Developmental Science

Cover image for Vol. 18 Issue 6

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)

Edited By: Charles A. Nelson, Michelle de Haan, and Paul C. Quinn

Impact Factor: 3.808

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 7/68 (Psychology Developmental); 8/85 (Psychology Experimental)

Online ISSN: 1467-7687


  1. 1 - 73
  1. Papers

    1. Beyond naïve cue combination: salience and social cues in early word learning

      Daniel Yurovsky and Michael C. Frank

      Article first published online: 17 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12349

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      Over the first two years, children appear to rely more on social and less on perceptual cues to learn the meanings of words. One account of this development is that children may gradually learn that social cues are more reliable than perceptual cues. In two experiments, however, we show that these changes emerge not from learning the predictive power of social cues, but instead from the gradual development of attention, memory, and speed of information processing.

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      Transitive inference of social dominance by human infants

      Regina Paxton Gazes, Robert R. Hampton and Stella F. Lourenco

      Article first published online: 16 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12367

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      We used a violation-of-expectation paradigm to compare looking time to test videos of social dominance interactions that were congruent (expected) or incongruent (unexpected) with inferred social dominance relations between three puppets. Infants as young as 10 months looked longer to the incongruent than to the congruent test trials, and control conditions (one of which is depicted here) ruled out the possibility that these differences were due to expectations about the behavior of individual puppets. These results indicate that competence with TI in the social domain emerges as early as 10 months of age and may be supported by nonverbal, phylogenetically ancient ordinal and visuospatial processes.

    3. Bilingual enhancements have no socioeconomic boundaries

      Jennifer Krizman, Erika Skoe and Nina Kraus

      Article first published online: 16 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12347

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      To understand how socioeconomic status (SES) and bilingualism simultaneously operate on cognitive and sensory function, we examined executive control, language skills, and subcortical neural processing of sound in adolescents who differed in language experience (i.e. English monolingual or Spanish-English bilingual) and level of maternal education (a proxy for SES). Adolescent bilinguals of both low and high SES demonstrate more stable neural responses, stronger phonemic decoding skills, and heightened executive control, relative to their monolingual peers. These results support the argument that bilingualism can bolster cognitive and neural function in adolescents regardless of SES.

  2. Original Articles

    1. The neurodynamics of emotion: delineating typical and atypical emotional processes during adolescence

      Aaron S. Heller and B.J. Casey

      Article first published online: 8 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12373

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      This paper presents a multi-level model of adolescent development highlighting emotional temporal neurodynamics. At the circuit level, maturation of cortico-subcortical circuitry from adolescence to adulthood involves increased prefrontal input to subcortical circuitry. At the neural level, developmental changes in frontoamygdala connectivity are proposed to lead to more effective regulation of subcortical limbic regions via more sustained PFC engagement. At the psychological level, rapid fluctuation in emotions and moods during adolescence is attributed to less capacity to regulate heightened emotional reactivity.

  3. Papers

    1. The origins of word learning: Brain responses of 3-month-olds indicate their rapid association of objects and words

      Manuela Friedrich and Angela D. Friederici

      Article first published online: 8 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12357

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      Three-month-old infants learned pairings of eight novel objects and eight novel words within only four consistent repetitions, but they did not retain them in long-term memory until the next day. In the memory test infants relearned the combinations, even though objects and words were paired consistently in only half of their overall pairings. Instead of the N400 component that evidences the learning of word meanings in the ERP of older infants, a late left-hemispheric negativity indicated the learning of object-word pairings in 3-month-olds. This result represents the first neurophysiological distinction between ‘higher’ lexical-semantic learning and associative ‘proto-word’ learning.

    2. Relation of infant motor development with nonverbal intelligence, language comprehension and neuropsychological functioning in childhood: a population-based study

      Fadila Serdarevic, Tamara van Batenburg-Eddes, Sabine E. Mous, Tonya White, Albert Hofman, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, Frank C. Verhulst, Akhgar Ghassabian and Henning Tiemeier

      Article first published online: 8 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12326

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      Early infant motor development, assessed by hands-on examination at around age 3 months, predicted immediate visual memory and mental rotation in school children in a population-based study of 3356 children.

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      Categorization in infancy: labeling induces a persisting focus on commonalities

      Nadja Althaus and Kim Plunkett

      Article first published online: 5 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12358

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      Twelve-month-old infants were familiarized with a novel object category in silence or with labels. Infants succeeded in forming a new category in both conditions. However, the processes underlying category formation differ when familiarization objects are presented with or without labels. In the absence of labels infants' attention is drawn to variability in category features. The presence of labels promotes attention to the commonalities between category exemplars.

    4. On the relationship between phonological awareness, morphological awareness and Chinese literacy skills: evidence from an 8-year longitudinal study

      Jinger Pan, Shuang Song, Mengmeng Su, Catherine McBride, Hongyun Liu, Yuping Zhang, Hong Li and Hua Shu

      Article first published online: 5 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12356

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      This article investigates the longitudinal relationship between preliterate and post-literate phonological awareness and morphological awareness, and their contributions to Chinese literacy skills. Our results suggest the importance of preliterate syllable awareness and post-literate morphological awareness in Chinese literacy skills. These findings underscore the unique relation of syllable awareness and morphological awareness in Chinese as they are mapped onto a character, which is the basic unit in Chinese reading.

