Developmental Science

Cover image for Vol. 17 Issue 2

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: 3.628

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 7/83 (Psychology Experimental); 9/65 (Psychology Developmental)

Online ISSN: 1467-7687


  1. 1 - 54
  1. Papers

    1. Why the body comes first: effects of experimenter touch on infants' word finding

      Amanda Seidl, Ruth Tincoff, Christopher Baker and Alejandrina Cristia

      Article first published online: 16 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12182

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      The lexicon of 6-month-olds is comprised of names and body part words. Unlike names, body part words do not often occur in isolation in the input. This presents a puzzle: How have infants been able to pull out these words from the continuous stream of speech at such a young age? We hypothesize that caregivers' interactions directed at and on the infant's body may be at the root of their early acquisition of body part words.

    2. Words, shape, visual search and visual working memory in 3-year-old children

      Catarina Vales and Linda B. Smith

      Article first published online: 11 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12179

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      Do words cue children's visual attention, and if so, what are the relevant mechanisms? Across four experiments, 3-year-old children were tested in visual search tasks in which targets were cued with only a visual preview versus a visual preview and a spoken name. The experiments were designed to determine whether labels facilitated search times and to examine one route through which labels could have their effect: By influencing the visual working memory representation of the target. The results show that labels modulate the encoding of the target in working memory, which in turn influences the processing of visual information.

    3. Social class differences produce social group preferences

      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.

    4. Egocentric and allocentric navigation strategies in Williams syndrome and typical development

      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.

  2. Short Reports

    1. Are bilingual children better at ignoring perceptually misleading information? A novel test

      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.

  3. Papers

    1. Look who's talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development

      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. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Visual motherese? Signal-to-noise ratios in toddler-directed television

      Sam V. Wass and Tim J. Smith

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12156

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      Younger brains are noisier information processing systems; this means that information for younger individuals has to allow clearer differentiation between those aspects that are required for the processing task in hand (the ‘signal’) and those that are not (the ‘noise’). We compared toddler-directed and adult-directed TV programmes (TotTV/ATV). We examined how low-level visual features (that previous research has suggested influence gaze allocation) relate to semantic information, namely the location of the character speaking in each frame.

    3. Surprise! Infants consider possible bases of generalization for a single input example

      LouAnn Gerken, Colin Dawson, Razanne Chatila and Josh Tenenbaum

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12183

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      Infants have been shown to generalize from a small number of input examples. However, existing studies allow two possible means of generalization. One is via a process of noting similarities shared by several examples. Alternatively, generalization may reflect an implicit desire to explain the input. The latter view suggests that generalization might occur when even a single input example is surprising, given the learner's current model of the domain.

    4. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Training-induced recovery of low-level vision followed by mid-level perceptual improvements in developmental object and face agnosia

      Maria Lev, Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, Dana Gotthilf-Nezri, Oren Yehezkel, Joseph L. Brooks, Anat Perry, Shlomo Bentin, Yoram Bonneh and Uri Polat

      Article first published online: 4 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12178

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      Abnormal visual inputs during development can impair various visual functions, and it is unclear whether these can be corrected during adulthood. Here, visual training at the age of 20 significantly improved LG's underdeveloped basic and mid-level visual functions with long-term persistence in trained and also untrained visual functions.

  4. Target Article with Commentary and Response

    1. You have free access to this content
      False belief in infancy: a fresh look

      Cecilia Heyes

      Article first published online: 25 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12148

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      Can infants appreciate that others have false beliefs? Do they have a theory of mind? In this article I provide a detailed review of more than 20 experiments that have addressed these questions, and offered an affirmative answer, using nonverbal ‘violation of expectation’ and ‘anticipatory looking’ procedures. Although many of these experiments are both elegant and ingenious, I argue that their results can be explained by the operation of domain-general processes and in terms of ‘low-level novelty’.

