Developmental Science

Cover image for Vol. 17 Issue 6

November 2014

Volume 17, Issue 6

Pages i–ii, 809–1049

  1. Issue Information

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    1. You have free access to this content
      Issue Information (pages i–ii)

      Article first published online: 25 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12121

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    1. Staring us in the face? An embodied theory of innate face preference (pages 809–825)

      Nick Wilkinson, Ali Paikan, Gustaf Gredebäck, Francesco Rea and Giorgio Metta

      Article first published online: 20 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12159

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      Human expertise in face perception grows over development, but even within minutes of birth, infants exhibit an extraordinary sensitivity to face-like stimuli. The dominant theory accounts for innate face detection by proposing that the neonate brain contains an innate face detection device, dubbed Conspec. Newborn face preference has been promoted as some of the strongest evidence for innate knowledge, and forms a canonical stage for the modern form of the nature-nurture debate in psychology.

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    1. Redundant constraints on human face perception? (pages 826–827)

      Linda B. Smith and Swapnaa Jayaraman

      Article first published online: 19 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12200

    2. Binocular correlation model of face preference: how good, how simple? (pages 828–830)

      David Méary, Martial Mermillod and Olivier Pascalis

      Article first published online: 19 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12201

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    1. How good? Better. How simple? Simpler. And testable to boot (pages 831–832)

      Nick Wilkinson, Ali Paikan, Gustaf Gredebäck, Francesco Rea and Giorgio Metta

      Article first published online: 19 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12199

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    1. Neonatal imitation predicts how infants engage with faces (pages 833–840)

      Annika Paukner, Elizabeth A. Simpson, Pier F. Ferrari, Timothy Mrozek and Stephen J. Suomi

      Article first published online: 3 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12207

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      We investigated whether neonatal imitation predicts facial viewing patterns in infant rhesus macaques. Following lipsmacking (a core affiliative gesture) and tongue protrusion imitation tests in the first week of life, we presented infants with an animated macaque avatar displaying a still face followed by lipsmacking or tongue protrusion movements when infants were 10-28 days old. Using eye tracking technology, we found that macaque infants generally looked equally at the eyes and mouth during gesture presentation, but only lipsmacking-imitators showed significantly more looking at the eyes of the neutral still face.

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    1. Learning to imitate individual finger movements by the human neonate (pages 841–857)

      Emese Nagy, Attila Pal and Hajnalka Orvos

      Article first published online: 22 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12163

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      Imitation in human neonates, unlike imitation in young infants, is still regarded as controversial. Four studies with 203 newborns are presented to examine the imitation of index finger, two- and three-finger movements in human neonates. Results found differential imitations of all three modelled gestures, a left-handed pattern, and a rapid learning mechanism.

    2. Learning and consolidation of new spoken words in autism spectrum disorder (pages 858–871)

      Lisa Henderson, Anna Powell, M. Gareth Gaskell and Courtenay Norbury

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12169

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      This study examines whether individual differences in vocabulary knowledge in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be partly explained by a difficulty with consolidating newly learned spoken words and/or their integration with existing knowledge. Nineteen boys with ASD and 19 typically developing (TD) boys matched on age and vocabulary knowledge showed similar improvements in recognition and recall of novel words (e.g. “biscal”) 24 hours after training, suggesting an intact ability to consolidate explicit knowledge of new spoken word forms. However, they showed striking differences in the extent to which they integrated the new words with existing lexical knowledge (indexed by lexical competition between new and existing words).

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    1. Do 6-month-olds understand that speech can communicate? (pages 872–879)

      Athena Vouloumanos, Alia Martin and Kristine H. Onishi

      Article first published online: 19 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12170

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      Do infants recognize that speech can communicate due to their experience understanding and producing language, or do they appreciate that speech is communicative earlier, with little such experience? We examined whether 6-month-olds recognize that unfamiliar speech can communicate information about a target object. Results showed that when a Communicator used unfamiliar speech, infants looked longer when the Recipient selected the non-target object rather than the target object. However infants did not show the same pattern when the Communicator used a coughing vocalization unless the Recipient had prior information about which was the target object. By 6 months infants have some abstract understanding of the communicative function of speech that may provide an early mechanism for language and knowledge acquisition.

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    1. Look who's talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development (pages 880–891)

      Nairán Ramírez-Esparza, Adrián García-Sierra and Patricia K. Kuhl

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12172

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      Language input is necessary for language learning, yet little is known about whether, in natural environments, the speech style and social context of language input to children impacts language development. In the present study we investigated the relationship between language input and language development, examining both the style of parental speech, comparing ‘parentese’ speech to standard speech, and the social context in which speech is directed to children, comparing one-on-one (1:1) to group social interactions. Importantly, the language input variables were assessed at home using digital first-person perspective recordings of the infants' auditory environment as they went about their daily lives (N = 26, 11- and 14-months-old).

