Developmental Science

Cover image for Vol. 16 Issue 5

Special Issue: Socioeconomic Disparities in Neurocognitive Development

September 2013

Volume 16, Issue 5

Pages i–ii, 639–792


    1. Top of page
    4. PAPERS
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      Issue Information (pages i–ii)

      Version of Record online: 27 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12004


    1. Top of page
    4. PAPERS
    1. Associations between children's socioeconomic status and prefrontal cortical thickness (pages 641–652)

      Gwendolyn M. Lawson, Jeffrey T. Duda, Brian B. Avants, Jue Wu and Martha J. Farah

      Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12096

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      Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) predicts executive function performance and measures of prefrontal cortical function, but little is known about its anatomical correlates. Structural MRI and demographic data from a sample of 283 healthy children from the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development were used to investigate the relationship between SES and prefrontal cortical thickness. Specifically, we assessed the association between two principal measures of childhood SES, family income and parental education, and gray matter thickness in specific subregions of prefrontal cortex and on the asymmetry of these areas.

    2. Higher education is an age-independent predictor of white matter integrity and cognitive control in late adolescence (pages 653–664)

      Kimberly G. Noble, Mayuresh S. Korgaonkar, Stuart M. Grieve and Adam M. Brickman

      Version of Record online: 25 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12077

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      Socioeconomic status is an important predictor of cognitive development and academic achievement. Late adolescence provides a unique opportunity to study how the attainment of socioeconomic status (in the form of years of education) relates to cognitive and neural development, during a time when age-related cognitive and neural development is ongoing. During late adolescence it is possible to disambiguate age- and education-related effects on the development of these processes.

    3. What are the links between maternal social status, hippocampal function, and HPA axis function in children? (pages 665–675)

      Margaret A. Sheridan, Joan How, Melanie Araujo, Michelle A. Schamberg and Charles A. Nelson

      Version of Record online: 7 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12087

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      The association of parental social status with multiple health and achievement indicators in adulthood has driven researchers to attempt to identify mechanisms by which social experience in childhood could shift developmental trajectories. Some accounts for observed linkages between parental social status in childhood and health have hypothesized that early stress exposure could result in chronic disruptions in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, and that this activation could lead to long-term changes. A robust literature in adult animals has demonstrated that chronic HPA axis activation leads to changes in hippocampal structure and function.

    4. Socioeconomic status and functional brain development – associations in early infancy (pages 676–687)

      Przemyslaw Tomalski, Derek G. Moore, Helena Ribeiro, Emma L. Axelsson, Elizabeth Murphy, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Mark H. Johnson and Elena Kushnerenko

      Version of Record online: 7 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12079

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      Socioeconomic status (SES) impacts on both structural and functional brain development in childhood, but how early its effects can be demonstrated is unknown. In this study we measured resting baseline EEG activity in the gamma frequency range in awake 6–9-months-olds from areas of East London with high socioeconomic deprivation. Between-subject comparisons of infants from low- and high-income families revealed significantly lower frontal gamma power in infants from low-income homes. Our result show that the effects of socioeconomic disparities on brain activity can already be detected in early infancy, potentially pointing to very early risk for language and attention difficulties.

    5. Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and young adult working memory: the protective role of self-regulatory capacity (pages 688–696)

      Gary W. Evans and Thomas E. Fuller-Rowell

      Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12082

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      Prior research shows that childhood poverty as well as chronic stress can damage children's executive functioning (EF) capacities, including working memory. However, it is also clear that not all children suffer the same degree of adverse consequences from risk exposure. We show that chronic stress early in life (ages 9–13) links childhood poverty from birth to age 13 to young adult working memory.

    6. Linking childhood poverty and cognition: environmental mediators of non-verbal executive control in an Argentine sample (pages 697–707)

      Sebastián Lipina, Soledad Segretin, Julia Hermida, Lucía Prats, Carolina Fracchia, Jorge López Camelo and Jorge Colombo

      Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12080

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      Tests of attentional control, working memory, and planning were administered to compare the non-verbal executive control performance of healthy children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, mediations of several sociodemographic variables, identified in the literature as part of the experience of child poverty, between socioeconomic status and cognitive performance were assessed. Results show: (1) significant differences in performance between groups in most dependent variables analyzed – however, not in all variables associated with attentional control domains; (2) significant indirect effects of literacy activities on working memory and fluid processing domains, as well as computer resources effects on fluid processing; and (3) marginal indirect effects of computer resources on attentional control and working memory domains.

