Developmental Science

Cover image for Vol. 17 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: 4.278

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 5/65 (Psychology Developmental); 6/83 (Psychology Experimental)

Online ISSN: 1467-7687


  1. 1 - 47
  1. Papers

    1. Call me Alix, not Elix: vowels are more important than consonants in own-name recognition at 5 months

      Camillia Bouchon, Caroline Floccia, Thibaut Fux, Martine Adda-Decker and Thierry Nazzi

      Article first published online: 7 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12242

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      It has been proposed that consonants and vowels have different functional roles in language processing and, in particular, that consonants are more important in distinguishing words in the lexicon (Nespor, Peña & Mehler, 2003). Many studies on French provide convrgent support for this proposal in adulthood and toddlerhood (Havy & Nazzi, 2009; Nazzi, 2005; New et al., 2014). We investigated the relative importance of consonants and vowels at the onset of lexical acquisition in French-learning 5-month-old infants. Reactions to mispronunciation in their own name were compared whether the change was consonantal (e.g. Victor/Zictor, n = 30) or vocalic (e.g. Alix/Elix, n = 30). Behavioral results indicated sensitivity to vowel changes, and not to consonant changes. Detailed acoustic analyses of THE stimuli revealed that vowels were more salient but spectrally less distinct than consonants. Lastly, vowel (but not consonant) mispronunciation detection was modulated by acoustic factors, in particular by the spectrally-based distance. This shows that the consonant bias for lexical processing observed later in development does not emerge until after 5 months of age through additional language exposure.

    2. Relation of perinatal risk and early parenting to executive control at the transition to school

      Caron A.C. Clark and Lianne J. Woodward

      Article first published online: 6 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12232

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      The relation of very preterm birth and early parenting to EC at age 6 was tested. VPT, higher parent intrusiveness and lower parent-child synchrony predicted lower EC, which in turn correlated with academic achievement at age 9 years.

  2. Short Reports

    1. Individuation training with other-race faces reduces preschoolers’ implicit racial bias: a link between perceptual and social representation of faces in children

      Wen S. Xiao, Genyue Fu, Paul C. Quinn, Jinliang Qin, James W. Tanaka, Olivier Pascalis and Kang Lee

      Article first published online: 5 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12241

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      Chinese kindergarten children are initially biased to categorize racially ambiguous faces: They categorize such faces as other-race “African” when the faces display an angry expression but the same faces as own-race “Chinese” when the faces display a happy expression. However, after learning to individuate African faces, the implicit racial bias disappears. Thus, perceptual learning of individual other-race faces can serve as an effective method to reduce implicit racial bias in young children.

    2. Pedagogical cues encourage toddlers' transmission of recently demonstrated functions to unfamiliar adults

      Christopher Vredenburgh, Tamar Kushnir and Marianella Casasola

      Article first published online: 5 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12233

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      We show that two-year-olds selectively enact, in a new social situation, causal functions which have been demonstrated pedagogically, even when they have learned and can produce alternate functions as well. The results have implications for how children learn conventional object functions in ambiguous contexts, as well as suggest a way which children might naturally participate in cultural transmission.

  3. Papers

    1. Preschoolers with Down syndrome do not yet show the learning and memory impairments seen in adults with Down syndrome

      Lynette V. Roberts and Jenny L. Richmond

      Article first published online: 5 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12225

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      Adults with Down syndrome (DS) exhibit specific deficits in learning and memory processes that depend on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, however it is largely unclear how these processes develop in young children with DS. We tested preschoolers with DS on these areas, and as shown in the figure, they performed equivalently to mental-age matched controls. This finding suggests that the additional disability-specific learning and memory deficits seen in adulthood, are not yet evident in pre-schoolers with DS and likely emerge progressively with age.

    2. The development of adaptive conformity in young children: effects of uncertainty and consensus

      Thomas J.H. Morgan, Kevin N. Laland and Paul L. Harris

      Article first published online: 5 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12231

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      We investigated reliance on social information, contingent on task difficulty and the consensus amongst informants, in children aged 3–7 using the “who-has-more” task. Whilst all children were sensitive to unanimity, older children were also sensitive to intermediate majorities (e.g., 8v2 informants). Children were relatively insensitive to task difficulty and older children tended to stick with their own decisions. Despite this, only the older children were able to use the social information to improve their accuracy..

