking times over the past 50 years have provided profound insights about cognitive development, but their dependent measures and analytic techniques are quite limited. In the context of infants' attention to discrete sequential events, we show how a Bayesian data analysis approach can be combined with a rational cognitive model to create a rich data analysis framework for infant looking times. We formalize (i) a statistical learning model, (ii) a parametric linking between the learning model's beliefs and infants' looking behavior, and (iii) a data analysis approach and model that infers parameters of the cognitive model and linking function for groups and individuals. Using this approach, we show that recent findings from Kidd, Piantadosi and Aslin () of a U‐shaped relationship between look‐away probability and stimulus complexity even holds within infants and is not due to averaging subjects with different types of behavior. Our results indicate that individual infants prefer stimuli of intermediate complexity, reserving attention for events that are moderately predictable given their probabilistic expectations about the world. Studies of infant looking times over the past 50 years have provided profound insights about cognitive development, but their dependent measures and analytic techniques are quite limited. In the context of infants' attention to discrete sequential events, we show how a Bayesian data analysis approach can be combined with a rational cognitive model to create a rich data analysis framework for infant looking times. We formalize (i) a statistical learning model, (ii) a parametric linking between the learning model's beliefs and infants' looking behavior, and (iii) a data analysis approach and model that infers parameters of the cognitive model and linking function for groups and individuals.
    February 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12083   open full text
  • In the absence of conflicting testimony young children trust inaccurate informants.
    Kimberly E. Vanderbilt, Gail D. Heyman, David Liu.
    Developmental Science. January 20, 2014
    The present research investigated the nature of the inferences and decisions young children make about informants with a prior history of inaccuracies. Across three experiments, 3‐ and 4‐year‐olds (total N = 182) reacted to previously inaccurate informants who offered testimony in an object‐labeling task. Of central interest was children's willingness to accept information provided by an inaccurate informant in different contexts of being alone, paired with an accurate informant, or paired with a novel (neutral) informant. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that when a previously inaccurate informant was alone and provided testimony that was not in conflict with the testimony of another informant, children systematically accepted the testimony of that informant. Experiment 3 showed that children accepted testimony from a neutral informant over an inaccurate informant when both provided information, but accepted testimony from an inaccurate informant rather than seeking information from an available neutral informant who did not automatically offer information. These results suggest that even though young children use prior history of accuracy to determine the relative reliability of informants, they are quite willing to trust the testimony of a single informant alone, regardless of whether that informant had previously been reliable.
    January 20, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12134   open full text
  • Breastfeeding and trajectories of children's cognitive development.
    Jin Huang, Kristen E. Peters, Michael G. Vaughn, Christopher Witko.
    Developmental Science. January 11, 2014
    The aim of this study was to examine the association of breastfeeding practices with the growth trajectories of children's cognitive development. We used data from the Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) with variables on presence and duration of breastfeeding and standardized test scores obtained during three different panel waves (N = 2681). After adjusting for covariates we found that breastfed children had higher test scores but that breastfed and non‐breastfed children had similar growth trajectories in test scores over time. The results indicate that breastfeeding has an important association with test scores, and that subsequent schooling and other experiences during adolescence do not eliminate the breastfeeding gap that appears in very early childhood. The aim of this study was to examine the association of breastfeeding practices with the growth trajectories of children's cognitive development. We used data from the Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) with variables on presence and duration of breastfeeding and standardized test scores obtained during three different panel waves (N = 2681). After adjusting for covariates we found that breastfed children had higher test scores but that breastfed and non‐breastfed children had similar growth trajectories in test scores over time.
    January 11, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12136   open full text
  • Shared understanding and idiosyncratic expression in early vocabularies.
    Julien Mayor, Kim Plunkett.
    Developmental Science. January 11, 2014
    To what extent do toddlers have shared vocabularies? We examined CDI data collected from 14,607 infants and toddlers in five countries and measured the amount of variability between individual lexicons during development for both comprehension and production. Early lexicons are highly overlapping. However, beyond 100 words, toddlers share more words with other toddlers in comprehension than in production, even when matched for lexicon sizes. This finding points to a structural difference in early comprehension and production: Toddlers are generalists in comprehension but develop a unique, expressive voice. Variability in production decreases after two years of age, suggesting convergence to a common expressive core vocabulary. We discuss potential exogenous and endogenous contributions to the inverted U‐shaped development observed in young children's expressive lexical variability. To what extent do toddlers have shared vocabularies? We examined CDI data collected from 14,607 infants and toddlers in five countries and measured the amount of variability between individual lexicons during development for both comprehension and production. Early lexicons are highly overlapping. However, beyond 100 words, toddlers share more words with other toddlers in comprehension than in production, even when matched for lexicon sizes. This finding points to a structural difference in early comprehension and production: Toddlers are generalists in comprehension but develop a unique, expressive voice. Variability in production decreases after two years of age, suggesting convergence to a common expressive core vocabulary. We discuss potential exogenous and endogenous contributions to the inverted U‐shaped development observed in young children's expressive lexical variability.
    January 11, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12130   open full text
  • Contributions of COMT Val158Met to cognitive stability and flexibility in infancy.
    Julie Markant, Dante Cicchetti, Susan Hetzel, Kathleen M. Thomas.
