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Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

Diotima J Rapp, Jan M Engelmann, Esther Herrmann, Michael Tomasello
The current study explored how freedom of choice affects preschoolers' prosocial motivation. Children (3- and 5-year-olds) participated in either a choice condition (where they could decide for themselves whether to help or not) or a no-choice condition (where they were instructed to help). Prosocial motivation was subsequently assessed by measuring the amount children helped an absent peer in the face of an attractive alternative game. The 5-year-olds provided with choice helped more than the children not provided with choice, and this effect was stronger for girls than for boys...
February 13, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Jochem Thijs
Two vignette studies were conducted in which preadolescent children (Study 1: N=542; Study 2: N=137; aged 8-13years) evaluated the exclusion, for unknown reasons, of an immigrant minority child by a native majority peer (majority interethnic exclusion). Study 1 compared children's evaluations of majority interethnic exclusion with their evaluations of (majority and minority) intraethnic exclusion and minority interethnic exclusion, and Study 2 examined children's underlying explanations. Each study compared ethnic majority and ethnic minority respondents and examined the role of in-group bias for the former...
February 13, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Caspar J Van Lissa, Skyler T Hawk, Wim H J Meeus
The current study investigated whether manipulations of affective and cognitive empathy have differential effects on observed behavior and self-reported outcomes in adolescent-mother conflict discussions. We further examined how these situational empathy inductions interact with preexisting empathic dispositions. To promote ecological validity, we conducted home visits to study conflict discussions about real disagreements in adolescent-mother relationships. We explored the roles of sex, age, and maternal support and power as covariates and moderators...
February 9, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Steven O Roberts, Arnold K Ho, Susan A Gelman
Children use descriptive regularities of social groups (what is) to generate prescriptive judgments (what should be). We examined whether this tendency held when the regularities were introduced through group presence, category labels, or generic statements. Children (ages 4-9years, N=203) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions that manipulated how descriptive group regularities were presented: group presence (e.g., "These ones [a group of three individuals] eat this kind of berry"), category labels (e...
February 3, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Virginia Tompkins, Jessica A R Logan, Daniel F Blosser, Kaylin Duffy
Achieving false belief understanding is an important cognitive milestone that allows children to understand that thoughts and reality can differ. Researchers have found that low-income children score significantly lower than middle-income children on false belief understanding but have not examined why this difference exists. We hypothesized that children's language and parent discipline mediate the income-false belief relation. Participants were 174 3- to 6-year-olds. False belief understanding was significantly correlated with family income, children's vocabulary, parents' self-reported discussion of children's behavior, discussion of emotions, and power assertion...
February 3, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Peng Peng, Xiujie Yang, Xiangzhi Meng
We investigated whether the approximate number system (ANS) was related to arithmetic among kindergartners and the mechanism underlying this possible relation. Specifically, we examined whether numerical knowledge mediated the possible relation between the ANS and arithmetic after controlling for potential confounding cognitive variables. Results showed that the ANS was moderately related with early arithmetic (r=.36-.37). After controlling for age, IQ, visual attention, working memory, visuospatial processing, and inhibition, numerical knowledge demonstrated a medium mediation effect (k(2)=...
January 28, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Jodie M Plumert, Lucas J Franzen, Megan M Mathews, Christina Violante
We conducted three experiments to examine how the degree of category relatedness among objects in a group affects the magnitude of spatial bias in memory for their locations. Four age groups-7-, 9-, and 11-year-old children and adults-learned the locations of 20 objects marked by dots on a touchscreen monitor. After learning the object locations, participants attempted to place the objects without the aid of the dots. We compared spatial bias at test (i.e., placing objects in the same quadrant closer together than they really were) when objects within the same quadrant were strongly related versus unrelated (Experiment 1) or weakly related versus unrelated (Experiment 2)...
January 25, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Xinyi Jin, Pengchao Li, Jie He, Mowei Shen
Three experiments examined whether cooperation or competition affects 4-year-old children's reasoning about other people's desires-which differed from their own-in a gift selection task. Experiment 1 (N=72) found that children's performance in selecting an adult-preferred gift for an adult experimenter was enhanced by a short period of preceding cooperative, but not competitive or individualistic, play with the experimenter. Experiment 2 (N=24) ruled out the alternative explanation that children resisted satisfying their opponent after competition...
January 23, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Frances C Lewis, Robert A Reeve, Simon P Kelly, Katherine A Johnson
Inhibitory control and sustained attention are important cognitive abilities; however, their developmental trajectories remain unclear. In total, 35 6-year-olds, 32 8-year-olds, and 37 10-year-olds performed a Go/No-Go task; this required frequent responding to stimuli with infrequent inhibition to a target that appeared unpredictably. Children performed this task three times over 12months. Response time variability and accuracy measures, linked to inhibition and sustained attention, were assessed. Specifically, fast Fourier transform and ex-Gaussian analyses of response time data provided several measures of response time variability; these measures are thought to represent different components of sustained attention...
January 21, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Nicola McGuigan, Vanessa Burgess
The aim of the current study was to explore the influence that the age and the familiarity of a group majority has on copying fidelity in 4- to 6-year-old children. In Experiment 1, participants (N=120, Mage=68months) viewed five child models, all of whom were either younger than, the same age as, or older than themselves, open a puzzle box using an inefficient technique (four models) or an efficient technique (one model). In Experiment 2 (N=82, Mage=71months), the identical task was presented by groups of unfamiliar models...