  4. Short Reports

    1. Action observation network in childhood: a comparative fMRI study with adults

      Laura Biagi, Giovanni Cioni, Leonardo Fogassi, Andrea Guzzetta, Giuseppina Sgandurra and Michela Tosetti

      Article first published online: 5 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12353

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      In this study, functional MRI was used to explore the activation of the action-observation network in children and adults. Respect to adults, children show a similar pattern of fMRI activation for observation of manual action, but less lateralized and with a higher inter-subject variability. Moreover, as in adults, the anterior intraparietal cortices (AIP) of children present a hand identity effect, showing higher response during observation of the contralateral hand (hand identity effect) and during the observation of complex actions relative to simple grasping acts.

    2. Longitudinal evidence linking processing speed to the development of reasoning

      Robert V. Kail, Arne Lervåg and Charles Hulme

      Article first published online: 5 NOV 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12352

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      This longitudinal study examined the direct effects of age-related change in processing speed on reasoning as well as indirect effects of processing speed mediated by working memory. The findings indicated that faster processing speed is associated longitudinally with improved reasoning but indirect influences via working memory were less consistent.

  5. Articles

    1. Preschool children's control of action outcomes

      Livia Freier, Richard P. Cooper and Denis Mareschal

      Article first published online: 27 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12354

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      Preschoolers' strategy-guided acting differed for 3- and 5-year-olds on a naturalistic colouring task. All children attained goals at subordinate levels of the goal hierarchy but only 5-year-olds monitored action outcomes in line with the overarching goal of the task.

  6. Papers

    1. Splenium development and early spoken language in human infants

      Meghan R. Swanson, Jason J. Wolff, Jed T. Elison, Hongbin Gu, Heather C. Hazlett, Kelly Botteron, Martin Styner, Sarah Paterson, Guido Gerig, John Constantino, Stephen Dager, Annette Estes, Clement Vachet, Joseph Piven and for the IBIS Network

      Article first published online: 21 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12360

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      The association between developmental trajectories of language-related white matter fiber pathways from 6 to 24 months of age and individual differences in language production at 24 months of age were investigated in 77 typically developing infants. The rate of change in splenium development varied significantly as a function of language production, such that children with greater change in fractional anisotropy from 6 to 24 months produced more words at 24 months (blue solid line in figure). These findings highlight the importance of tracing brain development trajectories from infancy to fully elucidate emerging brain-behavior associations while also emphasizing the role of the splenium as a key node in the structural network that supports the acquisition of spoken language.

  7. Short Reports

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      Native Amazonian children forego egalitarianism in merit-based tasks when they learn to count

      Julian Jara-Ettinger, Edward Gibson, Celeste Kidd and Steve Piantadosi

      Article first published online: 21 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12351

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      In the Tsimane', a farming-foraging group from the Bolivian amazon, children who can count are more likely to take merit into account when distributing resources, compared to children who cannot count.

  8. Papers

    1. Effect of socioeconomic status (SES) disparity on neural development in female African-American infants at age 1 month

      Laura M. Betancourt, Brian Avants, Martha J. Farah, Nancy L. Brodsky, Jue Wu, Manzar Ashtari and Hallam Hurt

      Article first published online: 21 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12344

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      Relationships between SES and neural development have been shown in older children, however, less is known regarding the impact of SES on neural development in infants. We examined effects of SES on cortical gray, deep gray, and white matter volumes in term, healthy, appropriate for gestational age, African-American, female infants at 5 weeks of age and found that lower SES was associated with smaller cortical gray and deep gray matter volumes. These SES effects on neural outcome at such a young age build on similar studies of older children, suggesting that the biological embedding of adversity may occur very early in development.

    2. Difficult temperament and negative parenting in early childhood: a genetically informed cross-lagged analysis

      Lauren Micalizzi, Manjie Wang and Kimberly J. Saudino

      Article first published online: 21 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12355

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      Individual differences in difficult temperament and negative parenting in early childhood are due to genetic, shared environmental, and nonshared environmental effects. In addition to contemporaneous associations at ages 2 and 3, there is evidence of a bidirectional association between difficult temperament and negative parenting across this period that is due to genetic and environmental influences.

    3. Facial speech gestures: the relation between visual speech processing, phonological awareness, and developmental dyslexia in 10-year-olds

      Gesa Schaadt, Claudia Männel, Elke van der Meer, Ann Pannekamp and Angela D. Friederici

      Article first published online: 21 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12346

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      Studies demonstrated impaired auditory speech processing in individuals with developmental dyslexia (DD), but visual aspects of speech processing have hardly been investigated. We analyzed the visual Mismatch Response (vMMR) to mouth movements silently pronouncing syllables in school children with and without DD. Children without DD show a posterior vMMR, whereas children with DD show an anterior vMMR, which was more pronounced in children with severe phonological deficits. As anterior MMR scalp distributions are typically observed for auditory speech processing, the anterior vMMR of children with DD might suggest an attempt to anticipate potentially upcoming auditory speech information in order to support phonological processing.

    4. Lexical leverage: category knowledge boosts real-time novel word recognition in 2-year-olds

      Arielle Borovsky, Erica M. Ellis, Julia L. Evans and Jeffrey L. Elman

      Article first published online: 9 OCT 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12343

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      We measured novel word recognition in 24 month old children as a function of whether newly learned words came from relatively dense or sparse semantic categories. Results indicated that words were recognized more reliably when words came from dense categories. The findings suggest that young children recognize links between novel and known word meanings and leverage this knowledge during word learning.