    Developmental Science. January 11, 2014
    Adaptive behavior requires focusing on relevant tasks while remaining sensitive to novel information. In adult studies of cognitive control, cognitive stability involves maintaining robust cognitive representations while cognitive flexibility involves updating of representations in response to novel information. Previous adult research has shown that the Met allele of the COMT Val158Met gene is associated with enhanced cognitive stability whereas the Val allele is associated with enhanced cognitive flexibility. Here we propose that the stability/flexibility framework can also be applied to infant research, with stability mapping onto early indices of behavioral regulation and flexibility mapping onto indices of behavioral reactivity. From this perspective, the present study examined whether COMT genotype was related to 7‐month‐old infants' reactivity to novel stimuli and behavioral regulation. Cognitive stability and flexibility were assessed using (1) a motor approach task, (2) a habituation task, and (3) a parental‐report measure of temperament. Val carriers were faster to reach for novel toys during the motor approach task and received higher scores on the temperament measure of approach to novelty. Met carriers showed enhanced dishabituation to the novel stimulus during the habituation task and received higher scores on the temperament measures of sustained attention and behavioral regulation. Overall, these results are consistent with adult research suggesting that the Met and Val alleles are associated with increased cognitive stability and flexibility, respectively, and thus suggest that COMT genotype may similarly affect cognitive function in infancy. Adaptive behavior requires focusing on relevant tasks (i.e., cognitive stability) while remaining sensitive to novel information (i.e., cognitive flexibility). Previous adult research has shown that the Met allele of the COMT Val158Met gene is associated with enhanced cognitive stability whereas the Val allele is associated with enhanced cognitive flexibility. The present results suggest that COMT genotype may be similarly related to early indices of cognitive stability and flexibility at 7 months of age.
    January 11, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12128   open full text
  • Sequence‐specific procedural learning deficits in children with specific language impairment.
    Hsinjen Julie Hsu, Dorothy V.M. Bishop.
    Developmental Science. January 11, 2014
    This study tested the procedural deficit hypothesis of specific language impairment (SLI) by comparing children's performance in two motor procedural learning tasks and an implicit verbal sequence learning task. Participants were 7‐ to 11‐year‐old children with SLI (n = 48), typically developing age‐matched children (n = 20) and younger typically developing children matched for receptive grammar (n = 28). In a serial reaction time task, the children with SLI performed at the same level as the grammar‐matched children, but poorer than age‐matched controls in learning motor sequences. When tested with a motor procedural learning task that did not involve learning sequential relationships between discrete elements (i.e. pursuit rotor), the children with SLI performed comparably with age‐matched children and better than younger grammar‐matched controls. In addition, poor implicit learning of word sequences in a verbal memory task (the Hebb effect) was found in the children with SLI. Together, these findings suggest that SLI might be characterized by deficits in learning sequence‐specific information, rather than generally weak procedural learning. This study tested the procedural deficit hypothesis of specific language impairment (SLI) by comparing children's performance in two motor procedural learning tasks and an implicit verbal sequence learning task. Participants were 7‐ to 11‐year‐old children with SLI (n = 48), typically developing age‐matched children (n = 20) and younger typically developing children matched for receptive grammar (n = 28). In a serial reaction time task, the children with SLI performed at the same level as the grammar‐matched children, but poorer than age‐matched controls in learning motor sequences. When tested with a motor procedural learning task that did not involve learning sequential relationships between discrete elements (i.e. pursuit rotor), the children with SLI performed comparably with age‐matched children and better than younger grammar‐matched controls.
    January 11, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12125   open full text
  • Some views are better than others: evidence for a visual bias in object views self‐generated by toddlers.
    Karin H. James, Susan S. Jones, Shelley Swain, Alfredo Pereira, Linda B. Smith.
    Developmental Science. January 11, 2014
    How objects are held determines how they are seen, and may thereby play an important developmental role in building visual object representations. Previous research suggests that toddlers, like adults, show themselves a disproportionate number of planar object views – that is, views in which the objects' axes of elongation are perpendicular or parallel to the line of sight. Here, three experiments address three explanations of this bias: (1) that the locations of interesting features of objects determine how they are held and thus how they are viewed; (2) that ease of holding determines object views; and (3) that there is a visual bias for planar views that exists independently of holding and of interesting surface properties. Children 18 to 24 months of age manually and visually explored novel objects (1) with interesting features centered in planar or ¾ views; (2) positioned inside Plexiglas boxes so that holding biased either planar or non‐planar views; and (3) positioned inside Plexiglas spheres, so that no object properties directly influenced holding. Results indicate a visual bias for planar views that is influenced by interesting surface properties and ease of holding, but that continues to exist even when these factors push for alternative views. How objects are held determines how they are seen, and may thereby play an important developmental role in building visual object representations. Previous research suggests that toddlers, like adults, show themselves a disproportionate number of planar object views – that is, views in which the objects' axes of elongation are perpendicular or parallel to the line of sight. Here, three experiments address three explanations of this bias: (1) that the locations of interesting features of objects determine how they are held and thus how they are viewed; (2) that ease of holding determines object views; and (3) that there is a visual bias for planar views that exists independently of holding and of interesting surface properties.
    January 11, 2014   doi: 10.1111/desc.12124   open full text
  • What are the links between maternal social status, hippocampal function, and HPA axis function in children?
    Margaret A. Sheridan, Joan How, Melanie Araujo, Michelle A. Schamberg, Charles A. Nelson.
    Developmental Science. August 07, 2013
    The association of parental social status with multiple health and achievement indicators in adulthood has driven researchers to attempt to identify mechanisms by which social experience in childhood could shift developmental trajectories. Some accounts for observed linkages between parental social status in childhood and health have hypothesized that early stress exposure could result in chronic disruptions in hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis activation, and that this activation could lead to long‐term changes. A robust literature in adult animals has demonstrated that chronic HPA axis activation leads to changes in hippocampal structure and function. In the current study, consistent with studies in animals, we observe an association between both maternal self‐rated social status and hippocampal activation in children and between maternal self‐rated social status and salivary cortisol in children. The association of parental social status with multiple health and achievement indicators in adulthood has driven researchers to attempt to identify mechanisms by which social experience in childhood could shift developmental trajectories. Some accounts for observed linkages between parental social status in childhood and health have hypothesized that early stress exposure could result in chronic disruptions in hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis activation, and that this activation could lead to long‐term changes. A robust literature in adult animals has demonstrated that chronic HPA axis activation leads to changes in hippocampal structure and function.
    August 07, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12087   open full text
  • Fine motor skill predicts expressive language in infant siblings of children with autism.
    Eve Sauer LeBarton, Jana M. Iverson.
