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Child Development Perspectives

Audun Dahl
Much of developmental science aims to explain how or whether children's experiences influence their thoughts and actions. Developmental theories make assumptions and claims-what I call ecological commitments-about events outside research contexts. In this article, I argue that most developmental theories make ecological commitments about children's thoughts, actions, and experiences outside research contexts, and that these commitments sometimes go unstated and untested. I also argue that naturalistic methods can provide evidence for or against ecological commitments, and that naturalistic and experimental studies address unique yet complementary questions...
June 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Stefanie Mollborn
Over the past two decades, births to U.S. teenagers have fallen and no longer follow overall fertility patterns. Yet the unique challenges faced by teenage mothers and their families justify continued research. Across disciplines, newer work has furthered our understanding of teenage motherhood today. In this article, I highlight four areas of progress: processes of selection into teenage motherhood, the broader consequences of teenage childbearing beyond the socioeconomic realm, heterogeneity of effects, and the application of life course principles...
March 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Aerika Brittian Loyd, Brittney V Williams
Effective programs for youth can reduce problem behaviors and promote positive development. In particular, cultural assets (e.g., ethnic-racial identity) are important for African American youth's health and development. In this article, we argue that youth programs represent an important social context for African American youth's development of positive ethnic-racial identity and we present a conceptual framework for understanding how such programs may affect African American youth's development in this area...
March 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Carol McDonald Connor
In this article, I present a developmental model of how children learn to comprehend what they read, which builds on current models of reading comprehension and integrates findings from instructional research and evidence-based models of development in early and middle childhood. The lattice model holds that children's developing reading comprehension is a function of the interacting, reciprocal, and bootstrapping effects of developing text-specific, linguistic, and social-cognitive processes, which interact with instruction as child-characteristic-by-instruction (CXI) interaction effects...
December 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Peter J Marshall
We are recognizing increasingly that the study of cognitive, social, and emotional processes must account for their embodiment in living, acting beings. The related field of embodied cognition (EC) has coalesced around dissatisfaction with the lack of attention to the body in cognitive science. For developmental scientists, the emphasis in the literature on adult EC on the role of the body in cognition may not seem particularly novel, given that bodily action was central to Piaget's theory of cognitive development...
December 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Jennifer E Lansford, Marc H Bornstein, Kirby Deater-Deckard, Kenneth A Dodge, Suha M Al-Hassan, Dario Bacchini, Anna Silvia Bombi, Lei Chang, Bin-Bin Chen, Laura Di Giunta, Patrick S Malone, Paul Oburu, Concetta Pastorelli, Ann T Skinner, Emma Sorbring, Laurence Steinberg, Sombat Tapanya, Liane Peña Alampay, Liliana Maria Uribe Tirado, Arnaldo Zelli
International research on parenting and child development can advance our understanding of similarities and differences in how parenting is related to children's development across countries. Challenges to conducting international research include operationalizing culture, disentangling effects within and between countries, and balancing emic and etic perspectives. Benefits of international research include testing whether findings regarding parenting and child development replicate across diverse samples, incorporating cultural and contextual diversity to foster more inclusive and representative research samples and investigators than has typically occurred, and understanding how children develop in proximal parenting and family and distal international contexts...
September 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Jukka M Leppänen
Infants have a natural tendency to look at adults' faces, possibly to help initiate vital interactions with caregivers during sensitive periods of development. Recent studies using eye-tracking technologies have identified the mechanisms that underlie infants' capacity to orient and hold attention on faces. These studies have shown that the bias for faces is weak in young infants, but becomes more robust and resistant to distraction during the second half of the 1st year. This development is apparently related to more general changes in infants' attention and control of eye movement...
September 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Allan Wigfield, Jessica Gladstone, Lara Turci
The authors review research on children's reading motivation and its relation to their reading comprehension. They begin by discussing work on the development of school motivation in general and reading motivation in particular, reviewing work showing that many children's reading motivation declines over the school years. Girls tend to have more positive motivation for reading than do boys, and there are ethnic differences in children's reading motivation. Over the last 15 years researchers have identified in both laboratory and classroom-based research instructional practices that positively impact students' reading motivation and ultimately their reading comprehension...
September 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Emily C Merz, Katia M Harlé, Kimberly G Noble, Robert B McCall
In studies of children adopted from institutions, being raised in an institution has been associated consistently with an increased risk of persistent cognitive, academic, and social-emotional problems. These findings raise questions about the neurocognitive mechanisms that contribute to these negative outcomes. Theory and models based on studies of animals indicate that development of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and executive function (EF) may be particularly susceptible to environmental influences during early childhood...
June 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Ramesh S Bhatt, Alyson Hock, Hannah White, Rachel Jubran, Ashley Galati
Although we know much about the development of face processing, we know considerably less about the development of body knowledge-despite bodies also being significant sources of social information. One set of studies indicated that body structure knowledge is poor during the 1st year of life and spawned a model that posits that, unlike the development of face knowledge, which benefits from innate propensities and dedicated learning mechanisms, the development of body knowledge relies on general learning mechanisms and develops slowly...