    5. Functional brain organization for number processing in pre-verbal infants

      Laura A. Edwards, Jennifer B. Wagner, Charline E. Simon and Daniel C. Hyde

      Article first published online: 22 SEP 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12333

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      We investigated functional brain organization for numerical processing in pre-verbal infants using fNIRS. We show that sensitivity to numerosity change is restricted to right parietal cortex and responses to number can be functionally and spatially dissociated from the broader visual-attentional response. These results suggest a strict brain lateralization and specialization for numerosity before the acquisition of a symbolic number system.

    6. Challenging gender stereotypes: Theory of mind and peer group dynamics

      Kelly Lynn Mulvey, Michael T. Rizzo and Melanie Killen

      Article first published online: 22 SEP 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12345

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      To investigate the social-cognitive skills related to challenging gender stereotypes, children (N = 61, 3–6 years) evaluated a peer who challenged gender stereotypic norms held by the peer's group. Participants with false belief theory of mind (FB ToM) competence were more likely than participants who did not have FB ToM to expect a peer to challenge the group's stereotypes and propose that the group engage in a non-stereotypic activity. Further, participants with FB ToM rated challenging the peer group more positively.

    7. Development of infants' segmentation of words from native speech: a meta-analytic approach

      Christina Bergmann and Alejandrina Cristia

      Article first published online: 9 SEP 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12341

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      In a meta-analysis, we addressed how infants across different ages segment words from continuous speech in their native language. Based on previous popular theoretical and experimental work, we expected infants to display familiarity preferences early on, with a switch to novelty preferences as infants become more proficient at processing and segmenting native speech. The combined results from 168 experiments reporting on data gathered from 3774 infants revealed a persistent familiarity preference across all ages. There was no significant effect of additional factors, including native language and experiment design. Further analyses revealed no sign of selective data collection or reporting. We conclude that models of infant information processing that are frequently cited in this domain may not, in fact, apply in the case of segmenting words from native speech.

    8. Emotional experience in music fosters 18-month-olds' emotion–action understanding: a training study

      Tik Sze Carrey Siu and Him Cheung

      Article first published online: 9 SEP 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12348

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      Training 15-month-olds to recognize emotions via interactive musical activities not only enhances their appreciation of musical expressiveness, but also promotes their affective interpretation of behaviour.

    9. The influence of power and reason on young Maya children's endorsement of testimony

      Thomas Castelain, Stéphane Bernard, Jean-Baptiste Van der Henst and Hugo Mercier

      Article first published online: 9 SEP 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12336

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      Children from a traditional Maya community were more likely to endorse testimony supported by a good argument (Experiment 1), provided by a dominant (Experiment 2), and supported by a good argument provided by a subordinate (Experiments 3 and 4).

    10. Infants’ unprovoked acts of force toward others

      Audun Dahl

      Article first published online: 25 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12342

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      It is often thought that infants hit, bite, or kick others more often than older children merely because infants cannot regulate their frustration in response to provocation. Contrary to this view, two studies showed that a large proportion of acts of force in the second year are unprovoked and not accompanied by distress.

    11. Developmental consequences of behavioral inhibition: a model in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

      Katie Chun and John P. Capitanio

      Article first published online: 25 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12339

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      Although behavioral inhibition can result in an increased risk for anxiety and depression and decreased social behavior later in life, some studies have found that the stability of behavioral inhibition can be moderated by different factors. In a rhesus monkey model of behavioral inhibition, behaviorally inhibited juveniles showed increased anxious behaviors in response to relocation and decreased social behaviors in naturalistic conditions, however, as adults, behaviorally inhibited animals showed discontinuity in social behavior, which may be related to the quality of interactions early in life.

    12. Brain and behavioral inhibitory control of kindergartners facing negative emotions

      Tali Farbiash and Andrea Berger

      Article first published online: 18 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12330

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      Inhibitory control (IC) - one of the most critical functions underlying a child's ability to self-regulate - develops significantly throughout the kindergarten years. Experiencing negative emotions imposes challenges on executive functioning and may specifically affect IC. In this study, we examined kindergartners' IC and its related brain activity during a negative emotional situation. We found that theta power within the N2 window was increased in NoGo trials of the negative emotional block (B), compared to the non-negative emotional blocks (A and C). This increase reflects the recruitment of emotional and attentional resources needed when children were asked to cope with their negative emotions and exert inhibitory control under this challenging condition.

    13. Bimodal emotion congruency is critical to preverbal infants’ abstract rule learning

      Angeline Sin Mei Tsui, Yuen Ki Ma, Anna Ho, Hiu Mei Chow and Chia-huei Tseng

      Article first published online: 17 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12319

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      Pre-verbal infants can extract grammar-like abstract rules (e.g. A-A-B) from repeated sequence exposure. We discovered that simultaneous visual-auditory presentation enhanced this rule acquisition, but only when the visual- and auditory- stimuli were congruently paired. In this case, the emotional contents determined whether infants benefit from bimodal abstract rule learning.