    3. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      The development of route learning in Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and typical development: investigations with virtual environments

      Harry R.M. Purser, Emily K. Farran, Yannick Courbois, Axelle Lemahieu, Pascal Sockeel, Daniel Mellier and Mark Blades

      Article first published online: 5 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12236

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      Individuals with Williams syndrome performed better than a matched subset of typically developing children on more difficult routes. Measures of attention and long-term memory were strongly associated with route learning. All of the groups, including 5- to 6-year-old typically developing children, demonstrated the ability to make use of various landmark types to aid route learning, including distant landmarks.

    4. Imitation promotes affiliation in infant macaques at risk for impaired social behaviors

      Valentina Sclafani, Annika Paukner, Stephen J. Suomi and Pier F. Ferrari

      Article first published online: 16 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12237

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      We tested the effect of imitation on a population of nursery-reared infant macaques. Being imitated promotes affiliative behaviors in newborn monkeys.

  4. Short Reports

    1. Whose idea is it anyway? The importance of reputation in acknowledgement

      Alex Shaw and Kristina Olson

      Article first published online: 16 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12234

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      We find that children dislike plagiarism because it harms an other's reputation. They think it is wrong for one to falsely take credit for others' good ideas, but not bad to help other people's reputation by falsely giving them credit for one's own good idea.

  5. Papers

    1. The intergenerational transmission of ethnic essentialism: how parents talk counts the most

      Gili Segall, Dana Birnbaum, Inas Deeb and Gil Diesendruck

      Article first published online: 11 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12235

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      The development of Israeli children's essentialist beliefs about ethnicity is most strongly related not to their parents' own beliefs, political ideology, or explicit endorsement of ethnic stereotypes. Rather, it is related to the extent to which their parents' label and make generic statements about ethnicity.

    2. Implications of ongoing neural development for the measurement of the error-related negativity in childhood

      David DuPuis, Nilam Ram, Cynthia J. Willner, Sarah Karalunas, Sidney J. Segalowitz and Lisa M. Gatzke-Kopp

      Article first published online: 11 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12229

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      This study examined error-related negativity (ERN) in a sample of 234 children assessed at 3 timepoints: kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. At each timepoint, ERN was examined as the average amplitude across trials, as well as decomposed into components reflecting signal strength (theta power) and the temporal consistency (signal phase coherence) across trials, both of which contributed independently to the average amplitude measure. Across the 3 timepoints, increases in trial-to-trial temporal consistency resulted in increases in average ERN amplitude despite a significant decline in average signal strength across the same developmental period.

  6. Short Reports

    1. Musical rhythm discrimination explains individual differences in grammar skills in children

      Reyna L. Gordon, Carolyn M. Shivers, Elizabeth A. Wieland, Sonja A. Kotz, Paul J. Yoder and J. Devin McAuley

      Article first published online: 7 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12230

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      Rhythm and grammar skills were tested in typically developing 6-year-old children. A robust correlation was found between musical rhythm perception and grammar production.

  7. Original Articles

    1. The impact of culture on physiological processes of emotion regulation: a comparison of US and Chinese preschoolers

      Adam S. Grabell, Sheryl L. Olson, Alison L. Miller, Daniel A. Kessler, Barbara Felt, Niko Kaciroti, Li Wang and Twila Tardif

      Article first published online: 31 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12227

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      We compared associations between specific effortful control subcomponents and stress-induced cortisol trajectories in preschool children residing in the U.S. and China. U.S. preschoolers showed an expected negative association between maternal-rated inhibitory control with cortisol reactivity and recovery. In contrast, Chinese preschoolers showed a positive association between maternal-rated attentional focusing and cortisol reactivity.