    Developmental Science. August 07, 2013
    We investigated whether fine motor and expressive language skills are related in the later‐born siblings of children with autism (heightened‐risk, HR infants) who are at increased risk for language delays. We observed 34 HR infants longitudinally from 12 to 36 months. We used parent report and standardized observation measures to assess fine motor skill from 12 to 24 months in HR infants (Study 1) and its relation to later expressive vocabulary at 36 months in HR infants (Study 2). In Study 1, we also included 25 infants without a family history of autism to serve as a normative comparison group for a parent‐report fine motor measure. We found that HR infants exhibited fine motor delays between 12 and 24 months and expressive vocabulary delays at 36 months. Further, fine motor skill significantly predicted expressive language at 36 months. Fine motor and expressive language skills are related early in development in HR infants, who, as a group, exhibit risk for delays in both. Our findings highlight the importance of considering fine motor skill in children at risk for language impairments and may have implications for early identification of expressive language difficulties. We investigated whether fine motor and expressive language skills are related in the later‐born siblings of children with autism (heightened‐risk, HR infants) who are at increased risk for language delays. We observed 34 HR infants longitudinally from 12 to 36 months. We used parent report and standardized observation measures to assess fine motor skill from 12 to 24 months in HR infants (Study 1) and its relation to later expressive vocabulary at 36 months in HR infants (Study 2).
    August 07, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12069   open full text
  • Socioeconomic status and functional brain development – associations in early infancy.
    Przemyslaw Tomalski, Derek G. Moore, Helena Ribeiro, Emma L. Axelsson, Elizabeth Murphy, Annette Karmiloff‐Smith, Mark H. Johnson, Elena Kushnerenko.
    Developmental Science. August 07, 2013
    Socioeconomic status (SES) impacts on both structural and functional brain development in childhood, but how early its effects can be demonstrated is unknown. In this study we measured resting baseline EEG activity in the gamma frequency range in awake 6–9‐month‐olds from areas of East London with high socioeconomic deprivation. Between‐subject comparisons of infants from low‐ and high‐income families revealed significantly lower frontal gamma power in infants from low‐income homes. Similar power differences were found when comparing infants according to maternal occupation, with lower occupational status groups yielding lower power. Infant sleep, maternal education, length of gestation, and birth weight, as well as smoke exposure and bilingualism, did not explain these differences. Our results show that the effects of socioeconomic disparities on brain activity can already be detected in early infancy, potentially pointing to very early risk for language and attention difficulties. This is the first study to reveal region‐selective differences in functional brain development associated with early infancy in low‐income families. Socioeconomic status (SES) impacts on both structural and functional brain development in childhood, but how early its effects can be demonstrated is unknown. In this study we measured resting baseline EEG activity in the gamma frequency range in awake 6–9‐months‐olds from areas of East London with high socioeconomic deprivation. Between‐subject comparisons of infants from low‐ and high‐income families revealed significantly lower frontal gamma power in infants from low‐income homes. Our result show that the effects of socioeconomic disparities on brain activity can already be detected in early infancy, potentially pointing to very early risk for language and attention difficulties.
    August 07, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12079   open full text
  • Linking childhood poverty and cognition: environmental mediators of non‐verbal executive control in an Argentine sample.
    Sebastián Lipina, Soledad Segretin, Julia Hermida, Lucía Prats, Carolina Fracchia, Jorge López Camelo, Jorge Colombo.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2013
    Tests of attentional control, working memory, and planning were administered to compare the non‐verbal executive control performance of healthy children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, mediations of several sociodemographic variables, identified in the literature as part of the experience of child poverty, between socioeconomic status and cognitive performance were assessed. Results show: (1) significant differences in performance between groups in most dependent variables analyzed – however, not in all variables associated with attentional control domains; (2) significant indirect effects of literacy activities on working memory and fluid processing domains, as well as computer resources effects on fluid processing; and (3) marginal indirect effects of computer resources on attentional control and working memory domains. These findings extend analysis of the impact of poverty on the development of executive control, through information based on the assessment of combined neurocognitive paradigms and the identification of specific environmental mediators. Tests of attentional control, working memory, and planning were administered to compare the non‐verbal executive control performance of healthy children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, mediations of several sociodemographic variables, identified in the literature as part of the experience of child poverty, between socioeconomic status and cognitive performance were assessed. Results show: (1) significant differences in performance between groups in most dependent variables analyzed – however, not in all variables associated with attentional control domains; (2) significant indirect effects of literacy activities on working memory and fluid processing domains, as well as computer resources effects on fluid processing; and (3) marginal indirect effects of computer resources on attentional control and working memory domains.
    July 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12080   open full text
  • Commentary: Neurocognitive consequences of socioeconomic disparities.
    Helen Neville, Courtney Stevens, Eric Pakulak, Theodore A. Bell.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2013
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    July 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12081   open full text
  • Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and young adult working memory: the protective role of self‐regulatory capacity.
    Gary W. Evans, Thomas E. Fuller‐Rowell.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2013
    Prior research shows that childhood poverty as well as chronic stress can damage children's executive functioning (EF) capacities, including working memory. However, it is also clear that not all children suffer the same degree of adverse consequences from risk exposure. We show that chronic stress early in life (ages 9–13) links childhood poverty from birth to age 13 to young adult working memory. However, 9‐year‐olds high in self‐regulatory capacity, assessed by a standard delay of gratification protocol, are protected from such insults. Self‐regulatory skills may afford the developing prefrontal cortex some protection from childhood poverty. Prior research shows that childhood poverty as well as chronic stress can damage children's executive functioning (EF) capacities, including working memory. However, it is also clear that not all children suffer the same degree of adverse consequences from risk exposure. We show that chronic stress early in life (ages 9–13) links childhood poverty from birth to age 13 to young adult working memory.
    July 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12082   open full text
  • Associations between children's socioeconomic status and prefrontal cortical thickness.