March 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Kristin Pauker, Amanda Williams, Jennifer R Steele
The ability to discriminate visually based on race emerges early in infancy: 3-month-olds can perceptually differentiate faces by race and 6-month-olds can perceptually categorize faces by race. Between ages 6 and 8 years, children can sort others into racial groups. But to what extent are these abilities influenced by context? In this article, we review studies on children's racial categorization and discuss how our conclusions are affected by how we ask the questions (i.e., our methods and stimuli), where we ask them (i...
March 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Gayla Margolin, Michelle C Ramos, Adela C Timmons, Kelly F Miller, Sohyun C Han
Children who grow up in aggressive households are at risk of having problems with physiological regulation, but researchers have not investigated physiology as a mechanism in the intergenerational transmission of aggression. In this article, we posit that physiological regulation, particularly during stressful interpersonal interactions, may shed light on sensitivity to conflict, It can also inform our understanding of associations between childhood exposure to aggression in families of origin and aggression against partners in adolescence or adulthood...
March 1, 2016: Child Development Perspectives
Pamela E Davis-Kean, Justin Jager, Julie Maslowsky
Secondary data analysis of large longitudinal and national data sets is a standard method used in many social sciences to answer complex questions regarding behavior. In this article, we detail the advantages of using these data sets to study developmental questions across the lifespan. First, we provide an overview of how using secondary data can increase studies' scientific integrity. Then, we detail where and how data sets can be obtained that answer specific questions. Finally, we discuss methodological issues related to using longitudinal, population data sets...
December 1, 2015: Child Development Perspectives
K Paige Harden, Frank D Mann
Adolescence is a time of increasing engagement in a variety of problem behaviors, including substance use and delinquency. Genetic risk for problem behavior increases over adolescence, is mediated partially by individual differences in sensation seeking, and is exacerbated by involvement with deviant peers. In this article, we describe how findings from behavioral genetic research on problem behavior intersect with research from developmental neuroscience. In particular, the incentive-processing system, including the ventral striatum, responds increasingly to rewards in adolescence, particularly in peer contexts...
December 2015: Child Development Perspectives
Rebecca L Gómez, Jamie O Edgin
Sleep is an important physiological state for the consolidation and generalization of new learning in children and adults. We review the literature on sleep-dependent memory consolidation and generalization in infants and preschool children and place the findings in the context of the development of the neural systems underlying memory (hippocampus and its connections to cortex). Based on the extended trajectory of hippocampal development, transitions in the nature of sleep-dependent learning are expected. The studies reviewed here show shifts in the nature of sleep-dependent learning across early childhood, with sleep facilitating generalization in infants but enhancing precise memory after 18-24 months of age...
September 2015: Child Development Perspectives
Robert L Wagmiller
Economic deprivation during childhood adversely affects achievement in adolescence and early adulthood. Economically disadvantaged children tend to achieve less than their more advantaged peers on a variety of measures of educational and socioeconomic achievement. Researchers recognize that what matters for achievement is not merely exposure to economic deprivation during childhood but also the temporal dynamics of deprivation. Recent studies have found that the effects of childhood economic disadvantage on achievement depend on the timing of deprivation (early childhood versus middle or late childhood), the sequencing of deprivation (whether family income is rising or falling), and the overall duration of exposure to deprivation...
September 1, 2015: Child Development Perspectives
Kimberly J Saudino, Lauren Micalizzi
In this article, we describe three emerging trends in the application of behavioral genetic methods to the study of temperament. The trends-using multiple methods to assess temperament, considering contextual influences on temperament, and evaluating the structure of temperament-have been well studied in the phenotypic literature, but adding a behavioral genetic perspective can enrich our understanding of temperament. We review recent behavioral genetic research in each of these areas and discuss its implications...
September 2015: Child Development Perspectives
Gustaf Gredebäck, Moritz M Daum
In this article, we review recent evidence of infants' early competence in perceiving and interpreting the actions of others. We present a theoretical model that decomposes the timeline of action perception into a series of distinct processes that occur in a particular order. Once an agent is detected, covert attention can be allocated to the future state of the agent (priming), which may lead to overt gaze shifts that predict goals (prediction). Once these goals are achieved, the consequence of the agents' actions and the manner in which the actions were performed can be evaluated (evaluation)...
June 2015: Child Development Perspectives
Sarah C Kucker, Bob McMurray, Larissa K Samuelson
In this article, we review literature on word learning and propose a theoretical account of how lexical knowledge and word use emerge and develop over time. We contend that the developing lexical system is built on processes that support children's in-the-moment word usage interacting with processes that create long-term learning. We argue for a new characterization of word learning in which simple mechanisms like association and competition, and the interaction between the two, guide children's selection of referents and word use in the moment...
June 2015: Child Development Perspectives
Ellen Bialystok
This paper reviews research examining the effect of bilingualism on children's cognitive development, and in particular, executive function. Studies reporting bilingual advantages in various tasks are described with the purpose of identifying the process or executive function component that might be responsible for this bilingual advantage. Several possibilities are discussed, such as inhibitory control. Finally, the role of attention is proposed as a fundamental process that initiates developmental differences in bilingual children from as early as infancy...
June 1, 2015: Child Development Perspectives
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