    14. Developmental changes between childhood and adulthood in passive observational and interactive feedback-based categorization rule learning

      Rubi Hammer, Jim Kloet and James R. Booth

      Article first published online: 11 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12338

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      We tested autonomous observational category learning (OCL) and feedback-based category learning (FBCL) skills of elementary school children and adults. Early-phase FBCL performances in the two age groups were matched, but the OCL performances of adults were higher than those of children. Performances in post learning categorization tasks indicated that in FBCL tasks children directly learn the associations between an object and a category label, whereas in the OCL tasks they first learn which feature-dimensions were relevant.

    15. The irreversibility of sensitive period effects in language development: evidence from second language acquisition in international adoptees

      Gunnar Norrman and Emanuel Bylund

      Article first published online: 11 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12332

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      A prominent hypothesis holds that a second language can be more successfully acquired if the learner's first language is lost. We compared second language learners who had either lost their first language (adoptee learners) or maintained it (immigrant learners). Results showed that first language loss does not promote successful second language learning, and instead suggest that age of acquisition is the crucial factor.

    16. The development of implicit gender attitudes

      Yarrow Dunham, Andrew Scott Baron and Mahzarin R. Banaji

      Article first published online: 11 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12321

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      Children's preference for their own gender emerges early in childhood. Thereafter, boys and girls show strikingly different patterns of development. Girls' attitudes, measured at both the implicit and explicit level, remain stable. By contrast, boys' attitudes show a marked decline in strength, ending at pro-female attitudes as measured explicitly and relative neutrality as measured implicitly.

    17. Electrophysiological evidence of phonetic normalization across coarticulation in infants

      Karima Mersad and Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz

      Article first published online: 9 AUG 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12325

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      Preverbal infants can compute automatically consonant representation, independently of the vocalic context. Infants share with adults a similar neural architecture suitable for computing phonetic representations from the first months of life.

    18. Individual differences in neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention in preschoolers from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds: an event-related potentials study

      Elif Isbell, Amanda Hampton Wray and Helen J. Neville

      Article first published online: 31 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12334

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      To assess neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) during a dichotic listening paradigm from 124 preschoolers from lower SES backgrounds. We observed prominent individual differences in neural indices of selective attention. These individual differences were associated with nonverbal IQ performance. Children with more pronounced ERP attention effects, i.e., larger mean amplitude differences between the ERPs elicited by identical probes embedded in stories when attended versus unattended, had higher nonverbal IQ scores.

    19. Delayed Match Retrieval: a novel anticipation-based visual working memory paradigm

      Zsuzsa Kaldy, Sylvia B. Guillory and Erik Blaser

      Article first published online: 31 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12335

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      Here we introduce a novel eye-tracking paradigm (Delayed Match Retrieval) to test infants’ visual working memory (VWM) using anticipatory gaze responses. 10-month-olds were able to reliably maintain two object-location bindings over a 1.5-second delay. Our paradigm can be readily scaled up to test toddlers and older children as well.

    20. Relationships between event-related potentials and behavioral and scholastic measures of reading ability: A large-scale, cross-sectional study

      Negin Khalifian, Mallory C. Stites and Sarah Laszlo

      Article first published online: 30 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12329

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      This report presents the results of a very large (N > 100) developmental ERP study that aimed to link ERP component amplitudes with behavioral and scholastic measures of reading achievement. Results indicate a primacy of phonological ERP components for predicting scholastic reading success.

    21. Probing the nature of deficits in the ‘Approximate Number System’ in children with persistent Developmental Dyscalculia

      Stephanie Bugden and Daniel Ansari

      Article first published online: 30 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12324

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      In this study, children with persistent dyscalculia (DD) exhibited (a) larger Weber fraction and (b) greater error rates when the size of the individual dot stimuli were incongruent with the more numerous dot array during a non-symbolic numerical discrimination task compared to typically developing children. These findings reveal that indices commonly used to assess internal numerical representations are affected by visual perceptual variables and affects children with DD to a greater extent than their typically developing peers. Multiple explanations for the present set of findings are discussed herein.

    22. Neuro-oscillatory mechanisms of intersensory selective attention and task switching in school-aged children, adolescents and young adults

      Jeremy W. Murphy, John J. Foxe and Sophie Molholm

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12316

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      The amplitude of alpha band oscillations (~10Hz) modulates as a function of selective attention. These modulatory effects are considered to reflect attentional regulation of sensory information processing. Here we tested the developmental trajectory of these processes in a cued cross-sensory selective attention design in participants ranging in age from 8 to 34 years of age. Cross-sensory attention related alpha modulation in the cue-target interval was present even in the youngest participants, whereas age differences were reflected in greater behavioral costs as well as reduced switch-specific alpha modulation in the youngest group on trials in which the participant was cued to switch between attended sensory modalities. These data suggest that the ability to fully bring these attentional processes online is still developing in childhood, with implications for more attentionally taxing situations.

    23. Integration of audio-visual information for spatial decisions in children and adults

      Marko Nardini, Jennifer Bales and Denis Mareschal

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12327

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      Children aged 4–12 years and adults were faster at localising audio-visual targets given both senses together compared with either alone. All groups' reaction times were best explained by integration (pooling) of sensory information. These results provide new evidence for early and sustained abilities to integrate visual and auditory signals for spatial localisation from a young age.