    Gwendolyn M. Lawson, Jeffrey T. Duda, Brian B. Avants, Jue Wu, Martha J. Farah.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2013
    Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) predicts executive function performance and measures of prefrontal cortical function, but little is known about its anatomical correlates. Structural MRI and demographic data from a sample of 283 healthy children from the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development were used to investigate the relationship between SES and prefrontal cortical thickness. Specifically, we assessed the association between two principal measures of childhood SES, family income and parental education, and gray matter thickness in specific subregions of prefrontal cortex and on the asymmetry of these areas. After correcting for multiple comparisons and controlling for potentially confounding variables, parental education significantly predicted cortical thickness in the right anterior cingulate gyrus and left superior frontal gyrus. These results suggest that brain structure in frontal regions may provide a meaningful link between SES and cognitive function among healthy, typically developing children. Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) predicts executive function performance and measures of prefrontal cortical function, but little is known about its anatomical correlates. Structural MRI and demographic data from a sample of 283 healthy children from the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development were used to investigate the relationship between SES and prefrontal cortical thickness. Specifically, we assessed the association between two principal measures of childhood SES, family income and parental education, and gray matter thickness in specific subregions of prefrontal cortex and on the asymmetry of these areas.
    July 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12096   open full text
  • Selective memories: infants' encoding is enhanced in selection via suppression.
    Julie Markant, Dima Amso.
    Developmental Science. July 30, 2013
    The present study examined the hypothesis that inhibitory visual selection mechanisms play a vital role in memory by limiting distractor interference during item encoding. In Experiment 1a we used a modified spatial cueing task in which 9‐month‐old infants encoded multiple category exemplars in the contexts of an attention orienting mechanism involving suppression (i.e. inhibition of return, IOR) versus one that does not (i.e. facilitation). At test, infants in the IOR condition showed both item‐specific learning and abstraction of broader category information. In contrast, infants in the facilitation condition did not discriminate across novel and familiar test items. Experiment 1b confirmed that the learning observed in the IOR condition was specific to spatial cueing of attention and was not due to timing differences across the IOR and facilitation conditions. In Experiment 2, we replicated the results of Experiment 1, using a within‐subjects design to explicitly examine learning and memory encoding in the context of concurrent suppression. These data show that developing inhibitory selective attention enhances efficacy of memory encoding for subsequent retrieval. Furthermore, these results highlight the importance of considering interactions between developing attention and memory systems. The present study examined the hypothesis that inhibitory visual selection mechanisms play a vital role in memory by limiting distractor interference during item encoding. In Experiment 1a we used a modified spatial cueing task in which 9‐month‐old infants encoded multiple category exemplars in the contexts of an attention orienting mechanism involving suppression (i.e. inhibition of return, IOR) versus one that does not (i.e. facilitation). At test, infants in the IOR condition showed both item‐specific learning and abstraction of broader category information.
    July 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12084   open full text
  • Eye–voice span during rapid automatized naming of digits and dice in Chinese normal and dyslexic children.
    Jinger Pan, Ming Yan, Jochen Laubrock, Hua Shu, Reinhold Kliegl.
    Developmental Science. June 25, 2013
    We measured Chinese dyslexic and control children's eye movements during rapid automatized naming (RAN) with alphanumeric (digits) and symbolic (dice surfaces) stimuli. Both types of stimuli required identical oral responses, controlling for effects associated with speech production. Results showed that naming dice was much slower than naming digits for both groups, but group differences in eye‐movement measures and in the eye–voice span (i.e. the distance between the currently fixated item and the voiced item) were generally larger in digit‐RAN than in dice‐RAN. In addition, dyslexics were less efficient in parafoveal processing in these RAN tasks. Since the two RAN tasks required the same phonological output and on the assumption that naming dice is less practiced than naming digits in general, the results suggest that the translation of alphanumeric visual symbols into phonological codes is less efficient in dyslexic children. The dissociation of the print‐to‐sound conversion and phonological representation suggests that the degree of automaticity in translation from visual symbols to phonological codes in addition to phonological processing per se is also critical to understanding dyslexia. We measured Chinese dyslexic and control children's eye movements during rapid automatized naming (RAN) with alphanumeric (digits) and symbolic (dice surfaces) stimuli. Both types of stimuli required identical oral responses, controlling for effects associated with speech production. Results showed that naming dice was much slower than naming digits for both groups, but group differences in eye‐movement measures and in the eye‐voice span (i.e. the distance between the currently fixated item and the voiced item) were generally larger in digit‐RAN than in dice‐RAN.
    June 25, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12075   open full text
  • Higher education is an age‐independent predictor of white matter integrity and cognitive control in late adolescence.
    Kimberly G. Noble, Mayuresh S. Korgaonkar, Stuart M. Grieve, Adam M. Brickman.
    Developmental Science. June 25, 2013
    Socioeconomic status is an important predictor of cognitive development and academic achievement. Late adolescence provides a unique opportunity to study how the attainment of socioeconomic status (in the form of years of education) relates to cognitive and neural development, during a time when age‐related cognitive and neural development is ongoing. During late adolescence it is possible to disambiguate age‐ and education‐related effects on the development of these processes. Here we assessed the degree to which higher educational attainment was related to performance on a cognitive control task, controlling for age. We then used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to assess the degree to which white matter microstructure might mediate this relationship. When covarying age, significant associations were found between educational attainment and fractional anisotropy (FA) in the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and cingulum bundle (CB). Further, when covarying age, FA in these regions was associated with cognitive control. Finally, mediation analyses revealed that the age‐independent association between educational attainment and cognitive control was completely accounted for by FA in these regions. The uncinate fasciculus, a late‐myelinated control region not implicated in cognitive control, did not mediate this effect. Socioeconomic status is an important predictor of cognitive development and academic achievement. Late adolescence provides a unique opportunity to study how the attainment of socioeconomic status (in the form of years of education) relates to cognitive and neural development, during a time when age‐related cognitive and neural development is ongoing. During late adolescence it is possible to disambiguate age‐ and education‐related effects on the development of these processes.
    June 25, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12077   open full text
  • Blocking a redundant cue: what does it say about preschoolers' causal competence?
    Heidi Kloos, Vladimir M. Sloutsky.