    7. Commentary: Neurocognitive consequences of socioeconomic disparities (pages 708–712)

      Helen Neville, Courtney Stevens, Eric Pakulak and Theodore A. Bell

      Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12081


    1. Top of page
    4. PAPERS
    1. Blocking a redundant cue: what does it say about preschoolers' causal competence? (pages 713–727)

      Heidi Kloos and Vladimir M. Sloutsky

      Version of Record online: 11 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12047

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      The current study investigates the degree to which preschoolers can engage in causal inferences in a blocking paradigm, a paradigm in which a cue is consistently linked with a target, either alone (A-T) or paired with another cue (AB-T).Unlike previous blocking studies with preschoolers, we manipulated the causal structure of the events without changing the specific contingencies. In particular, cues were said to be either potential causes (prediction condition), or they were said to be potential effects (diagnosis condition).

    2. The effect of early visual deprivation on the development of face detection (pages 728–742)

      Catherine J. Mondloch, Sidney J. Segalowitz, Terri L. Lewis, Jane Dywan, Richard Le Grand and Daphne Maurer

      Version of Record online: 8 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12065

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      The expertise of adults in face perception is facilitated by their ability to rapidly detect that a stimulus is a face. In two experiments, we examined the role of early visual input in the development of face detection by testing patients who had been treated as infants for bilateral congenital cataract. Experiment 1 indicated that, at age 9 to 20, patients' accuracy and response times on a Mooney face detection task were normal, but the underlying neural correlates (see Figure) were not.

    3. Neural responses to witnessing peer rejection after being socially excluded: fMRI as a window into adolescents' emotional processing (pages 743–759)

      Carrie L. Masten, Naomi I. Eisenberger, Jennifer H. Pfeifer and Mirella Dapretto

      Version of Record online: 8 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12056

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      During adolescence, concerns about peer rejection and acceptance become increasingly common. Adolescents regularly experience peer rejection firsthand and witness these behaviors among their peers. In the current study, neuroimaging techniques were employed to conduct a preliminary investigation of the affective and cognitive processes involved in witnessing peer acceptance and rejection – specifically when these witnessed events occur in the immediate aftermath of a firsthand experience with rejection. Activity during observed inclusion versus exclusion in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (subACC) that is positively related to participants' self-reported rejection sensitivity.

    4. Learning to look: probabilistic variation and noise guide infants' eye movements (pages 760–771)

      Kristen Swan Tummeltshammer and Natasha Z. Kirkham

      Version of Record online: 28 MAY 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12064

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      Young infants have demonstrated a remarkable sensitivity to probabilistic relations among visual features (Fiser & Aslin, ; Kirkham et al., ). Previous research has raised important questions regarding the usefulness of statistical learning in an environment filled with variability and noise, such as an infant's natural world. In an eye-tracking experiment, 8-month-old infants viewed sequences of spatio-temporal events with three different transitional probabilities (1.0-Deterministic, 0.75-High probability, and 0.5-Low probability).

    5. Mapping subcortical brain maturation during adolescence: evidence of hemisphere- and sex-specific longitudinal changes (pages 772–791)

      Meg Dennison, Sarah Whittle, Murat Yücel, Nandita Vijayakumar, Alexandria Kline, Julian Simmons and Nicholas B. Allen

      Version of Record online: 11 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12057

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      Early to mid-adolescence is an important developmental period for subcortical brain maturation, but longitudinal studies of these neurodevelopmental changes are lacking. The present study acquired repeated magnetic resonance images from 60 adolescent subjects (28 female) at ages 12.5 and 16.5 years to map changes in subcortical structure volumes. Automated segmentation techniques optimized for longitudinal measurement were used to delineate volumes of the caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, pallidum, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and the whole brain.

    6. A Winner of 2012 Developmental Science Early Career Research Prize (page 792)

      Charles A. Nelson, Michelle de Haan, Paul Quinn and Daniel Ansari

      Version of Record online: 27 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12115