    2. 123s and ABCs: developmental shifts in logarithmic-to-linear responding reflect fluency with sequence values (pages 892–904)

      Michelle Hurst, K. Leigh Monahan, Elizabeth Heller and Sara Cordes

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12165

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      When placing numbers along a number line with endpoints 0 and 1000, children generally space numbers logarithmically until around the age of 7, when they shift to a predominantly linear pattern of responding. This developmental shift of responding on the number placement task has been argued to be indicative of a shift in the format of the underlying representation of number (Siegler & Opfer, ). In the current study, we provide evidence from both child and adult participants to suggest that performance on the number placement task may not reflect the structure of the mental number line, but instead is a function of the fluency (i.e. ease) with which the individual can work with the values in the sequence.

    3. Understanding the mapping between numerical approximation and number words: evidence from Williams syndrome and typical development (pages 905–919)

      Melissa E. Libertus, Lisa Feigenson, Justin Halberda and Barbara Landau

      Article first published online: 1 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12154

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      All numerate humans have access to two systems of number representation: an exact system that is argued to be based on language and that supports formal mathematics, and an Approximate Number System (ANS) that is present at birth and appears independent of language. Here we examine the interaction between these two systems by comparing the profiles of people with Williams syndrome (WS) with those of typically developing children between ages 4 and 9 years. WS is a rare genetic deficit marked by fluent and well-structured language together with severe spatial deficits, deficits in formal math, and abnormalities of the parietal cortex, which is thought to subserve the ANS.

    4. Egocentric and allocentric navigation strategies in Williams syndrome and typical development (pages 920–934)

      Hannah J. Broadbent, Emily K. Farran and Andy Tolmie

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12176

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      Recent findings suggest that difficulties on small-scale visuospatial tasks documented in Williams syndrome (WS) also extend to large-scale space. In particular, individuals with WS often present with difficulties in allocentric spatial coding (encoding relationships between items within an environment or array). This study examined the effect of atypical spatial processing in WS on large-scale navigational strategies, using a novel 3D virtual environment.

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    1. Effects of posture on tactile localization by 4 years of age are modulated by sight of the hands: evidence for an early acquired external spatial frame of reference for touch (pages 935–943)

      Jannath Begum Ali, Dorothy Cowie and Andrew J. Bremner

      Article first published online: 25 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12184

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      Adults show a deficit in their ability to localize tactile stimuli to their hands when their arms are in the less familiar, crossed posture. It is thought that this “crossed-hands deficit” arises due to a conflict between the anatomical and external spatial frames of reference within which touches can be encoded. The ability to localize a single tactile stimulus applied to one of the two hands across uncrossed-hands and crossed-hands postures was investigated in typically developing children (aged 4 to 6 years). The effect of posture was also compared across conditions in which children did, or did not have, visual information about current hand posture. All children, including the 4-year-olds, demonstrated the crossed hands deficit when they did not have sight of hand posture, suggesting that touch is located in an external reference frame by this age. In this youngest age-group, when visual information about current hand posture was available, tactile localization performance was impaired specifically when the children's hands were uncrossed. We propose that this may be due to an early difficulty with integrating visual representations of the hand within the body schema.

  10. COMMENTARY

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    1. Development of the spatial coding of touch: ability vs. automaticity (pages 944–945)

      Brigitte Röder, Tobias Heed and Stephanie Badde

      Article first published online: 25 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12186

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    1. The origins of ability and automaticity in tactile spatial perception (pages 946–947)

      Andrew J. Bremner, Jannath Begum Ali and Dorothy Cowie

      Article first published online: 25 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12185

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    1. Implicit meaning in 18-month-old toddlers (pages 948–955)

      Claire Delle Luche, Samantha Durrant, Caroline Floccia and Kim Plunkett

      Article first published online: 13 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12164

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      A substantial body of evidence demonstrates that infants understand the meaning of spoken words from as early as 6 months. Yet little is known about their ability to do so in the absence of any visual referent, which would offer diagnostic evidence for an adult-like, symbolic interpretation of words and their use in language mediated thought. We used the head-turn preference procedure to examine whether infants can generate implicit meanings from word forms alone as early as 18 months of age, and whether they are sensitive to meaningful relationships between words.

    2. Are bilingual children better at ignoring perceptually misleading information? A novel test (pages 956–964)

      Meghan C. Goldman, James Negen and Barbara W. Sarnecka

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12175

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      This study compared monolingual and bilingual children's performance on a numerical discrimination task. Children, ages 3 to 6 years, were asked which of two arrays had “more dots.” Half of the trials were congruent (numerically greater array was larger in total area), and half were incongruent (numerically greater array was smaller in total area). Bilinguals did not perform differently from monolinguals either in identifying which array had more dots or at selectively attending to number. The present study thus finds no evidence of a bilingual advantage on this task.