    Developmental Science. June 11, 2013
    The current study investigates the degree to which preschoolers can engage in causal inferences in a blocking paradigm, a paradigm in which a cue is consistently linked with a target, either alone (A‐T) or paired with another cue (AB‐T). Unlike previous blocking studies with preschoolers, we manipulated the causal structure of the events without changing the specific contingencies. In particular, cues were said to be either potential causes (prediction condition), or they were said to be potential effects (diagnosis condition). The causally appropriate inference is to block the redundant cue B when it is a potential cause of the target, but not when it is a potential effect. Findings show a stark difference in performance between preschoolers and adults: While adults blocked the redundant cue only in the prediction condition, children blocked the redundant cue indiscriminately across both conditions. Therefore, children, but not adults, ignored the causal structure of the events. These findings challenge a developmental account that attributes sophisticated machinery of causal reasoning to young children. The current study investigates the degree to which preschoolers can engage in causal inferences in a blocking paradigm, a paradigm in which a cue is consistently linked with a target, either alone (A‐T) or paired with another cue (AB‐T).Unlike previous blocking studies with preschoolers, we manipulated the causal structure of the events without changing the specific contingencies. In particular, cues were said to be either potential causes (prediction condition), or they were said to be potential effects (diagnosis condition).
    June 11, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12047   open full text
  • Mapping subcortical brain maturation during adolescence: evidence of hemisphere‐ and sex‐specific longitudinal changes.
    Meg Dennison, Sarah Whittle, Murat Yücel, Nandita Vijayakumar, Alexandria Kline, Julian Simmons, Nicholas B. Allen.
    Developmental Science. June 11, 2013
    Early to mid‐adolescence is an important developmental period for subcortical brain maturation, but longitudinal studies of these neurodevelopmental changes are lacking. The present study acquired repeated magnetic resonance images from 60 adolescent subjects (28 female) at ages 12.5 and 16.5 years to map changes in subcortical structure volumes. Automated segmentation techniques optimized for longitudinal measurement were used to delineate volumes of the caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, pallidum, hippocampus, thalamus and the whole brain. Amygdala volumes were described using manual tracing methods. The results revealed heterogeneous maturation across the regions of interest (ROIs), and change was differentially moderated by sex and hemisphere. The caudate, thalamus and putamen declined in volume, more for females relative to males, and decreases in the putamen and thalamus were greater in the left hemisphere. The pallidum increased in size, but more so in the left hemisphere. While the left nucleus accumbens increased in size, the right accumbens decreased in size over the follow‐up period. Increases in hippocampal volume were greater in the right hemisphere. While amygdala volume did not change over time, the left hemisphere was consistently larger than the right. These results suggest that subcortical brain development from early to middle adolescence is characterized by striking hemispheric specialization and sexual dimorphisms, and provide a framework for interpreting normal and abnormal changes in cognition, affect and behavior. Moreover, the differences in findings compared to previous cross‐sectional research emphasize the importance of within‐subject assessment of brain development during adolescence. Early to mid‐adolescence is an important developmental period for subcortical brain maturation, but longitudinal studies of these neurodevelopmental changes are lacking. The present study acquired repeated magnetic resonance images from 60 adolescent subjects (28 female) at ages 12.5 and 16.5 years to map changes in subcortical structure volumes. Automated segmentation techniques optimized for longitudinal measurement were used to delineate volumes of the caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, pallidum, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and the whole brain.
    June 11, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12057   open full text
  • Word‐form familiarity bootstraps infant speech segmentation.
    Nicole Altvater‐Mackensen, Nivedita Mani.
    Developmental Science. June 11, 2013
    At about 7 months of age, infants listen longer to sentences containing familiar words – but not deviant pronunciations of familiar words (Jusczyk & Aslin, 1995). This finding suggests that infants are able to segment familiar words from fluent speech and that they store words in sufficient phonological detail to recognize deviations from a familiar word. This finding does not examine whether it is, nevertheless, easier for infants to segment words from sentences when these words sound similar to familiar words. Across three experiments, the present study investigates whether familiarity with a word helps infants segment similar‐sounding words from fluent speech and if they are able to discriminate these similar‐sounding words from other words later on. Results suggest that word‐form familiarity may be a powerful tool bootstrapping further lexical acquisition.
    June 11, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12071   open full text
  • Neural responses to witnessing peer rejection after being socially excluded: fMRI as a window into adolescents' emotional processing.
    Carrie L. Masten, Naomi I. Eisenberger, Jennifer H. Pfeifer, Mirella Dapretto.
    Developmental Science. June 08, 2013
    During adolescence, concerns about peer rejection and acceptance become increasingly common. Adolescents regularly experience peer rejection firsthand and witness these behaviors among their peers. In the current study, neuroimaging techniques were employed to conduct a preliminary investigation of the affective and cognitive processes involved in witnessing peer acceptance and rejection – specifically when these witnessed events occur in the immediate aftermath of a firsthand experience with rejection. During an fMRI scan, 23 adolescents underwent a simulated experience of firsthand peer rejection. Then, immediately following this experience they watched as another adolescent was ostensibly first accepted and then rejected. Findings indicated that in the immediate aftermath of being rejected by peers, adolescents displayed neural activity consistent with distress when they saw another peer being accepted, and neural activity consistent with emotion regulation and mentalizing (e.g. perspective‐taking) processes when they saw another peer being rejected. Furthermore, individuals displaying a heightened sensitivity to firsthand rejection were more likely to show neural activity consistent with distress when observing a peer being accepted. Findings are discussed in terms of how witnessing others being accepted or rejected relates to adolescents' interpretations of both firsthand and observed experiences with peers. In addition, the potential impact that witnessed events might have on the broader perpetuation of bullying at this age is also considered. During adolescence, concerns about peer rejection and acceptance become increasingly common. Adolescents regularly experience peer rejection firsthand and witness these behaviors among their peers. In the current study, neuroimaging techniques were employed to conduct a preliminary investigation of the affective and cognitive processes involved in witnessing peer acceptance and rejection – specifically when these witnessed events occur in the immediate aftermath of a firsthand experience with rejection. Activity during observed inclusion versus exclusion in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (subACC) that is positively related to participants' self‐reported rejection sensitivity.
    June 08, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12056   open full text
  • The effect of early visual deprivation on the development of face detection.
