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Child Development

Koeun Choi, Heather L Kirkorian, Tiffany A Pempek
Researchers tested the impact of contextual mismatch, proactive interference, and working memory (WM) on toddlers' transfer across contexts. Forty-two toddlers (27-34 months) completed four object-retrieval trials, requiring memory updating on Trials 2-4. Participants watched hiding events on a tablet computer. Search performance was tested using another tablet (match) or a felt board (mismatch). WM was assessed. On earlier search trials, WM predicted transfer in both conditions, and toddlers in the match condition outperformed those in the mismatch condition; however, the benefit of contextual match and WM decreased over trials...
April 17, 2017: Child Development
Allison DiBianca Fasoli
This study examined moral reasoning in parent-child conversations within a U.S. evangelical Christian community. The goal was to identify social-communicative processes that may promote the development of Divinity in children's moral reasoning. Sixteen parent-child dyads (6-9 years old) discussed hypothetical moral vignettes about failures to help peers in need. Analyses revealed that Divinity typically co-occurred with Autonomy in these conversations and that such co-occurrences typically happened through three distinct social-communicative processes, labeled "align," "scaffold," and "counter...
April 17, 2017: Child Development
Isabelle Häfner, Barbara Flunger, Anna-Lena Dicke, Hanna Gaspard, Brigitte M Brisson, Benjamin Nagengast, Ulrich Trautwein
Using data from 1,571 ninth-grade students (Mage  = 14.62) from 82 academic track schools in Germany and their predominantly Caucasian middle-class parents, configurations of different family characteristics reported by parents were investigated. Latent profile analyses considering academic involvement, family interest, parents' self-concept, child's need for support, and parents' time and energy identified average, indifferent, motivated and engaged, motivated and disengaged, and involved families. Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with students' motivational (self-concept, effort, and interest) and achievement outcomes (achievement test and grades) in math were analyzed...
April 17, 2017: Child Development
Anne F Weidinger, Ricarda Steinmayr, Birgit Spinath
Math competence beliefs and achievement are important outcomes of school-based learning. Previous studies yielded inconsistent results on whether skill development, self-enhancement, or reciprocal effects account for the interplay among them. A development-related change in the direction of their relation in the early school years might explain the inconsistency. To test this, 542 German elementary school students (M = 7.95 years, SD = 0.58) were repeatedly investigated over 24 months from Grade 2 to Grade 4...
April 17, 2017: Child Development
Nicolas Chevalier
Cognitive effort is costly and this cost likely influences the activities in which children engage. Yet, little is known about how school-age children perceive cognitive effort. The subjective value of cognitive effort, that is, how valuable or costly effort is perceived, was investigated in seventy-three 7- to 12-year-olds using an effort discounting paradigm. In two studies, it varied with task difficulty but not age, was predicted by actual effort engagement but not actual success and related to trait interest in effortful activities and proactive control engagement...
April 11, 2017: Child Development
Angie M Johnston, Mark Sheskin, Samuel G B Johnson, Frank C Keil
One of the core functions of explanation is to support prediction and generalization. However, some explanations license a broader range of predictions than others. For instance, an explanation about biology could be presented as applying to a specific case (e.g., "this bear") or more generally across "all animals." The current study investigated how 5- to 7-year-olds (N = 36), 11- to 13-year-olds (N = 34), and adults (N = 79) evaluate explanations at varying levels of generality in biology and physics...
April 11, 2017: Child Development
Naiqi G Xiao, Rachel Wu, Paul C Quinn, Shaoying Liu, Kristen S Tummeltshammer, Natasha Z Kirkham, Liezhong Ge, Olivier Pascalis, Kang Lee
Differential experience leads infants to have perceptual processing advantages for own- over other-race faces, but whether this experience has downstream consequences is unknown. Three experiments examined whether 7-month-olds (range = 5.9-8.5 months; N = 96) use gaze from own- versus other-race adults to anticipate events. When gaze predicted an event's occurrence with 100% reliability, 7-month-olds followed both adults equally; with 25% (chance) reliability, neither was followed. However, with 50% (uncertain) reliability, infants followed own- over other-race gaze...