  13. PAPER

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    1. Can't stop believing: inhibitory control and resistance to misleading testimony (pages 965–976)

      Vikram K. Jaswal, Koraly Pérez-Edgar, Robyn L. Kondrad, Carolyn M. Palmquist, Caitlin A. Cole and Claire E. Cole

      Article first published online: 8 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12187

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      Some young children consistently believe what they are told even when it conflicts with something they have seen. We show that these ‘deferential’ children have more difficulty inhibiting a dominant response than ‘skeptical’ children who favor perceptual evidence. We suggest that not believing testimony can be challenging because it requires inhibiting a normally adaptive bias to believe information other people provide.

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    1. Follow the liar: the effects of adult lies on children's honesty (pages 977–983)

      Chelsea Hays and Leslie J. Carver

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12171

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      Recent research shows that most adults admit they lie to children. We examined the effects of adults' lies on elementary and preschool-aged children's behavior using a modified temptation resistance paradigm, in which children are tempted to peek at a toy they have been told not to look at, and later given a chance to either admit peeking, or try to conceal their transgression by lying. School age, but not preschool children were more likely both to peek and lie if they were first lied to by an adult. Implications of the results for parenting, education, and the legal system are discussed.

    2. Teaching moral reasoning through gesture (pages 984–990)

      Leanne Beaudoin-Ryan and Susan Goldin-Meadow

      Article first published online: 23 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12180

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      A common thread weaving throughout these two educational initiatives is the ability to take multiple perspectives – increases in perspective taking ability have been found to precede advances in moral reasoning. We propose gesture as a behavior uniquely situated to augment perspective taking ability. Requiring gesture during spatial tasks has been shown to catalyze the production of more sophisticated problem-solving strategies, allowing children to profit from instruction. Our data demonstrate that requiring gesture during moral reasoning tasks has similar effects, resulting in increased perspective taking ability subsequent to instruction.

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    1. Social class differences produce social group preferences (pages 991–1002)

      Suzanne R. Horwitz, Kristin Shutts and Kristina R. Olson

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12181

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      Some social groups are higher in socioeconomic status than others and the former tend to be favored over the latter. The present research investigated whether observing group differences in wealth alone can directly cause children to prefer wealthier groups. In Experiment 1, 4–5-year-old children developed a preference for a wealthy novel group over a less wealthy group. . In Experiment 2, children did not develop preferences when groups differed by another kind of positive/negative attribute (i.e. living in brightly colored houses vs. drab houses), suggesting that wealth is a particularly meaningful group distinction.

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    1. Interpersonal synchrony increases prosocial behavior in infants (pages 1003–1011)

      Laura K. Cirelli, Kathleen M. Einarson and Laurel J. Trainor

      Article first published online: 12 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12193

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      Infants (14 months of age) who were bounced in synchrony with an experimenter's movements were subsequently more likely to help that person compared to infants who were bounced asynchronously. Infants who were bounced at the same tempo, but in anti-phase with the experimenter, also showed increased helping. This indicates that synchronous, but not necessarily identical, interpersonal movement promotes social bonds and can lead to altruistic behavior early in life.

  17. PAPERS

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    1. Fathers' versus mothers' social referencing signals in relation to infant anxiety and avoidance: a visual cliff experiment (pages 1012–1028)

      Eline L. Möller, Mirjana Majdandžić and Susan M. Bögels

      Article first published online: 9 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12194

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      Using a visual cliff paradigm, we studied whether social referencing processes between fathers and their infants differed from mothers and their infants. Eighty-one infants aged 10–15 months were randomly assigned to conduct the visual cliff task with their father (n = 41) or mother (n = 40). Paternal, but not maternal, expressed anxiety was positively associated with infant expressed anxiety and avoidance, suggesting that social referencing processes between fathers and their infants differ from those between mothers and their infants.

    2. Kin rejection: social signals, neural response and perceived distress during social exclusion (pages 1029–1041)

      Anirudh Sreekrishnan, Tania A. Herrera, Jia Wu, Jessica L. Borelli, Lars O. White, Helena J.V. Rutherford, Linda C. Mayes and Michael J. Crowley

      Article first published online: 9 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12191

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      Kin rejection was examined by looking at neural responses in children and their mothers while playing the computer game Cyberball. Responses, specifically the frontal P2 and slow wave, were selectively greater for rejection by kin than by stranger.

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    1. Reducing an in-group bias in preschool children: the impact of moral behavior (pages 1042–1049)

      Chelsea Hetherington, Caroline Hendrickson and Melissa Koenig

      Article first published online: 19 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12192

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      How impressionable are in-group biases in early childhood? Previous research shows that children display robust preferences for members of their own social group, but also condemn those who harm others. The current study investigates children's evaluations of agents when their group membership and moral behavior come into conflict. Results highlight the remarkable flexibility of children's in-group bias: while moral information curbed this bias on explicit social evaluations, children's selective learning decisions were still driven by group information.

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