    Catherine J. Mondloch, Sidney J. Segalowitz, Terri L. Lewis, Jane Dywan, Richard Grand, Daphne Maurer.
    Developmental Science. June 08, 2013
    The expertise of adults in face perception is facilitated by their ability to rapidly detect that a stimulus is a face. In two experiments, we examined the role of early visual input in the development of face detection by testing patients who had been treated as infants for bilateral congenital cataract. Experiment 1 indicated that, at age 9 to 20, patients' accuracy and response times on a Mooney face detection task were normal. Experiment 2 revealed that the neural mechanisms underlying face detection in a similar group of adult patients are abnormal: the amplitude of both the P100 and N170 event‐related potential were larger in patients than in visually normal controls, and the extent of augmentation was related to the duration of deprivation. Thus, early visual experience is necessary for the establishment of normal neural networks for face detection; abnormalities at these early processing stages may contribute to the deficits we previously reported in configural face processing for this patient cohort. The expertise of adults in face perception is facilitated by their ability to rapidly detect that a stimulus is a face. In two experiments, we examined the role of early visual input in the development of face detection by testing patients who had been treated as infants for bilateral congenital cataract. Experiment 1 indicated that, at age 9 to 20, patients' accuracy and response times on a Mooney face detection task were normal, but the underlying neural correlates (see Figure) were not.
    June 08, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12065   open full text
  • The development of stranger fear in infancy and toddlerhood: normative development, individual differences, antecedents, and outcomes.
    Rebecca J. Brooker, Kristin A. Buss, Kathryn Lemery‐Chalfant, Nazan Aksan, Richard J. Davidson, H. Hill Goldsmith.
    Developmental Science. June 08, 2013
    Despite implications that stranger fear is an important aspect of developing behavioral inhibition, a known risk factor for anxiety, normative and atypical developmental trajectories of stranger fear across infancy and toddlerhood remain understudied. We used a large, longitudinal data set (N = 1285) including multi‐trait, multi‐method assessments of temperament to examine the normative course of development for stranger fear and to explore the possibility that individual differences exist in trajectories of stranger fear development between 6 and 36 months of age. A latent class growth analysis suggested four different trajectories of stranger fear during this period. Stable, high levels of stranger fear over time were associated with poorer RSA suppression at 6 months of age. Rates of concordance in trajectory‐based class membership for identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins, along with associations between atypical stranger fear development and greater anxiety‐related maternal characteristics, suggested that individual differences in developmental trajectories of stranger fear may be heritable. Importantly, trajectories of stranger fear during infancy and toddlerhood were linked to individual differences in behavioral inhibition, with chronically high levels of stranger fear and sharp increases in stranger fear over time related to greater levels of inhibition than other developmental trajectories. Despite implications that stranger fear is an important aspect of developing behavioral inhibition, a known risk factor for anxiety, normative and atypical developmental trajectories of stranger fear across infancy and toddlerhood remain understudied. We used a large, longitudinal data set (N = 1285) including multi‐trait, multi‐method assessments of temperament to examine the normative course of development for stranger fear and to explore the possibility that individual differences exist in trajectories of stranger fear development between 6 and 36 months of age. A latent class growth analysis suggested four different trajectories of stranger fear during this period.
    June 08, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12058   open full text
  • When do children trust the expert? Benevolence information influences children's trust more than expertise.
    Asheley R. Landrum, Candice M. Mills, Angie M. Johnston.
    Developmental Science. June 01, 2013
    How do children use informant niceness, meanness, and expertise when choosing between informant claims and crediting informants with knowledge? In Experiment 1, preschoolers met two experts providing conflicting claims for which only one had relevant expertise. Five‐year‐olds endorsed the relevant expert's claim and credited him with knowledge more often than 3‐year‐olds. In Experiment 2, niceness/meanness information was added. Although children most strongly preferred the nice relevant expert, the children often chose the nice irrelevant expert when the relevant one was mean. In Experiment 3, a mean expert was paired with a nice non‐expert. Although this nice informant had no expertise, preschoolers continued to endorse his claims and credit him with knowledge. Also noteworthy, children in all three experiments seemed to struggle more to choose the relevant expert's claim than to credit him with knowledge. Together, these experiments demonstrate that niceness/meanness information can powerfully influence how children evaluate informants. How do children use informant niceness, meanness, and expertise when choosing between informant claims and crediting informants with knowledge? In Experiment 1, preschoolers met two experts providing conflicting claims for which only one had relevant expertise. Five‐year‐olds endorsed the relevant expert's claim and credited him with knowledge more often than 3‐year‐olds. In Experiment 2, niceness/meanness information was added. Although children most strongly preferred the nice relevant expert, the children often chose the nice irrelevant expert when the relevant one was mean.
    June 01, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12059   open full text
  • Developmental changes in memory encoding: insights from event‐related potentials.
    Leslie Rollins, Tracy Riggins.
    Developmental Science. June 01, 2013
    The aim of the present study was to investigate developmental changes in encoding processes between 6‐year‐old children and adults using event‐related potentials (ERPs). Although episodic memory (‘EM’) effects have been reported in both children and adults at retrieval and subsequent memory effects have been established in adults, no previous ERP studies have examined subsequent memory effects in children. This represents a critical gap in the literature because encoding processes, and changes in neural correlates supporting encoding, partially account for age‐related improvements in children's memory performance. Results revealed that subsequent memory effects differed between children and adults temporally, directionally, and topographically. These findings lend support to the hypothesis that encoding processes and their neural correlates are an important source of change in memory development. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://youtu.be/sH83_qVimgc. The aim of the present study was to investigate developmental changes in encoding processes between 6‐year‐old children and adults using event‐related potentials (ERPs). Although episodic memory (‘EM’) effects have been reported in both children and adults at retrieval and subsequent memory effects have been established in adults, no previous ERP studies have examined subsequent memory effects in children. This represents a critical gap in the literature because encoding processes, and changes in neural correlates supporting encoding, partially account for age‐related improvements in children's memory performance.
