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Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

Meng Zhang, Judith A Hudson
A picture-sentence matching task was used to investigate children's understanding of yesterday and tomorrow. In Experiment 1, 3- to 5-year-olds viewed two pictures of an object with a visible change of state (e.g., a carved pumpkin and an intact pumpkin) while listening to sentences referring to past or future actions ("I carved the pumpkin yesterday" or "I'm gonna carve the pumpkin tomorrow") and selected the matching picture. Children performed better with past tense sentences than with future tense sentences, and including tomorrow in future tense sentences increased accuracy...
February 17, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Alina Nazareth, Steven M Weisberg, Katherine Margulis, Nora S Newcombe
Developmental research beginning in the 1970s has suggested that children's ability to form cognitive maps reaches adult levels during early adolescence. However, this research has used a variety of testing procedures, often in real-world environments, which have been difficult to share widely across labs and to use to probe components of mapping, individual differences in success, and possible mechanisms of development and reasons for individual variation. In this study, we charted the development of cognitive mapping using a virtual navigation paradigm, Silcton, that allows for testing samples of substantial size in a uniform way and in which adults show marked individual differences in the formation of accurate route representations and/or in route integration...
February 13, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Brittany Huber, Megan Yeates, Denny Meyer, Lorraine Fleckhammer, Jordy Kaufman
Children's exposure to screen-based media has raised concerns for many reasons. One reason is that viewing particular television content has been shown to negatively affect children's executive functioning. Yet, it is unclear whether interacting with a touchscreen device affects executive functioning in the same way as the television research suggests. In the current study, 96 2- and 3-year-old children completed executive functioning measures of working memory and response inhibition and task switching before and after a brief screen intervention consisting of watching an educational television show, playing an educational app, or watching a cartoon...
February 12, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Sheila Krogh-Jespersen, Catharine H Echols
This study examined how explicitly evaluating another person's performance influences 3.5-year-old children's willingness to learn from that person. Children interacted with a speaker who presented a series of familiar objects and labeled them either accurately or inaccurately. After establishing reliability, the speaker taught nonsense labels for two additional familiar objects. Half of the children were asked to explicitly judge whether the speaker was reliable before the novel labels were presented; half were asked to do so at the end of the experiment...
February 10, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Amanda K Holland, Grace Hyde, Kevin J Riggs, Andrew Simpson
To become skilled artifact users, children must learn the actions and functions associated with artifacts. We investigated preschoolers' ability to fast map an action, function and name associated with a novel artifact, and retain the new mapping long term following brief incidental exposure to the artifact being used. In Experiment 1, 3- and 5-year-olds (N = 144) were tested 1 week after two exposures to a novel action, function, and name. Participants performed well on comprehension tests of all three kinds of information...
February 9, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Lin Tan, Cynthia L Smith
Drawing from the functional theory of emotion, anger is proposed to serve adaptive functions such as motivating children to persist in overcoming difficulties to achieve their goals, whereas sadness helps children to shift attention away from goals that they determine cannot be attained. Despite the theorized importance of anger to persistence, it does not always relate to persistence in expected ways empirically; the role that sadness might play in how anger relates to persistence is often not considered even though children often experience both anger and sadness when goals are blocked...
February 8, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
James Negen, Hannah E Roome, Samantha Keenaghan, Marko Nardini
Spatial memory is an important aspect of adaptive behavior and experience, providing both content and context to the perceptions and memories that we form in everyday life. Young children's abilities in this realm shift from mainly egocentric (self-based) to include allocentric (world-based) codings at around 4 years of age. However, information about the cognitive mechanisms underlying acquisition of these new abilities is still lacking. We examined allocentric spatial recall in 4.5- to 8.5-year-olds, looking for continuity with navigation as previously studied in 2- to 4-year-olds and other species...
February 2, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Theresa M Gerhard, Gudrun Schwarzer
The current study investigated whether 9-month-old infants' mental rotation performance was influenced by the magnitude of the angle of object rotation and their crawling ability. A total of 76 infants were tested; of these infants, 39 had been crawling for an average of 9.0 weeks. Infants were habituated to a video of a simplified Shepard-Metzler object (Shepard & Metzler, 1971), always rotating forward through a 180° angle around the horizontal axis of the object. After habituation, in two different test conditions, infants were presented with test videos of the same object rotating farther forward through a previously unseen 90° angle and with a test video of its mirror image...
January 29, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Michael T Willoughby, Clancy B Blair, Laura J Kuhn, Brooke E Magnus
Early childhood represents a period of rapid cognitive developmental change in executive function (EF) skills along with a variety of related cognitive processes, including processing speed. This leads to interpretational challenges in that children's performance on EF tasks reflects more than EF skills per se. We tested whether the inclusion of a brief measure of simple reaction time (SRT) during EF assessments could help to partially address this challenge. Data were drawn from a cross-sectional convenience sample of 830 preschool-aged children...
January 27, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Fengling Ma, Biyun Chen, Fen Xu, Kang Lee, Gail D Heyman
Young children's willingness to delay gratification by forgoing an immediate reward to obtain a more desirable one in the future predicts a wide range of positive social, cognitive, and health outcomes. Standard accounts of this phenomenon have focused on individual differences in cognitive control skills that allow children to engage in goal-oriented behavior, but recent findings suggest that person-specific trust is also important, with children showing a stronger tendency to delay gratification if they have reason to trust the individual who is promising the future reward...