  5. Original Articles

    1. How fresh a look? A reply to Heyes

      Rose M. Scott and Renée Baillargeon

      Article first published online: 25 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12173

  6. Response

  7. Short Reports

    1. Previous reward decreases errors of commission on later ‘No-Go’ trials in children 4 to 12 years of age: evidence for a context monitoring account

      Warren Winter and Margaret Sheridan

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12168

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      Inhibitory control is widely hypothesized to be the cornerstone of executive function in childhood and the central deficit in a number of developmental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, recent evidence from adults indicates that performance on response inhibition tasks may primarily reflect non-inhibitory attentional control (context monitoring) processes. Yet it may be that inhibition plays a more central role in childhood – a time when the architecture of cognitive processes might be more transparent due to wide variability in skill level.

    2. Follow the liar: the effects of adult lies on children's honesty

      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.

    3. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Neural bases of Theory of Mind in children with autism spectrum disorders and children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits

      Elizabeth O'Nions, Catherine L. Sebastian, Eamon McCrory, Kaylita Chantiluke, Francesca Happé and Essi Viding

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12167

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      The present study aimed to examine the neural underpinnings of Theory of Mind (ToM) in children (aged 10–16) with autism spectrum disorders (ASD; N &equals 16), conduct problems with high callous-unemotional traits (CP/HCU; N &equals 16) and typically developing (TD) controls (N &equals 16) using a non-verbal cartoon vignette task. The analyses indicated that neural responses did not differ between TD and CP/HCU groups during ToM. TD and CP/HCU children exhibited significantly greater medial prefrontal cortex responses during ToM than did the ASD group (see Figure). This supports behavioural evidence suggesting typical ToM in children with CP/HCU, as well as imaging studies showing reduced mPFC response during ToM in ASD.

    4. Spatial metaphor in language can promote the development of cross-modal mappings in children

      Shakila Shayan, Ozge Ozturk, Melissa Bowerman and Asifa Majid

      Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12157

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      Pitch is often described metaphorically: for example, Farsi and Turkish speakers use a ‘thickness’ metaphor (low sounds are ‘thick’ and high sounds are ‘thin’), while German and English speakers use a height metaphor (‘low’, ‘high’). This study examines how child and adult speakers of Farsi, Turkish, and German map pitch and thickness using a cross-modal association task. All groups, except for German children, performed significantly better than chance. This suggests language can boost cross-modal associations.

  8. Papers

    1. Learning and consolidation of new spoken words in autism spectrum disorder

      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).

    2. 123s and ABCs: developmental shifts in logarithmic-to-linear responding reflect fluency with sequence values

      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.

  9. Short Reports

    1. Implicit meaning in 18-month-old toddlers

      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.

  10. Papers

    1. Two rooms, two representations? Episodic-like memory in toddlers and preschoolers

      Nora S. Newcombe, Frances Balcomb, Katrina Ferrara, Melissa Hansen and Jessica Koski

      Article first published online: 13 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12162

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      Episodic memory involves binding together what-where-when associations. In three experiments, we tested the development of memory for such contextual associations in a naturalistic setting. Children searched for toys in two rooms with two different experimenters; each room contained two identical sets of four containers, but arranged differently. A distinct toy was hidden in a distinct container in each room.

  11. Short Reports

    1. Neural correlates of infant accent discrimination: an fNIRS study

      Alejandrina Cristia, Yasuyo Minagawa-Kawai, Natalia Egorova, Judit Gervain, Luca Filippin, Dominique Cabrol and Emmanuel Dupoux

      Article first published online: 13 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12160

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      The present study investigated the neural correlates of infant discrimination of very similar linguistic varieties (Quebecois and Parisian French) using functional Near InfraRed Spectroscopy. In line with previous behavioral and electrophysiological data, there was no evidence that 3-month-olds discriminated the two regional accents, whereas 5-month-olds did, with the locus of discrimination in left anterior perisylvian regions.

    2. A matter of time: rapid motor memory stabilization in childhood

      Esther Adi-Japha, Rodayna Badir, Shoshi Dorfberger and Avi Karni

      Article first published online: 13 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12132

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      Are children better than adults in acquiring new skills (‘how-to’ knowledge) because of a difference in skill memory consolidation? Here we tested the proposal that, as opposed to adults, children's memories for newly acquired skills are immune to interference by subsequent experience. In children, but not in adults, an interval of 15 min. between the training session and interfering experience sufficed to ensure the expression of delayed, consolidation phase, gains. In adults these gains remain susceptible to interference by the subsequent competing experience for several hours after training.