January 19, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Claire D Monroy, Sarah A Gerson, Sabine Hunnius
The current eye-tracking study investigated whether toddlers use statistical information to make anticipatory eye movements while observing continuous action sequences. In two conditions, 19-month-old participants watched either a person performing an action sequence (Agent condition) or a self-propelled visual event sequence (Ghost condition). Both sequences featured a statistical structure in which certain action pairs occurred with deterministic transitional probabilities. Toddlers learned the transitional probabilities between the action steps of the deterministic action pairs and made predictive fixations to the location of the next action in the Agent condition but not in the Ghost condition...
January 16, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Joanne Arciuli
This study reports on a new task for assessing children's sensitivity to lexical stress for words with different stress patterns and demonstrates that this task is useful in examining predictors of reading accuracy during the elementary years. In English, polysyllabic words beginning with a strong syllable exhibit the most common or dominant pattern of lexical stress (e.g., "coconut"), whereas polysyllabic words beginning with a weak syllable exhibit a less common non-dominant pattern (e.g., "banana"). The new Aliens Talking Underwater task assesses children's ability to match low-pass filtered recordings of words to pictures of objects...
January 12, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Michelle Tran, Laura Cabral, Ronak Patel, Rhodri Cusack
Testing infants in the laboratory is expensive in time and money; consequently, many studies are underpowered, reducing their reproducibility. We investigated whether the online platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), could be used as a resource to more easily recruit and measure the behavior of infant populations. Using a looking time paradigm, with users' webcams we recorded how long infants aged 5 to 8months attended while viewing children's television programs. We found that infants (N=57) were more reliably engaged by some movies than by others and that the most engaging movies could maintain attention for approximately 70% of a 10- to 13-min period...
January 11, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Stefanie Schuch, Kerstin Konrad
One can take n-2 task repetition costs as a measure of inhibition on the level of task sets. When switching back to a Task A after only one intermediate trial (ABA task sequence), Task A is thought to still be inhibited, leading to performance costs relative to task sequences where switching back to Task A is preceded by at least two intermediary trials (CBA). The current study investigated differences in inhibitory ability between children and adults by comparing n-2 task repetition costs in children (9-11years of age, N=32) and young adults (21-30years of age, N=32)...
January 6, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Gabrielle A Strouse, Patricia A Ganea
Transfer from symbolic media to the real world can be difficult for young children. A sample of 73 toddlers aged 17 to 23months were read either an electronic book displayed on a touchscreen device or a traditional print book in which a novel object was paired with a novel label. Toddlers in both conditions learned the label within the context of the book. However, only those who read the traditional format book generalized and transferred the label to other contexts. An older group of 28 toddlers aged 24 to 30months did generalize and transfer from the electronic book...
January 6, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Vesna Marinović, Sebastian Wahl, Birgit Träuble
Seeking proximity to another person immediately expresses affiliative intentions. These are highly relevant after experiencing social exclusion. Through a novel task, the current study investigated the relation between proximity and observed ostracism during early childhood. A sample of 64 children (Mage=58months) first watched priming videos either depicting ostracism or not. Subsequently, children saw four seats of varying distances from an interactant's seat and chose where to sit. Children who observed social exclusion selected seats with higher proximity...
January 4, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Alfonso Igualada, Núria Esteve-Gibert, Pilar Prieto
Although research has shown that adults can benefit from the presence of beat gestures in word recall tasks, studies have failed to conclusively generalize these findings to preschool children. This study investigated whether the presence of beat gestures helps children to recall information when these gestures have the function of singling out a linguistic element in its discourse context. A total of 106 3- to 5-year-old children were asked to recall a list of words within a pragmatically child-relevant context (i...
January 3, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Larisa Heiphetz, Susan A Gelman, Liane L Young
Previous work shows that children view group membership and psychological traits in essentialist terms, perceiving them to be both biologically determined and stable across time. To what extent might individuals view mental states such as beliefs similarly? Given that beliefs are often based on experience and can change across time, one hypothesis is that beliefs on the whole do not elicit essentialism. An alternative hypothesis, however, is that some beliefs may be perceived as inherited and stable over time-characteristics associated with essentialism...
January 2, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Jenny Yun-Chen Chan, Michèle M M Mazzocco
Spontaneous focus on numerosity (SFON), an attentional process that some consider distinct from number knowledge, predicts later mathematical skills. Here we assessed the "spontaneity" and malleability of SFON using a picture-matching task. We asked children to view a target picture and to choose which of four other pictures matched the target. We tested whether attention to number (defined as number-based matches) was affected by (a) age, (b) the presence of very noticeable (or salient) features among alternative match choices, and (c) the examiner's use of motor actions to emphasize numerosity...
December 28, 2016: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Margaret Echelbarger, Susan A Gelman
An important task that children face is determining the value of items, and two possible cues to value include scarcity and variety. In three studies with 289 children aged 4-12years and 148 adults, we examined the use of these cues to guide choices when making selections among items. At all ages, participants typically preferred varied sets for themselves and others. In contrast, scarce items were rarely preferred to abundant items. However, when in the context of multiple recipients, participants selected scarce and varied items more when items were maximally scarce...
December 27, 2016: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
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