  8. Papers

    1. Individual differences in the shape bias in preschool children with specific language impairment and typical language development: theoretical and clinical implications

      Beverly Anne Collisson, Bernard Grela, Tammie Spaulding, Jay G. Rueckl and James S. Magnuson

      Article first published online: 27 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12219

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      In a classic shape-bias paradigm, three and four-year-old children with typical language (TL) or Specific Language Impairment (SLI) saw an example object and then chose another from a set of three in Similarity Classification (‘See this? Which one goes with this one?’) and Novel Name Extension (‘See this? This is a [dax]', Find another [dax]') conditions. Children with TL replicated the classic pattern (random choices in Similarity Classification, large bias for shape in Name Extension), but those with SLI showed no apparent difference. This suggests that children with SLI fail to detect coherent covariation between linguistic and nonlinguistic properties that accelerates object name learning among their peers with TL. In a paired visual association task, children with TL showed significant learning over 4 days, but children with SLI did not. Performance in this task predicted individuals' shape bias better than any assessment, suggesting impairments of nonlinguistic learning abilities contributes to linguistic difficulties in SLI.

    2. The development of race-based perceptual categorization: skin color dominates early category judgments

      Yarrow Dunham, Elena V. Stepanova, Ron Dotsch and Alexander Todorov

      Article first published online: 25 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12228

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      What perceptual features do children use to categorize by race? Past research has suggested that adult-like abilities to racially classify emerge quite early in development. Our findings suggest this is not the case; younger children rely almost entirely on skin color, with little or no attention to other aspects of facial physiognomy.

    3. Longitudinal study of perception of structured optic flow and random visual motion in infants using high-density EEG

      Seth B. Agyei, Magnus Holth, F.R. (Ruud) van der Weel and Audrey L.H. van der Meer

      Article first published online: 21 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12221

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      Infants greatly rely on the visual information that specifies self-motion as they increasingly become mobile during the first year of life. By using high-density EEG, the paper provides evidence for the perceptual development and processing of such visual motion information, where crawling infants' visual motion perception is clearly aided by the structured information from optic flow as opposed to random motion.

    4. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Baby steps: investigating the development of perceptual–motor couplings in infancy

      Carina C.J.M. de Klerk, Mark H. Johnson, Cecilia M. Heyes and Victoria Southgate

      Article first published online: 13 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12226

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      Two decades after the discovery of mirror neurons, the mechanisms underlying their ontogeny remain relatively unknown. It has been suggested that these perceptual-motor couplings in the brain develop through associative learning during correlated sensorimotor experience. We tested this hypothesis by manipulating pre-walking infants’ opportunity to associate the visual and motor representation of novel stepping actions that they performed on an infant treadmill. We then investigated how this influenced their sensorimotor cortex activation when they observed videos of other infants’ stepping actions. Our results show that the strength of the visuomotor contingency experienced during training predicted the amount of sensorimotor cortex activation during action observation.

    5. Brain hyper-connectivity and operation-specific deficits during arithmetic problem solving in children with developmental dyscalculia

      Miriam Rosenberg-Lee, Sarit Ashkenazi, Tianwen Chen, Christina B. Young, David C. Geary and Vinod Menon

      Article first published online: 6 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12216

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      We examined brain responses and connectivity during addition and subtraction problem solving in typically developing children and children with developmental dyscalculia (DD). Contrary to expectations of reduced activity in the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) for children with DD, we found hyper-activity specifically for subtraction problems. Effective connectivity analyses revealed hyper-connectivity, rather than reduced connectivity, between the IPS and lateral fronto-parietal and default mode networks in children with DD during both tasks. These findings suggest the IPS and its circuits are a major locus of dysfunction during arithmetic problem solving in DD, and that inappropriate task modulation and hyper-connectivity, rather than under-engagement, are the neural mechanisms underlying dyscalculia.

    6. Institutional care and iron deficiency increase ADHD symptomology and lower IQ 2.5–5 years post-adoption

      Jenalee R. Doom, Michael K. Georgieff and Megan R. Gunnar

      Article first published online: 28 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12223

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      Iron deficiency at adoption and longer duration of institutional care increase ADHD symptoms 2.5-5 years post-adoption. Iron deficiency at adoption, but not duration of institutional care, predicts IQ.