  12. Papers

    1. Young children ‘solve for x’ using the Approximate Number System

      Melissa M. Kibbe and Lisa Feigenson

      Article first published online: 3 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12177

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      The Approximate Number System (ANS) supports basic arithmetic computation in early childhood, but it is unclear whether the ANS also supports the more complex computations introduced later in formal education. ‘Solving for x’ in addend-unknown problems is notoriously difficult for children, who often struggle with these types of problems well into high school. Here we asked whether 4–6-year-old children could solve for an unknown addend using the ANS.

    2. Understanding the mapping between numerical approximation and number words: evidence from Williams syndrome and typical development

      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.

    3. The roles of family history of dyslexia, language, speech production and phonological processing in predicting literacy progress

      Julia M. Carroll, Ian R. Mundy and Anna J. Cunningham

      Article first published online: 1 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12153

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      It is well established that speech, language and phonological skills are closely associated with literacy, and that children with a family risk of dyslexia (FRD) tend to show deficits in each of these areas in the preschool years. This paper examines what the relationships are between FRD and these skills, and whether deficits in speech, language and phonological processing fully account for the increased risk of dyslexia in children with FRD. One hundred and fifty-three 4–6-year-old children, 44 of whom had FRD, completed a battery of speech, language, phonology and literacy tasks.

    4. Numerical predictors of arithmetic success in grades 1–6

      Ian M. Lyons, Gavin R. Price, Anniek Vaessen, Leo Blomert and Daniel Ansari

      Article first published online: 28 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12152

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      Math relies on mastery and integration of a wide range of simpler numerical processes and concepts. Recent work has identified several numerical competencies that predict variation in math ability. We examined the unique relations between eight basic numerical skills and early arithmetic ability in a large sample (N = 1391) of children across grades 1–6. In grades 1–2, children's ability to judge the relative magnitude of numerical symbols was most predictive of early arithmetic. The unique contribution of children's ability to assess ordinality in numerical symbols steadily increased across grades, overtaking all other predictors by grade 6.

    5. Parameter-based assessment of disturbed and intact components of visual attention in children with developmental dyslexia

      Johanna Bogon, Kathrin Finke, Gerd Schulte-Körne, Hermann J. Müller, Werner X. Schneider and Prisca Stenneken

      Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12150

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      People with developmental dyslexia (DD) have been shown to be impaired in tasks that require the processing of multiple visual elements in parallel. It has been suggested that this deficit originates from disturbed visual attentional functions. Using a parametric assessment based on a mathematically specified theory of visual attention, we compared visual attentional components in children with DD to those of typically developing children. Children with DD showed impairments in general attentional resources. In contrast, there was no evidence for impaired selectivity components. The findings are compared to results from a methodological highly comparable adult group study on dyslexia. We conclude that slowed perceptual processing speed is a primary visual attentional deficit in dyslexia. Furthermore, reduced VSTM storage capacity seems to modulate the difficulties in written language processing imposed by the disorder.

  13. Short Reports

    1. Early predictors of middle school fraction knowledge

      Drew H. Bailey, Robert S. Siegler and David C. Geary

      Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12155

      Recent findings that earlier fraction knowledge predicts later mathematics achievement raise the question of what predicts later fraction knowledge. Analyses of longitudinal data indicated that whole number magnitude knowledge in first grade predicted knowledge of fraction magnitudes in middle school, controlling for whole number arithmetic proficiency, domain general cognitive abilities, parental income and education, race, and gender. Similarly, knowledge of whole number arithmetic in first grade predicted knowledge of fraction arithmetic in middle school, controlling for whole number magnitude knowledge in first grade and the other control variables.

