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Developmental Science

Elizabeth Wakefield, Miriam A Novack, Eliza L Congdon, Steven Franconeri, Susan Goldin-Meadow
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...
April 16, 2018: Developmental Science
Maria E Barnes-Davis, Stephanie L Merhar, Scott K Holland, Darren S Kadis
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)...
April 16, 2018: Developmental Science
Kyle MacDonald, Todd LaMarr, David Corina, Virginia A Marchman, Anne Fernald
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...
April 16, 2018: Developmental Science
Lucy Foulkes, Jovita T Leung, Delia Fuhrmann, Lisa J Knoll, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
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...
April 15, 2018: Developmental Science
Sam V Wass, Kaili Clackson, Stanimira D Georgieva, Laura Brightman, Rebecca Nutbrown, Victoria Leong
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)...
April 6, 2018: Developmental Science
Karen Yirmiya, Nancy L Segal, Guy Bloch, Ariel Knafo-Noam
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...
April 6, 2018: Developmental Science
Elena Luchkina, David M Sobel, James L Morgan
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...
March 22, 2018: Developmental Science
Maxine Lai, Alexandra Zax, Hilary Barth
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...
March 22, 2018: Developmental Science
Mathilde Fort, Imme Lammertink, Sharon Peperkamp, Adriana Guevara-Rukoz, Paula Fikkert, Sho Tsuji
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...
March 15, 2018: Developmental Science
Elizabeth M Wakefield, Casey Hall, Karin H James, Susan Goldin-Meadow
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...
March 15, 2018: Developmental Science
Joe Bathelt, Susan E Gathercole, Sally Butterfield, Duncan E Astle
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...
March 13, 2018: Developmental Science
Gregor Kachel, Richard Moore, Michael Tomasello
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...
March 12, 2018: Developmental Science
Özlem Ece Demir-Lira, Salomi S Asaridou, Anjali Raja Beharelle, Anna E Holt, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Steven L Small
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...
March 8, 2018: Developmental Science
Tracy M Centanni, Elizabeth S Norton, Anne Park, Sara D Beach, Kelly Halverson, Ola Ozernov-Palchik, Nadine Gaab, John DE Gabrieli
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...
March 5, 2018: Developmental Science
Pilar Archila-Suerte, Elizabeth A Woods, Christine Chiarello, Arturo E Hernandez
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...
February 26, 2018: Developmental Science
Delphine Sasanguie, Helene Vos
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...
February 7, 2018: Developmental Science
Mengmeng Su, Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Jingjing Zhao, Shuang Song, Wei Zhou, Gaolang Gong, Catherine McBride, Franck Ramus, Hua Shu
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...
February 6, 2018: Developmental Science
Patrick A O'Connor, Kinga Morsanyi, Teresa McCormack
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...
January 25, 2018: Developmental Science
Kevanne Louise Sanger, Guillaume Thierry, Dusana Dorjee
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...
January 22, 2018: Developmental Science
Hazel I Blythe, Jonathan H Dickins, Colin R Kennedy, Simon P Liversedge
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...
January 22, 2018: Developmental Science
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