    24. On the edge of language acquisition: inherent constraints on encoding multisyllabic sequences in the neonate brain

      Alissa L. Ferry, Ana Fló, Perrine Brusini, Luigi Cattarossi, Francesco Macagno, Marina Nespor and Jacques Mehler

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12323

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      We used near-infrared spectroscopy to show that neonates detected a change in a six-syllabic sequence if the edge syllables switched position, but not if two middle syllables switched position, suggesting that neonates better encode the edge syllables. However, if a 25ms pause was inserted between the two middle syllables as a prosodic boundary, neonates detected the switch. These findings suggest that there are inherent constraints on how newborns encode sequences of syllables and that these constraints can be modulated by prosodic cues in speech.

    25. Risky visuomotor choices during rapid reaching in childhood

      Tessa M. Dekker and Marko Nardini

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12322

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      We tracked the development of visuomotor decision-making during childhood, using a task in which participants rapidly reached towards targets to win points whilst avoiding penalty regions that incurred loss. Adults aimed for locations on the screen (Touched Location) with the highest expected score (Max Gain Location), while children aged 6–11 years aimed too close to the penalty region (data below the dotted identity line), with detrimental effects on their scores. This reveals a clear, age-related shift towards more optimal visuomotor decision-making across childhood and adulthood, with overly risk-seeking action selection between ages 6 and 11 years.

    26. Longitudinal relations among exuberance, externalizing behaviors, and attentional bias to reward: the mediating role of effortful control

      Santiago Morales, Koraly Pérez-Edgar and Kristin Buss

      Article first published online: 15 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12320

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      Attention bias towards reward was positively predicted by exuberance, negatively predicted by effortful control, and positively related to externalizing problems. The longitudinal path between exuberance and attention bias to reward was mediated by effortful control.

    27. Electrophysiological correlates of observational learning in children

      Julia M. Rodriguez Buritica, Ben Eppinger, Nicolas W. Schuck, Hauke R. Heekeren and Shu-Chen Li

      Article first published online: 12 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12317

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      We showed that the oFRN differentiated between negative and positive observed action-outcomes of others and may serve as a measure of observational learning in school-aged children. Moreover, we found that the oFRN showed a trend of being larger when observing other children compared to observing adults.

    28. Small on the left, large on the right: numbers orient visual attention onto space in preverbal infants

      Hermann Bulf, Maria Dolores de Hevia and Viola Macchi Cassia

      Article first published online: 12 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12315

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      This work addresses the origins of the link between numbers and oriented spatial codes, as hypothesized under the‘mental number line’ model of numerical representation. Using a Posner-like task, we found that numerical (arrays of dots), but not non-numerical (size), cues orient 8-9 month-old infants' visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left-to-right oriented representational continuum. This evidence shows that a tendency to associate numbers onto spatial positions along a left-to-right oriented axis emerges before humans learn to read, write or count on their hands, and before acquisition of symbolic knowledge, supporting to the view that the number line is not merely a product of human invention.

    29. Child-directed teaching and social learning at 18 months of age: evidence from Yucatec Mayan and US infants

      Laura Shneidman, Suzanne Gaskins and Amanda Woodward

      Article first published online: 12 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12318

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      We considered 18 month old infants' imitative learning from child-directed and observed interaction in two cultural communities: a Yucatec Mayan village where infants have been described as experiencing relatively limited direct instruction (Study 1) and a US city where infants are regularly directly engaged (Study 2). Infants participated in a within-subjects study design where they were directly taught to use novel objects on one day and observed actors using different objects on another day. Mayan infants' imitation did not relate to condition, whereas US infants who were directly addressed on their first visit showed significantly higher overall imitation rates than infants who observed on their first visit.

    30. Identifying learning patterns of children at risk for Specific Reading Disability

      Baptiste Barbot, Suzanna Krivulskaya, Sascha Hein, Jodi Reich, Philip E. Thuma and Elena L. Grigorenko

      Article first published online: 2 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12313

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      This study explores the relationship between foreign language vocabulary acquisition and Specific Reading Disability (SRD) and suggests ways in which foreign language assessments can be a useful tool for understanding how children at risk for SRD and not at risk for SRD learn vocabulary differently.

    31. Rethinking the concepts of ‘local or global processors’: evidence from Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorders

      Dean D'Souza, Rhonda Booth, Monica Connolly, Francesca Happé and Annette Karmiloff-Smith

      Article first published online: 25 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12312

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      This cross-syndrome, cross-task, cross-modality comparison demonstrates that, in contrast to the traditional view, individuals with a neurodevelopmental disorder cannot be characterised as having a specific local or global processing style. Here we show that—contrary to claims in the literature—participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Williams syndrome failed to show a consistent local processing bias, while those with Down syndrome failed to show a reliable global processing bias.

    32. A mathematical model of the evolution of individual differences in developmental plasticity arising through parental bet-hedging

      Willem E. Frankenhuis, Karthik Panchanathan and Jay Belsky

      Article first published online: 24 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12309

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      We formalize Jay Belsky's bet-hedging hypothesis of differential plasticity. Results support the hypothesis' logical coherence, but only under restrictive conditions. Our model suggests novel avenues for empirically testing the bet-hedging hypothesis.

    33. What would Batman do? Self-distancing improves executive function in young children

      Rachel E. White and Stephanie M. Carlson

      Article first published online: 21 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12314

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      Self-distancing (by taking a third person perspective on the self or taking the perspective of an exemplar other) improved executive function in 5-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds. Preliminary evidence suggests that these age-related differences could be attributable, at least in part, to improvements in theory of mind.