April 10, 2017: Child Development
Dario Cvencek, Stephanie A Fryberg, Rebecca Covarrubias, Andrew N Meltzoff
Minority and majority elementary school students from a Native American reservation (N = 188; K-fifth grade; 5- to 10-year-olds) completed tests of academic self-concepts and self-esteem. School grades, attendance, and classroom behavior were collected. Both minority and majority students exhibited positive self-esteem. Minority students demonstrated lower academic self-concepts and lower achievement than majority students. Two age-related patterns emerged. First, minority students had lower academic achievement than majority students, and this effect was stronger in older (Grades 3-5) than in younger (Grades K-2) students...
April 7, 2017: Child Development
Michael Kühhirt, Markus Klein
This study investigates the relationship between early maternal employment history and children's vocabulary and inductive reasoning ability at age 5, drawing on longitudinal information on 2,200 children from the Growing Up in Scotland data. Prior research rarely addresses dynamics in maternal employment and the methodological ramifications of time-variant confounding. The present study proposes various measures to capture duration, timing, and stability of early maternal employment and uses inverse probability of treatment weighting to control for time-variant confounders that may partially mediate the effect of maternal employment on cognitive scores...
April 6, 2017: Child Development
Pamela Schuetze, Rina D Eiden, Craig R Colder, Marilyn A Huestis, Kenneth E Leonard
Pathways from maternal tobacco, marijuana, stress, and anger in pregnancy to infant reactivity and regulation (RR) at 9 months of infant age were examined in a low-income, diverse sample beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy, with fetal growth and postnatal stress/anger as potential mediators, and infant sex as a moderator. Participants were 247 dyads (173 substance-exposed infants). There were no direct effects of prenatal risk on RR and no moderation by sex. However, there were significant indirect effects on RR via poor fetal growth and higher postnatal anger...
April 6, 2017: Child Development
Koleen McCrink, Christina Caldera, Samuel Shaki
American and Israeli toddler-caregiver dyads (mean age of toddler = 26 months) were presented with naturalistic tasks in which they must watch a short video (N = 97) or concoct a visual story together (N = 66). English-speaking American caregivers were more likely to use left to right spatial structuring than right to left, especially for well-ordered letters and numbers. Hebrew-speaking Israeli parents were more likely than Americans to use right to left spatial structuring, especially for letters. When constructing a pictorial narrative for their children, Americans were more likely to place pictures from left to right than Israelis...
April 5, 2017: Child Development
Drew Weatherhead, Ori Friedman, Katherine S White
Three experiments examined 4- to 6-year-olds' use of potential cues to geographic background. In Experiment 1 (N = 72), 4- to 5-year-olds used a speaker's foreign accent to infer that they currently live far away, but 6-year-olds did not. In Experiment 2 (N = 72), children at all ages used accent to infer where a speaker was born. In both experiments, race played some role in children's geographic inferences. Finally, in Experiment 3 (N = 48), 6-year-olds used language to infer both where a speaker was born and where they currently live...
April 5, 2017: Child Development
Judi Mesman, Tessa Minter, Andrei Angnged, Ibrahima A H Cissé, Gul Deniz Salali, Andrea Bamberg Migliano
Do caregivers in non-Western communities adapt their behaviors to the needs of infants? This question reflects one of the most long-standing debates on the universality versus culture-specificity of caregiver-infant interactions in general and sensitive responsiveness to infants in particular. In this article, an integration of both points of view is presented, based on the theoretical origins of the sensitive responsiveness construct combined with the ethnographic literature on caregivers and infants in different parts of the world...