    June 01, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12072   open full text
  • The sustained effect of emotional signals on neural processing in 12‐month‐olds.
    Jacqueline S. Leventon, Patricia J. Bauer.
    Developmental Science. June 01, 2013
    Around the end of the first year of life, infants develop a social referencing ability – using emotional information from others to guide their own behavior. Much research on social referencing has focused on changes in behavior in response to emotional information. The present study was an investigation of the changes in neural responses that underlie social referencing behavior, reflected in event‐related potentials (ERPs). Twenty‐six 12‐month‐olds participated in a single‐session visit in which ERPs were recorded both immediately before and after a behavioral intervention in which infants' caregivers provided positive, negative or neutral information about each of three stimuli (ERP data available for n = 17). After the intervention, infants devoted more neural resources to processing negative versus neutral and positive information, as observed in early and late positive‐going components. Changes in neural responses from the pre‐ to post‐intervention recordings clarify this observation, indicating a sustained response in the negative and positive conditions, and a decrease in the neutral condition, suggesting an attenuation effect in the neutral condition. Further, infants who attended most to the objects in the behavioral intervention showed increased neural responses in the negative condition and decreased responses in the positive condition. Taken together, these findings suggest that infants' neural responses are differentially affected by positive, negative and neutral information. Furthermore, the findings highlight the importance of measuring the change in neural responses to better interpret post‐experience responses. Around the end of the first year of life, infants develop a social referencing ability– using emotional information from others to guide their own behavior. Much research on social referencing has focused on changes in behavior in response to emotional information. The present study was an investigation of the changes in neural responses that underlie social referencing behavior,reflected in event‐related potentials (ERPs).
    June 01, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12041   open full text
  • Undifferentiated facial electromyography responses to dynamic, audio‐visual emotion displays in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
    Agata Rozga, Tricia Z. King, Richard W. Vuduc, Diana L. Robins.
    Developmental Science. May 28, 2013
    We examined facial electromyography (fEMG) activity to dynamic, audio‐visual emotional displays in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing (TD) individuals. Participants viewed clips of happy, angry, and fearful displays that contained both facial expression and affective prosody while surface electrodes measured corrugator supercilli and zygomaticus major facial muscle activity. Across measures of average and peak activity, the TD group demonstrated emotion‐selective fEMG responding, with greater relative activation of the zygomatic to happy stimuli and greater relative activation of the corrugator to fearful stimuli. In contrast, the ASD group largely showed no significant differences between zygomatic and corrugator activity across these emotions. There were no group differences in the magnitude and timing of fEMG response in the muscle congruent to the stimuli. This evidence that fEMG responses in ASD are undifferentiated with respect to the valence of the stimulus is discussed in light of potential underlying neurobiological mechanisms. We examined facial electromyography (fEMG) activity to dynamic, audio‐visual emotional displays in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing (TD) individuals. Participants viewed clips of happy, angry, and fearful displays that contained both facial expression and affective prosody while surface electrodes measured corrugator supercilli and zygomaticus major facial muscle activity. Across measures of average and peak activity, the TD group demonstrated emotion‐selective fEMG responding, with greater relative activation of the zygomatic to happy stimuli and greater relative activation of the corrugator to fearful stimuli. In contrast, the ASD group largely showed no significant differences between zygomatic and corrugator activity across these emotions, suggesting undifferentiated responding.
    May 28, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12062   open full text
  • Selective and faithful imitation at 12 and 15 months.
    Elma E. Hilbrink, Elena Sakkalou, Kate Ellis‐Davies, Nia C. Fowler, Merideth Gattis.
    Developmental Science. May 28, 2013
    Research on imitation in infancy has primarily focused on what and when infants imitate. More recently, however, the question why infants imitate has received renewed attention, partly motivated by the finding that infants sometimes selectively imitate the actions of others and sometimes faithfully imitate, or overimitate, the actions of others. The present study evaluates the hypothesis that this varying imitative behavior is related to infants' social traits. To do so, we assessed faithful and selective imitation longitudinally at 12 and 15 months, and extraversion at 15 months. At both ages, selective imitation was dependent on the causal structure of the act. From 12 to 15 months, selective imitation decreased while faithful imitation increased. Furthermore, infants high in extraversion were more faithful imitators than infants low in extraversion. These results demonstrate that the onset of faithful imitation is earlier than previously thought, but later than the onset of selective imitation. The observed relation between extraversion and faithful imitation supports the hypothesis that faithful imitation is driven by the social motivations of the infant. We call this relation the King Louie Effect: like the orangutan King Louie in The Jungle Book, infants imitate faithfully due to a growing interest in the interpersonal nature of interactions. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://youtu.be/qlnIof1k-u8. Research on imitation in infancy has primarily focused on what and when infants imitate. More recently, however, the question why infants imitate has received renewed attention, partly motivated by the finding that infants sometimes selectively imitate the actions of others and sometimes faithfully imitate, or over imitate, the actions of others. The present study evaluates the hypothesis that this varying imitative behavior is related to infants' social traits.
    May 28, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12070   open full text
  • Learning to look: probabilistic variation and noise guide infants' eye movements.
    Kristen Swan Tummeltshammer, Natasha Z. Kirkham.
    Developmental Science. May 28, 2013
    Young infants have demonstrated a remarkable sensitivity to probabilistic relations among visual features (Fiser & Aslin, 2002; Kirkham et al., 2002). Previous research has raised important questions regarding the usefulness of statistical learning in an environment filled with variability and noise, such as an infant's natural world. In an eye‐tracking experiment, 8‐month‐old infants viewed sequences of spatio‐temporal events with three different transitional probabilities (1.0‐Deterministic, 0.75‐High probability, and 0.5‐Low probability). Across two between‐subjects conditions, the sequences were presented with or without competing visual distracters. Results show that as transitional probability decreased, infants distributed less attention to the predictable locations and their anticipations were less often correct. With no distraction, infants had faster saccadic latencies to the high probability events; however, with distracters present in the stimulus environment, infants' eye movements shifted to favour the deterministic relations. These findings suggest that infants integrate multiple sources of variability to guide visual attention and facilitate the detection and learning of statistically reliable events. Young infants have demonstrated a remarkable sensitivity to probabilistic relations among visual features (Fiser & Aslin, ; Kirkham et al., ). Previous research has raised important questions regarding the usefulness of statistical learning in an environment filled with variability and noise, such as an infant's natural world. In an eye‐tracking experiment, 8‐month‐old infants viewed sequences of spatio‐temporal events with three different transitional probabilities (1.0‐Deterministic, 0.75‐High probability, and 0.5‐Low probability).