    34. Impaired face detection may explain some but not all cases of developmental prosopagnosia

      Kirsten A. Dalrymple and Brad Duchaine

      Article first published online: 10 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12311

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      We tested the face detection abilities of seven children with developmental prosopagnosia (DP) using two tests of face detection (“faces among non-faces” and “faces among face parts” search tasks). Four of the children with DP were impaired at face detection to some degree, while the remaining three children had normal face detection. We conclude that impaired face detection may explain some, but not all, cases of developmental prosopagnosia.

    35. Three-year-olds express suspense when an agent approaches a scene with a false belief

      Henrike Moll, Sarah Kane and Luke McGowan

      Article first published online: 1 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12310

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      Research on early false belief understanding has entirely relied on affect-neutral measures such as judgments (standard tasks), attentional allocation (looking duration, preferential looking, anticipatory looking), or active intervention. We used a novel, affective measure to test whether preschoolers affectively anticipate another?s misguided acts. In two experiments, 3-year-olds showed more expressions of suspense (by, e.g. brow furrowing or lip biting) when they saw an agent approach a scene with a false as opposed to a true belief (Experiment 1) or ignorance (Experiment 2). This shows that the children anticipated the agent?s surprise and disappointment when encountering reality. The findings suggest that early implicit knowledge of false beliefs includes anticipations of the affective implications of erring. This vital dimension of beliefs should no longer be ignored in research on early theory of mind.

    36. Investigating cognitive transfer within the framework of music practice: genetic pleiotropy rather than causality

      Miriam A. Mosing, Guy Madison, Nancy L. Pedersen and Fredrik Ullén

      Article first published online: 1 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12306

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      We examined cognitive transfer within the framework of music practice using a genetically informative sample. We showed that when controlling for genetic influences the association between practice and IQ disappeared, suggesting no causal association between music practice and IQ. Our findings suggest that associations between training and cognitive abilities do not necessarily reflect far transfer, but rather suggest preexisting differences influence both training and cognitive ability.

    37. Infants’ grip strength predicts mu rhythm attenuation during observation of lifting actions with weighted blocks

      Michaela B. Upshaw, Raphael A. Bernier and Jessica A. Sommerville

      Article first published online: 1 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12308

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      Research has established that bodily experience influences activation of the shared neural system underlying action perception and production; however, whether bodily characteristics influence action perception and its underlying neural system is unknown. We measured grip strength in 12-month-old infants and investigated relations with mu rhythm attenuation, an electroencephalographic correlate of the neural system underlying action perception, during observation of lifting actions performed with differently weighted blocks. We found that infants with higher grip strength exhibited significant mu attenuation during observation of lifting actions, whereas infants with lower grip strength did not. Moreover, a progressively strong relation between grip strength and mu attenuation during observation of lifts was found with increased block weight.

    38. How to rapidly construct a spatial–numerical representation in preliterate children (at least temporarily)

      Katarzyna Patro, Ursula Fischer, Hans-Christoph Nuerk and Ulrike Cress

      Article first published online: 1 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12296

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      In the present study, we examine how spatial-numerical associations (SNAs) can be formed in children before they learn to read and write. We designed a non-numerical attentional training in which 3- and 4-year-olds had to move an object either from left to right or from right to left. Such a training induced SNA in a respective direction. We conclude that even simple visuo-motor activities which precede formal literacy training can support the link between numbers and space.

    39. Narrowing in categorical responding to other-race face classes by infants

      Paul C. Quinn, Kang Lee, Olivier Pascalis and James W. Tanaka

      Article first published online: 20 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12301

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      White 6-month-olds categorically represent the distinction between Black and Asian faces, whereas White 9-month-olds form a broad other-race category inclusive of Black and Asian faces, but exclusive of own-race White faces. The findings provide evidence that experience-based narrowing can occur for mental processes other than discrimination: category formation is also affected. Nine-month-old representation of face race may be a precursor of an initial race-based ingroup-outgroup partitioning of faces.

    40. Hot executive function following moderate-to-late preterm birth: altered delay discounting at 4 years of age

      Amanda S. Hodel, Jane E. Brumbaugh, Alyssa R. Morris and Kathleen M. Thomas

      Article first published online: 14 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12307

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      Preschool-aged children born moderate-to-late preterm (32–36 weeks gestation) were less likely to choose larger, delayed rewards on a delay discounting task, but performed more similarly to their full-term peers on a delay aversion task involving abstract rewards and on measures of cool executive functioning. Results imply children born moderate-to-late preterm may be at increased risk for atypical development of reward processing and/or hot executive function, potentially due to early differences in prefrontal cortex development.

    41. Animal, but not human, faces engage the distributed face network in adolescents with autism

      Elisabeth M. Whyte, Marlene Behrmann, Nancy J. Minshew, Natalie V. Garcia and K. Suzanne Scherf

      Article first published online: 14 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12305

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      High functioning adolescents (HFA) with autism and age-matched typically developing (TD) adolescents completed MRI scans as they observed human and animal faces. Compared to TD adolescents, HFA adolescents exhibited hypo-activation in the face-processing system only to human, but not animal, faces. This atypical neural response to human faces in autism may stem from abnormalities in the ability to represent the reward value of social (i.e. conspecific) stimuli.