April 4, 2017: Child Development
Amanda M Dettmer, Ashley M Murphy, Denisse Guitarra, Emily Slonecker, Stephen J Suomi, Kendra L Rosenberg, Melinda A Novak, Jerrold S Meyer, Katie Hinde
Milk provides not only the building blocks for somatic development but also the hormonal signals that contribute to the biopsychological organization of the infant. Among mammals, glucocorticoids (GCs) in mother's milk have been associated with infant temperament. This study extended prior work to investigate rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) mother-infant dyads (N = 34) from birth through 8 months postpartum. Regression analysis revealed that cortisol concentrations in milk during the neonatal period predicted impulsivity on a cognitive task, but not global social behaviors, months later...
March 29, 2017: Child Development
Jesse L Coe, Patrick T Davies, Melissa L Sturge-Apple
This study examined the mediating roles of children's callousness and negative internal representations of family relationships in associations between family instability and children's adjustment to school in early childhood. Participants in this multimethod (i.e., survey, observations), multiinformant (i.e., parent, teacher, observer), longitudinal study included 243 preschool children (Mage  = 4.60 years) and their families. Findings from the lagged, autoregressive tests of the mediational paths indicated that both children's callousness and negative internal representations of family relationships mediated longitudinal associations between family instability and children's school adjustment problems over a 2-year period (i...
March 28, 2017: Child Development
Gizem Hülür, Fidan Gasimova, Alexander Robitzsch, Oliver Wilhelm
Intellectual engagement (IE) refers to enjoyment of intellectual activities and is proposed as causal for knowledge acquisition. The role of IE for cognitive development was examined utilizing 2-year longitudinal data from 112 ninth graders (average baseline age: 14.7 years). Higher baseline IE predicted higher baseline crystallized ability but not changes therein, and was not associated with fluid ability. Furthermore, IE predicted change in school grades in language but not in mathematics grades or in standardized tests...
March 28, 2017: Child Development
Véronique Dupéré, Eric Dion, Tama Leventhal, Isabelle Archambault, Robert Crosnoe, Michel Janosz
Adolescents who drop out of high school experience enduring negative consequences across many domains. Yet, the circumstances triggering their departure are poorly understood. This study examined the precipitating role of recent psychosocial stressors by comparing three groups of Canadian high school students (52% boys; Mage  = 16.3 years; N = 545): recent dropouts, matched at-risk students who remain in school, and average students. Results indicate that in comparison with the two other groups, dropouts were over three times more likely to have experienced recent acute stressors rated as severe by independent coders...
March 28, 2017: Child Development
Mariza Kampouri, Andriani Kyriklaki, Theano Roumeliotaki, Katerina Koutra, Despoina Anousaki, Katerina Sarri, Maria Vassilaki, Manolis Kogevinas, Leda Chatzi
Early-life exposures are critical for later child cognitive development. McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA) were used to assess cognitive development of 700 preschoolers (Mage  = 4.2 years), derived from the "Rhea" birth cohort, in Greece. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied on prospectively collected exposure data. Six components were extracted; five of them were associated with child cognition. Higher parental social status, preschool attendance and less TV watching, nonsmoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and parental involvement in child life were protective factors of child cognition at 4 years...
March 28, 2017: Child Development
J Loes Pouwels, Christina Salmivalli, Silja Saarento, Yvonne H M van den Berg, Tessa A M Lansu, Antonius H N Cillessen
The aim of this study was to determine how trajectory clusters of social status (social preference and perceived popularity) and behavior (direct aggression and prosocial behavior) from age 9 to age 14 predicted adolescents' bullying participant roles at age 16 and 17 (n = 266). Clusters were identified with multivariate growth mixture modeling (GMM). The findings showed that participants' developmental trajectories of social status and social behavior across childhood and early adolescence predicted their bullying participant role involvement in adolescence...
March 28, 2017: Child Development
Eleanor K Seaton, Stephen Quintana, Maykel Verkuyten, Gilbert C Gee
This manuscript introduces the special section, Context and Ethnic/Racial Identity.
March 24, 2017: Child Development
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