    2. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Neural specialization for speech in the first months of life

      Sarah Shultz, Athena Vouloumanos, Randi H. Bennett and Kevin Pelphrey

      Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12151

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      How does the brain's response to speech change over the first months of life? Although behavioral findings indicate that neonates' listening biases are sharpened over the first months of life, with a species-specific preference for speech emerging by 3 months, the neural substrates underlying this developmental change are unknown. We examined neural responses to speech compared with biological non-speech sounds in 1- to 4-month-old infants using fMRI. Infants heard speech and biological non-speech sounds, including heterospecific vocalizations and human non-speech.

  14. Papers

    1. Infants track word forms in early word–object associations

      Tania S. Zamuner, Laurel Fais and Janet F. Werker

      Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12149

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      A central component of language development is word learning. One characterization of this process is that language learners discover objects and then look for word forms to associate with these objects (Mcnamara, ; Smith, ). Another possibility is that word forms themselves are also important, such that once learned, hearing a familiar word form will lead young word learners to look for an object to associate with it (Jusczyk, ).

  15. Short Reports

    1. Detecting ‘infant-directedness' in face and voice

      Hojin I. Kim and Scott P. Johnson

      Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12146

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      Five- and 3-month-old infants' perception of infant-directed (ID) faces and the role of speech in perceiving faces were examined. Infants' eye movements were recorded as they viewed a series of two side-by-side talking faces, one infant-directed and one adult-directed (AD), while listening to ID speech, AD speech, or in silence. Infants showed consistently greater dwell time on ID faces vs. AD faces, and this ID face preference was consistent across all three sound conditions.

  16. Papers

    1. Effects of classroom bilingualism on task-shifting, verbal memory, and word learning in children

      Margarita Kaushanskaya, Megan Gross and Milijana Buac

      Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12142

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      We examined the effects of classroom bilingual experience in children on an array of cognitive skills. Monolingual English-speaking children were compared with children who spoke English as the native language and who had been exposed to Spanish in the context of dual-immersion schooling for an average of 2 years. The groups were compared on a measure of non-linguistic task-shifting; measures of verbal short-term and working memory; and measures of word learning.

    2. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Precursors to aggression are evident by 6 months of age

      Dale F. Hay, Cerith S. Waters, Oliver Perra, Naomi Swift, Victoria Kairis, Rebecca Phillips, Roland Jones, Ian Goodyer, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar and Stephanie van Goozen

      Article first published online: 25 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12133

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      Developmental precursors to aggression are apparent in infancy. Up to three informants rated 301 firstborn infants for early signs of anger and physical force; 279 (93%) were assessed again as toddlers, as depicted in the figure. Informants' ratings were validated by direct observation of peer interaction. The precursor behaviours were significantly associated with known risk factors for aggressiveness and significantly predicted later aggressive behavioural problems.

    3. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      When vision is not an option: children's integration of auditory and haptic information is suboptimal

      Karin Petrini, Alicia Remark, Louise Smith and Marko Nardini

      Article first published online: 25 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12127

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      When visual information is available, human adults, but not children, have been shown to reduce sensory uncertainty by taking a weighted average of sensory cues. In the absence of reliable visual information (e.g. extremely dark environment, visual disorders), the use of other information is vital. Here we ask how humans combine haptic and auditory information from childhood.

    4. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Cognitive components of a mathematical processing network in 9-year-old children

      Dénes Szűcs, Amy Devine, Fruzsina Soltesz, Alison Nobes and Florence Gabriel

      Article first published online: 23 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12144

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      We determined how various cognitive abilities, including several measures of a proposed domain-specific number sense, relate to mathematical competence in nearly 100 9-year-old children with normal reading skill. Results are consistent with an extended number processing network and suggest that important processing nodes of this network are phonological processing, verbal knowledge, visuo-spatial short-term and working memory, spatial ability and general executive functioning. The model was highly specific to predicting arithmetic performance.

  17. Short Reports

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Additive effects of social and non-social attention during infancy relate to later autism spectrum disorder

      Rachael Bedford, Andrew Pickles, Teodora Gliga, Mayada Elsabbagh, Tony Charman, Mark H. Johnson and the BASIS Team

      Article first published online: 23 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12139

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      Emerging findings from studies with infants at familial high risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), owing to an older sibling with a diagnosis, suggest that those who go on to develop ASD show early impairments in the processing of stimuli with both social and non-social content. Although ASD is defined by social-communication impairments and restricted and repetitive behaviours, the majority of cognitive theories of ASD posit a single underlying factor, which over development has secondary effects across domains. This is the first high-risk study to statistically differentiate theoretical models of the development of ASD in high-risk siblings using multiple risk factors.