    May 28, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12064   open full text
  • Domain‐specific impulsivity in school‐age children.
    Eli Tsukayama, Angela Lee Duckworth, Betty Kim.
    Developmental Science. May 28, 2013
    Impulsivity is a salient individual difference in children with well‐established predictive validity for life outcomes. The current investigation proposes that impulsive behaviors vary systematically by domain. In a series of studies with ethnically and socioeconomically diverse samples of middle school students, we find that schoolwork‐related and interpersonal‐related impulsivity, as observed by teachers, parents, and the students themselves, are distinct, moderately correlated behavioral tendencies. Each demonstrates differentiated relationships with dimensions of childhood temperament, Big Five personality factors, and outcomes, such as report card grades. Implications for theoretical conceptions of impulsivity as well as for practical applications (e.g. domain‐specific interventions) are discussed.
    May 28, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12067   open full text
  • Infants hierarchically organize memory representations.
    Rebecca D. Rosenberg, Lisa Feigenson.
    Developmental Science. April 10, 2013
    Throughout development, working memory is subject to capacity limits that severely constrain short‐term storage. However, adults can massively expand the total amount of remembered information by grouping items into chunks. Although infants also have been shown to chunk objects in memory, little is known regarding the limits of this ability. In particular, it remains unknown whether infants can create more complex memory hierarchies, binding representations of chunks into still larger chunks in recursive fashion. Here we tested the limits of early chunking, first measuring the number of items infants can bind into a single chunk and the number of chunks infants can maintain concurrently, and then, critically, whether infants can embed chunked representations into larger units. We tested 14‐month‐old infants' memory for hidden objects using a manual search task in which we manipulated memory load (the number of objects infants saw hidden) and the chunking cues provided. We found that infants are limited in the number of items they can chunk and in the number of chunks they can remember. However, we also found that infants can bind representations of chunks into ‘superchunks’. These results suggest that hierarchically organizing information strongly affects working memory, starting in infancy. Throughout development, working memory is subject to capacity limits that severely constrain short‐term storage. However, adults can massively expand the total amount of remembered information by grouping items into chunks. Although infants also have been shown to chunk objects in memory, little is known regarding the limits of this ability. Here we show that infants can bind representations of individual objects into chunks, and then bind representations of chunks into still larger “superchunks”.
    April 10, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12055   open full text
  • Infant ERPs separate children at risk of dyslexia who become good readers from those who become poor readers.
    Titia L. Zuijen, Anna Plakas, Ben A.M. Maassen, Natasha M. Maurits, Aryan Leij.
    Developmental Science. March 19, 2013
    Dyslexia is heritable and associated with phonological processing deficits that can be reflected in the event‐related potentials (ERPs). Here, we recorded ERPs from 2‐month‐old infants at risk of dyslexia and from a control group to investigate whether their auditory system processes /bAk/ and /dAk/ changes differently. The speech sounds were presented in an oddball paradigm. The children were followed longitudinally and performed a word reading fluency test in second grade. The infant ERPs were subsequently analyzed according to high or low reading fluency in order to find a neurophysiological precursor of poor reading fluency. The results show that the fluent reading children (from both the at‐risk and the control group) processed the speech sound changes differentially in infancy as indicated by a mismatch response (MMR). In the control group the MMR was frontally positive and in the fluent at‐risk group the MMR was parietally positive. The non‐fluent at‐risk group did not show an MMR. We conclude that at‐risk children who became fluent readers were better at speech processing in infancy than those who became non‐fluent readers. This indicates a very early speech processing deficit in the group of later non‐fluent readers. We recorded ERPs from 2‐month‐old infants at‐risk of dyslexia and from a control group to investigate whether their auditory system processes speech sound changes differently depending on their reading fluency in second grade. In both the fluent reading at‐risk and the control group we found an MMR to the speech sound changes whereas the non‐fluent at‐risk group did not show an MMR. We conclude that already at a very early age there is a speech processing deficit in children who later on become non‐fluent readers.
    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1111/desc.12049   open full text
  • The link between logic, mathematics and imagination: evidence from children with developmental dyscalculia and mathematically gifted children.
    Kinga Morsanyi, Amy Devine, Alison Nobes, Dénes Szűcs.
    Developmental Science. March 19, 2013
    This study examined performance on transitive inference problems in children with developmental dyscalculia (DD), typically developing controls matched on IQ, working memory and reading skills, and in children with outstanding mathematical abilities. Whereas mainstream approaches currently consider DD as a domain‐specific deficit, we hypothesized that the development of mathematical skills is closely related to the development of logical abilities, a domain‐general skill. In particular, we expected a close link between mathematical skills and the ability to reason independently of one's beliefs. Our results showed that this was indeed the case, with children with DD performing more poorly than controls, and high maths ability children showing outstanding skills in logical reasoning about belief‐laden problems. Nevertheless, all groups performed poorly on structurally equivalent problems with belief‐neutral content. This is in line with suggestions that abstract reasoning skills (i.e. the ability to reason about content without real‐life referents) develops later than the ability to reason about belief‐inconsistent fantasy content.A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90DWY3O4xx8 The present study examined performance on transitive inference problems in children with developmental dyscalculia (DD), typically developing controls matched on IQ, working memory and reading skills, and in children with outstanding mathematical abilities. Whereas mainstream approaches currently consider DD as a domain‐specific deficit, we hypothesized that the development of mathematical skills is closely related to the development of logical abilities, a domain‐general skill. In particular, we expected a close link between mathematical skills and the ability to reason independently of one's beliefs.