    42. Young children with a positive reputation to maintain are less likely to cheat

      Genyue Fu, Gail D. Heyman, Miao Qian, Tengfei Guo and Kang Lee

      Article first published online: 14 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12304

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      Five-year-olds were less likely to cheat in a guessing game in the experimental conditions where they were informed of their existing good reputation than in the control condition. The findings suggest that by age 5, children are motivated to avoid behaviors that could put their positive reputations at risk.

    43. Preschoolers use phrasal prosody online to constrain syntactic analysis

      Alex de Carvalho, Isabelle Dautriche and Anne Christophe

      Article first published online: 14 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12300

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      In two experiments we investigated whether young children are able to use the position of a word within the prosodic structure to compute its syntactic category (noun vs. verb). Pairs of noun/verb homophones in French were used to create locally ambiguous sentences (e.g. [la petite ferme] [est jolie] the small farm is nice vs. [la petite] [ferme la fenêtre] the little girl closes the window where brackets indicate phonological phrase boundaries). Crucially, all words following the homophone were masked, such that prosodic cues were the only disambiguating information. Children successfully exploited prosody to assign the appropriate syntactic category to the target word in both an oral completion task (4.5-year-olds, Experiment 1) and in a preferential looking paradigm with an eye-tracker (3.5- and 4.5-year-olds, Experiment 2). Altogether, results show that upon hearing the first words of a sentence, even 3-year olds exploit prosody online to constrain their syntactic analysis.

    44. The over-pruning hypothesis of autism

      Michael S.C. Thomas, Rachael Davis, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Victoria C.P. Knowland and Tony Charman

      Article first published online: 6 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12303

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      This articles proposes a new hypothesis of the cause of autism, based on a neurocomputational model. The over-pruning hypothesis proposes that ASD results from over-pruning of brain connectivity early in development, particularly impacting long-range connections. The hypothesis generates a number of novel hypotheses that can be tested against new data emerging from studies of infants at risk of developing ASD. It proposes that a single underlying pathological mechanism interacts with population-wide variation in neurocomputational parameters to produce different trajectories of ASD including early onset, late onset, and regression.

    45. Cumulative risk disparities in children's neurocognitive functioning: a developmental cascade model

      Mark Wade, Dillon T. Browne, Andre Plamondon, Ella Daniel and Jennifer M. Jenkins

      Article first published online: 6 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12302

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      This study shows that social cognition at 18 months is associated with children's theory of mind and executive functioning at age 4.5, and that these effects operate through their language skills at age 3. This mechanism operates similarly for children from both low and high cumulative risk backgrounds. However, high-risk children show lower overall neurocognitive skill development, suggesting that early identification and intervention is important to mitigate the negative downstream consequences of neurocognitive morbidity.

    46. Affective matching of odors and facial expressions in infants: shifting patterns between 3 and 7 months

      Ornella Godard, Jean-Yves Baudouin, Benoist Schaal and Karine Durand

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12292

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      Odor stimuli are reliable elicitors of emotional expression and odor-vision interactions may occur early in development. Here, we investigated the infants' ability to match affective valence of pleasant/aversive odors and happy/disgusted faces. Overall, 3- to 7-month-old infants were biased toward the disgust faces. However, this bias reversed toward a bias for smiling faces in the context of a pleasant odorant for the 3-month-old infants.

    47. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Electrophysiological measures of resting state functional connectivity and their relationship with working memory capacity in childhood

      Jessica J. Barnes, Mark W. Woolrich, Kate Baker, Giles L. Colclough and Duncan E. Astle

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12297

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      We show that the spontaneous oscillatory activity recorded by magnetoencephalography (MEG) can be used to explore functional connectivity in childhood. Furthermore, the strength of particular connections at rest is significantly associated with children's spatial working memory capacity, as measured outside the scanner.

    48. Cross-linguistic interactions influence reading development in bilinguals: a comparison between early balanced French-Basque and Spanish-Basque bilingual children

      Marie Lallier, Joana Acha and Manuel Carreiras

      Article first published online: 5 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12290

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      Learning to read in French (an opaque orthography), but not in Spanish (a transparent orthography), in addition to Basque (a transparent orthography) favors the use of large grain lexical strategies to read difficult items in Basque: the lexical effect on reading improbable Basque items was larger in the French-Basque bilinguals than in the Spanish-Basque bilinguals.

    49. Do attitudes toward societal structure predict beliefs about free will and achievement? Evidence from the Indian caste system

      Mahesh Srinivasan, Yarrow Dunham, Catherine M. Hicks and David Barner

      Article first published online: 5 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12294

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      This figure indicates that Indian adults believe that members of lower castes are more willing to interact with members of higher castes than the reverse, indicating their understanding of the asymmetrical nature of the caste hierarchy. The present study finds that, beginning at least in middle school and continuing into adulthood, individuals who placed more importance on caste were more likely to adopt deterministic intuitive theories. We also found a developmental change in thescope of this relationship, such that in children, caste attitudes were linked only to abstract beliefs about personal freedom, but hat by adulthood, caste attitudes were also linked to beliefs about the potential achievement of members of different castes, personal intellectual ability, and personality attributes.