  18. Papers

    1. Developmental dissociation in the neural responses to simple multiplication and subtraction problems

      Jérôme Prado, Rachna Mutreja and James R. Booth

      Article first published online: 21 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12140

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      Mastering single-digit arithmetic during school years is commonly thought to depend upon an increasing reliance on verbally memorized facts. An alternative model, however, posits that fluency in single-digit arithmetic might also be achieved via the increasing use of efficient calculation procedures. To test between these hypotheses, we used a cross-sectional design to measure the neural activity associated with single-digit subtraction and multiplication in 34 children from 2nd to 7th grade.

    2. Rich analysis and rational models: inferring individual behavior from infant looking data

      Steven T. Piantadosi, Celeste Kidd and Richard Aslin

      Article first published online: 7 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12083

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      Studies of infant looking times over the past 50 years have provided profound insights about cognitive development, but their dependent measures and analytic techniques are quite limited. In the context of infants' attention to discrete sequential events, we show how a Bayesian data analysis approach can be combined with a rational cognitive model to create a rich data analysis framework for infant looking times. We formalize (i) a statistical learning model, (ii) a parametric linking between the learning model's beliefs and infants' looking behavior, and (iii) a data analysis approach and model that infers parameters of the cognitive model and linking function for groups and individuals.

    3. Acuity of the approximate number system and preschoolers’ quantitative development

      Kristy van Marle, Felicia W. Chu, Yaoran Li and David C. Geary

      Article first published online: 5 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12143

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      The study assessed the relations among acuity of the inherent approximate number system (ANS), performance on measures of symbolic quantitative knowledge, and mathematics achievement for a sample of 138 (64 boys) preschoolers. The Weber fraction (a measure of ANS acuity) and associated task accuracy were significantly correlated with mathematics achievement following one year of preschool, and predicted performance on measures of children's explicit knowledge of Arabic numerals, number words, and cardinal value, controlling for age, sex, parental education, intelligence, executive control, and preliteracy knowledge. The relation between ANS acuity and mathematics achievement was fully mediated by the symbolic quantitative tasks.

    4. In the absence of conflicting testimony young children trust inaccurate informants

      Kimberly E. Vanderbilt, Gail D. Heyman and David Liu

      Article first published online: 20 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12134

      The present research investigated the nature of the inferences and decisions young children make about informants with a prior history of inaccuracies. Across three experiments, 3- and 4-year-olds (total N = 182) reacted to previously inaccurate informants who offered testimony in an object-labeling task. Of central interest was children's willingness to accept information provided by an inaccurate informant in different contexts of being alone, paired with an accurate informant, or paired with a novel (neutral) informant.

    5. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Sequence-specific procedural learning deficits in children with specific language impairment

      Hsinjen Julie Hsu and Dorothy V.M. Bishop

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12125

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      This study tested the procedural deficit hypothesis of specific language impairment (SLI) by comparing children's performance in two motor procedural learning tasks and an implicit verbal sequence learning task. Participants were 7- to 11-year-old children with SLI (n = 48), typically developing age-matched children (n = 20) and younger typically developing children matched for receptive grammar (n = 28). In a serial reaction time task, the children with SLI performed at the same level as the grammar-matched children, but poorer than age-matched controls in learning motor sequences. When tested with a motor procedural learning task that did not involve learning sequential relationships between discrete elements (i.e. pursuit rotor), the children with SLI performed comparably with age-matched children and better than younger grammar-matched controls.