January 18, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Manuel Perea, Reem Abu Mallouh, Ahmed Mohammed, Batoul Khalifa, Manuel Carreiras
We carried out a masked priming lexical decision experiment to study whether visual letter similarity plays a role during the initial phases of word processing in young readers of Arabic (fifth graders). Arabic is ideally suited to test these effects because most Arabic letters share their basic shape with at least one other letter and differ only in the number/position of diacritical points (e.g., ض - ص ;ظ - ط ;غ - ع ;ث - ت - ن ب ;ذ - د ;خ - ح - ج ;ق - ف ;ش - س ;ز - ر). We created two one-letter-different priming conditions for each target word, in which a letter from the consonantal root was substituted by another letter that did or did not keep the same shape (e...
January 18, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Felicia W Chu, Kristy vanMarle, Jeffrey Rouder, David C Geary
Previous studies suggest that the sophistication of the strategies children use to solve arithmetic problems is related to a more basic understanding of number, but they have not examined the relation between number knowledge in preschool and strategy choices at school entry. Accordingly, the symbolic and nonsymbolic quantitative knowledge of 134 children (65 boys) was assessed at the beginning of preschool and in kindergarten, and the sophistication of the strategies they used to solve addition problems was assessed at the beginning of first grade...
January 17, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Laura Wante, Sven C Mueller, Sofie Cromheeke, Caroline Braet
Recent cognitive models suggest that the ability to control emotional information in working memory (WM) may be implicated in the etiology and maintenance of depression. However, few studies have examined the effects of processing relevant and irrelevant emotional stimuli on WM performance in depressed adolescents. In the current study, depressed adolescents (n = 27) and healthy adolescents (n = 49) completed two versions of an emotional n-back task: a low WM load (0-back) task and a high WM load (2-back) task...
January 14, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Cristina E Nanu, Jake McMullen, Petriina Munck, Minna M Hannula-Sormunen
Previous studies in a variety of countries have shown that there are substantial individual differences in children's spontaneous focusing on numerosity (SFON), and these differences are positively related to the development of early numerical skills in preschool and primary school. A total of 74 5-year-olds participated in a 7-year follow-up study, in which we explored whether SFON measured with very small numerosities at 5 years of age predicts mathematical skills and knowledge, math motivation, and reading in fifth grade at 11 years of age...
January 11, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Michael T Rizzo, Melanie Killen
The current study investigated whether children's relative social status within a context influences their ability to identify others' mental states. Across two experiments, 3- to 7-year-olds (N = 103) were randomly assigned to hold either an advantaged or disadvantaged social status and were assessed on their ability to accurately identify others' mental states (via false-belief and belief-emotion "theory of mind" assessments). When participants' status was manipulated by a structural factor (gender; Experiment 1), participants with disadvantaged status were more likely than participants with advantaged status to pass the false-belief and belief-emotion assessments...
January 8, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Madison L Pesowski, Ori Friedman
Three experiments show that young children (N = 384) use ownership to predict actions but not to infer preferences. In Experiment 1, 3- to 6-year-olds considered ownership when predicting actions but did not expect it to trump preferences. In Experiment 2, 4- and 5-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds, used ownership to predict actions, and 5-year-olds grasped that an agent would use his or her own property despite preferring someone else's. This experiment also showed that relating an agent to an object interfered with 3- and 4-year-olds' judgments that a more attractive object is preferred...
January 8, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Alison M O'Connor, Angela D Evans
The current study investigated how having at least one child sibling influenced children's dishonest behaviors. Furthermore, for those children with a sibling, we examined whether having a younger or older sibling and the age difference between siblings influenced deceptive acts. Children between 3 and 8 years of age (N = 130) completed the temptation resistance paradigm, where they played a guessing game and were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter's absence. Children's peeking behavior was used as a measure of cheating, and children's responses when asked whether they had peeked were used as measures of lie-telling...
January 6, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Monica Lawson, Kristin Valentino, Christina G McDonnell, Ruth Speidel
In the current investigation, we examined associations between maternal attachment and the way that mothers and children discuss past emotional experiences (i.e., reminiscing) among 146 maltreating and 73 nonmaltreating mothers and their 3- to 6-year-old children. Recent studies demonstrate that maltreating mothers engage in less elaborative reminiscing compared with nonmaltreating mothers. To further explicate the nature of reminiscing among maltreating families, we examined maternal and child contributions to reminiscing, their interrelations, and associations with maternal attachment among dyads from maltreating and nonmaltreating families...
January 3, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Michelle A Hurst, Sara Cordes
Fraction and decimal concepts are notoriously difficult for children to learn yet are a major component of elementary and middle school math curriculum and an important prerequisite for higher order mathematics (i.e., algebra). Thus, recently there has been a push to understand how children think about rational number magnitudes in order to understand how to promote rational number understanding. However, prior work investigating these questions has focused almost exclusively on fraction notation, overlooking the open questions of how children integrate rational number magnitudes presented in distinct notations (i...
January 3, 2018: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Xu Du, Jian Hao
Specific emotions, especially guilt, are considered to facilitate children's prosocial behavior. The current study differentiated moral stories with a helping theme in terms of the valence and source of emotions and aimed to clarify the effect of these stories on preschoolers' helping intentions and behavior. A total of 322 preschoolers between 4 and 6 years old were randomly assigned to four experimental groups and one control group. A specific type of moral story was presented to each of the experimental groups, whereas a nonmoral story was presented to the control group...
December 28, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
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