    50. When infants talk, infants listen: pre-babbling infants prefer listening to speech with infant vocal properties

      Matthew Masapollo, Linda Polka and Lucie Ménard

      Article first published online: 5 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12298

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      This is the first study to show that infants prefer listening to infant speech sounds over adult speech sounds. We indexed listening preferences in pre-babbling infants by measuring by how long they fixated on a static visual pattern presented in tandem with either an infant vowel sound or an adult vowel sound, as shown in this figure. Probing further we found that infants prefer both the voice pitch (f0) and the formant structure of infant speech sounds. This perceptual bias favoring infant vocal properties may help to illuminate important aspects of infant speech and language development. There has been a great deal of research focused on how infants perceive speech produced by adults, but if we want to understand how infants learn to monitor and perceive the speech they themselves produce, we need to study how they perceive infant speech signals, too.

    51. Effective learning and retention of braille letter tactile discrimination skills in children with developmental dyslexia

      Maisam Hayek, Shoshi Dorfberger and Avi Karni

      Article first published online: 5 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12285

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      We report robust performance gains and skill retention after practice in a tactile braille letter discrimination task in dyslexic individuals and their typical reading peers. The figure shows group averaged braille letter discrimination time (a) and the number of errors (b) for each block in the initial training session, at 24 hours post-training and in a test conducted two weeks post-training. The small initial advantage of the typical readers was not apparent in the latter two time points.

    52. Spontaneous non-verbal counting in toddlers

      Francesco Sella, Ilaria Berteletti, Daniela Lucangeli and Marco Zorzi

      Article first published online: 5 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12299

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      Two-and-a-half-year-olds watched the experimenter performing one-by-one insertion of ‘food tokens’ into an opaque animal puppet and then were asked to imitate the puppet-feeding behavior. Chidlren who focused on numerosity (Focusers) displayed a response distributions centered on the target numerosities and showed the classic variability signature that is attributed to the Approximate Number System. This shows that pre-counting children are capable of sequentially updating the numerosity of non-visible sets through additive operations and hold it in memory for reproducing the observed behavior.

    53. Relations between infants’ emerging reach-grasp competence and event-related desynchronization in EEG

      Erin N. Cannon, Elizabeth A. Simpson, Nathan A. Fox, Ross E. Vanderwert, Amanda L. Woodward and Pier F. Ferrari

      Article first published online: 5 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12295

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      A neural mirror system predicts that developments in infants' motor experience should be associated with the strength of EEG mu desynchronization during action observation.To explore this, 9-month-old infants reached for toys and observed an experimenter reaching for toys while EEG activity was recorded in the mu frequency band. We found greater mu desynchronization in scalp electrodes located over motor-related regions during action observation was associated with greater reach-grasp competence, suggesting an early emerging neural system integrating one's own actions with the perception of others' actions.

    54. Discourse bootstrapping: preschoolers use linguistic discourse to learn new words

      Jessica Sullivan and David Barner

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12289

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      We show that children as young as two can successfully learn a new word by inferring its relation to the surrounding discourse, although there are important developmental changes in children's ability to learn words from the discourse context. These data show that sophisticated inferential and pragmatic abilities may underlie children's early word learning.

  9. Short Reports

    1. The attentional ‘zoom-lens’ in 8-month-old infants

      Luca Ronconi, Laura Franchin, Eloisa Valenza, Simone Gori and Andrea Facoetti

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12288

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      Despite the fact that attentional orienting has been extensively studied in infancy, the zooming mechanism -- namely, the ability to distribute the attentional resources to a small or large portion of the visual field -- has never been tested before. Our results demonstrated, for the first time, that 8-month-old infants can rapidly adjust the attentional focus size during a pre-saccadic temporal window.

  10. Papers

    1. The sexual dimorphic association of cardiorespiratory fitness to working memory in children

      Eric S. Drollette, Mark R. Scudder, Lauren B. Raine, R. Davis Moore, Matthew B. Pontifex, Kirk I. Erickson and Charles H. Hillman

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12291

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      The present investigation examined the sexual dimorphic patterns of cardiorespiratory fitness to working memory in preadolescent children. Data were collected in three separate studies utilizing unique measures of working memory (i.e. the operation span task, the n-back task, or the Sternberg task). Results from all three samples revealed that higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels were associated with better working memory performance only for males with no such relation observed for females.

    2. Vowel bias in Danish word-learning: processing biases are language-specific

      Anders Højen and Thierry Nazzi

      Article first published online: 9 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12286

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      Many studies have shown a consonant bias in lexical processing in both infants and adults such that vowels are given less weight. The consonant bias has been assumed to be language-general. In the present study, Danish-learning infants were able to learn word pairs differing by a single vowel but not a single consonant, thereby showing a vowel bias. The result could be explained by the highly ‘vocalic’ nature of Danish phonology and suggests that processing biases arise from the characteristics of the ambient language rather than being present from birth.

    3. Visual size perception and haptic calibration during development

      Monica Gori, Luana Giuliana, Giulio Sandini and David Burr

      Article first published online: 12 SEP 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01183.x

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      It is still unclear how the visual system perceives accurately the size of objects at different distances. One suggestion, dating back to Berkeley’s famous essay, is that vision is calibrated by touch. If so, we may expect different mechanisms involved for near, reachable distances and far, unreachable distances. To study how the haptic system calibrates vision we measured size constancy in children (from 6 to 16 years of age) and adults, at various distances.


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