    6. Some views are better than others: evidence for a visual bias in object views self-generated by toddlers

      Karin H. James, Susan S. Jones, Shelley Swain, Alfredo Pereira and Linda B. Smith

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12124

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      How objects are held determines how they are seen, and may thereby play an important developmental role in building visual object representations. Previous research suggests that toddlers, like adults, show themselves a disproportionate number of planar object views – that is, views in which the objects' axes of elongation are perpendicular or parallel to the line of sight. Here, three experiments address three explanations of this bias: (1) that the locations of interesting features of objects determine how they are held and thus how they are viewed; (2) that ease of holding determines object views; and (3) that there is a visual bias for planar views that exists independently of holding and of interesting surface properties.

    7. Contributions of COMT Val158Met to cognitive stability and flexibility in infancy

      Julie Markant, Dante Cicchetti, Susan Hetzel and Kathleen M. Thomas

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12128

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      Adaptive behavior requires focusing on relevant tasks (i.e., cognitive stability) while remaining sensitive to novel information (i.e., cognitive flexibility). Previous adult research has shown that the Met allele of the COMT Val158Met gene is associated with enhanced cognitive stability whereas the Val allele is associated with enhanced cognitive flexibility. The present results suggest that COMT genotype may be similarly related to early indices of cognitive stability and flexibility at 7 months of age.

    8. Moderator effects of working memory on the stability of ADHD symptoms by dopamine receptor gene polymorphisms during development

      Joey W. Trampush, Michelle M. Jacobs, Yasmin L. Hurd, Jeffrey H. Newcorn and Jeffrey M. Halperin

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12131

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      We tested the hypothesis that dopamine D1 and D2 receptor gene (DRD1 and DRD2, respectively) polymorphisms and the development of working memory skills can interact to influence symptom change over 10 years in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Specifically, we examined whether improvements in working memory maintenance and manipulation from childhood to early adulthood predicted the reduction of ADHD symptoms as a function of allelic variation in DRD1 and DRD2. Participants were 76 7–11-year-old children with ADHD who were genotyped and prospectively followed for almost 10 years. After correction for multiple testing, improvements in working memory manipulation, not maintenance, predicted reduction of symptomatology over development and was moderated by major allele homozygosity in two DRD1 polymorphisms (rs4532 and rs265978) previously linked with variation in D1 receptor expression.

    9. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Emotional engagements predict and enhance social cognition in young chimpanzees

      Kim A. Bard, Roger Bakeman, Sarah T. Boysen and David A. Leavens

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12145

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      Social cognition in infancy is evident in coordinated triadic engagements, e.g., joint attention and cooperation. We conducted a 10-year-long study in which two groups of laboratory-raised chimpanzee infants were given quantifiably different engagement experiences, and their social cognition was compared with human norms. This figure shows significant differences between the two chimpanzee groups in joint attention success and important differences between the human norms and chimpanzee groups. Current evolutionary theories of primate social cognition highlight cognition, but we found that past engagement experiences and concurrent emotion were major predictors of both joint attention and cooperation.

  19. Short Reports

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Why do spatial abilities predict mathematical performance?

      Maria Grazia Tosto, Ken B. Hanscombe, Claire M.A. Haworth, Oliver S.P. Davis, Stephen A. Petrill, Philip S. Dale, Sergey Malykh, Robert Plomin and Yulia Kovas

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12138

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      Spatial ability predicts performance in mathematics and eventual expertise in science, technology and engineering. Spatial skills have been shown to rely on neuronal networks partially shared with mathematics. The results of this study suggest that ∼60% of the observed covariation between the two traits is due to common genetic factors, the environmental contribution is ∼40%. Understanding the nature of this association and identifying environmental mediators of the spatial-mathematics relationship can inform educational practices and intervention for mathematical underperformance.

  20. Papers

    1. Shared understanding and idiosyncratic expression in early vocabularies

      Julien Mayor and Kim Plunkett

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12130

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      To what extent do toddlers have shared vocabularies? We examined CDI data collected from 14,607 infants and toddlers in five countries and measured the amount of variability between individual lexicons during development for both comprehension and production. Early lexicons are highly overlapping. However, beyond 100 words, toddlers share more words with other toddlers in comprehension than in production, even when matched for lexicon sizes. This finding points to a structural difference in early comprehension and production: Toddlers are generalists in comprehension but develop a unique, expressive voice. Variability in production decreases after two years of age, suggesting convergence to a common expressive core vocabulary. We discuss potential exogenous and endogenous contributions to the inverted U-shaped development observed in young children's expressive lexical variability.

  21. Short Reports

    1. Young-age gender differences in mathematics mediated by independent control or uncontrollability

      Jan Zirk-Sadowski, Charlotte Lamptey, Amy Devine, Mark Haggard and Dénes Szűcs

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12126

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      We studied whether the origins of math anxiety can be related to a biologically supported framework of stress induction: (un)controllability perception, here indicated by self-reported independent efforts in mathematics. Math anxiety was tested in 182 children (8- to 11-year-olds). Latent factor modeling was used to test hypotheses on plausible causal hierarchy and mediations within competing models in quasi-experimental contrasts.

  22. Papers

    1. Breastfeeding and trajectories of children's cognitive development

      Jin Huang, Kristen E. Peters, Michael G. Vaughn and Christopher Witko

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12136

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      The aim of this study was to examine the association of breastfeeding practices with the growth trajectories of children's cognitive development. We used data from the Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) with variables on presence and duration of breastfeeding and standardized test scores obtained during three different panel waves (N = 2681). After adjusting for covariates we found that breastfed children had higher test scores but that breastfed and non-breastfed children had similar growth trajectories in test scores over time.

  23. Short Reports

    1. Arithmetic facts storage deficit: the hypersensitivity-to-interference in memory hypothesis

      Alice De Visscher and Marie-Pascale Noël

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12135

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      Dyscalculia, or mathematics learning disorders, is currently known to be heterogeneous (Wilson & Dehaene, ). While various profiles of dyscalculia coexist, a general and persistent hallmark of this math learning disability is the difficulty in memorizing arithmetic facts (Geary, Hoard & Hamson, ; Jordan & Montani, ; Slade & Russel, ). Arithmetic facts are simple arithmetic problems that are solved by direct retrieval from memory. In this paper, we test the recent hypothesis arising from a case study (De Visscher & Noël, 2013), according to which hypersensitivity-to-interference in memory hampers the storage of arithmetic facts.

    2. Crawling and walking infants elicit different verbal responses from mothers

      Lana B. Karasik, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda and Karen E. Adolph

      Article first published online: 7 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12129

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      We examined mothers' verbal responses to their crawling or walking infants' object sharing (i.e. bids). Mothers of walkers responded with action directives more often than mothers of crawlers. Notably, differences in the responses of mothers of walkers versus those of crawlers were explained by differences in bid form between the two groups of infants. Walkers were more likely to engage in moving bids than crawlers, who typically shared objects from stationary positions. When crawlers displayed moving bids, their mothers offered action directives just as often as did mothers of walkers.

  24. Papers

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Face engagement during infancy predicts later face recognition ability in younger siblings of children with autism

      Carina C.J.M. de Klerk, Teodora Gliga, Tony Charman and Mark H. Johnson, The BASIS team

      Article first published online: 7 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12141

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      Face recognition difficulties are frequently documented in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It has been hypothesized that these difficulties result from a reduced interest in faces early in life, leading to decreased cortical specialization and atypical development of the neural circuitry for face processing. Our findings contradict this prevailing idea and instead suggest that infants at risk for ASD do not lack an attraction to, or actively avoid faces, but rather seem to experience difficulties with processing faces from early in life resulting in problems in face recognition memory that are evident in toddlerhood.

  25. Short Reports

    1. Highchair philosophers: the impact of seating context-dependent exploration on children's naming biases

      Lynn K. Perry, Larissa K. Samuelson and Johanna B. Burdinie

      Article first published online: 1 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12147

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      We examine developmental interactions between context, exploration, and word learning. Infants show an understanding of how nonsolid substances are categorized that does not reliably transfer to learning how these categories are named in laboratory tasks. We argue that what infants learn about naming nonsolid substances is contextually bound - most nonsolids that toddlers are familiar with are foods and thus, typically experienced when sitting in a highchair.

  26. Papers

    1. 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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