    7. Error-monitoring in response to social stimuli in individuals with higher-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

      Camilla M. McMahon and Heather A. Henderson

      Article first published online: 28 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12220

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      When identifying the gender of a face, participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) had a smaller ERNdiff (difference in Error-Related Negativity amplitude between correct and incorrect responses) than participants with typical development. However, when identifying the affect of a face, participants with and without ASD did not differ on ERNdiff.

  9. Short Reports

    1. Children use salience to solve coordination problems

      Sebastian Grueneisen, Emily Wyman and Michael Tomasello

      Article first published online: 25 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12224

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      Dyads were presented with a task where two balls had to be inserted into the same of four boxes. When children got a ball each and had to coordinate their choices without communication (experimental condition) they were more likely to choose the most salient box than when they could choose independently (control condition).

    2. Children and adults both see ‘pirates’ in ‘parties’: letter-position effects for developing readers and skilled adult readers

      Kevin B. Paterson, Josephine Read, Victoria A. McGowan and Timothy R. Jordan

      Article first published online: 23 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12222

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      Recognition of anagrams (e.g. pirates, parties) provides insight into the use of letter position during word recognition. We used this approach to compare the use of letter position by developing child readers ( 8–10 years) and skilled adult readers in a naming task. Both groups showed similarly slowed response times (and developing readers increased errors) for anagrams which formed another word when letters in interior positions were transposed and no interference for anagrams that required exterior letter transpositions. The findings suggest that end-state skilled use of letter position, especially the influence of exterior letter positions, is established earlier during reading development than is widely assumed.

  10. Papers

    1. Continuity and change in children's longitudinal neural responses to numbers

      Robert W. Emerson and Jessica F. Cantlon

      Article first published online: 22 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12215

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      Children's neural responses during numerical discrimination show different longitudinal profiles in the right versus left intraparietal sulcus (IPS). The right IPS shows correlated number-related neural responses over development. The left IPS shows developmental changes in number-related neural responses that correlate with children's numerical acuity.

  11. Short Reports

    1. Perceived trustworthiness of faces drives trust behaviour in children

      Louise Ewing, Frances Caulfield, Ainsley Read and Gillian Rhodes

      Article first published online: 22 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12218

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      This study uses an economic trust game to investigate the development of human trust behaviour. We reveal that facial trustworthiness cues influence trust behaviour in children as young as 5 years, with adult-like effects observed by 10 years.

  12. Papers

    1. Fearful faces drive gaze-cueing and threat bias effects in children on the lookout for danger

      Amy Dawel, Romina Palermo, Richard O'Kearney, Jessica Irons and Elinor McKone

      Article first published online: 18 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12203

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      We measured gaze-cueing (RTinvalid-direction-trials minus RTvalid-direction-trials) and threat-bias effects from fearful (pictured) and happy faces in a context that required vigilance for danger (decide if a target animal is safe or dangerous; dangerous spider pictured). The ability to prioritize fearful-gaze in the danger-vigilance context emerged over the 8–12-year-old age range. Children also showed an adult-like threat bias for dangerous over safe animals specifically in the context of fearful faces. Overall, our results present some of the first evidence of context-expression interactions in children, and argue that studies of isolated face or threat stimuli may not apply to real-world behavior, in which contextual factors abound.

    2. Numerical representations and intuitions of probabilities at 12 months

      Ernő Téglás, Alexandra Ibanez-Lillo, Albert Costa and Luca L. Bonatti

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12196

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      Recent research shows that the preverbal infants can reason about single event probabilities without relying on observed frequencies and are able to adjust their expectations in accordance to some relevant aspects of a situation. Here we investigate the limits and sophistications of these abilities. We show that infants at 12 months can exploit very specific physical parameters of dynamically unfolding events, such as the density of objects in a display, even if they have to deal with a large set of moving items. However, they may not be able to integrate numerical information about large classes of objects in their probabilistic expectations. Yet, they can to compute probabilities when the set size is within the limit of object tracking abilities. We suggest that infants' intuitions of probabilities may derive from their ability to represent possible states of affairs.

    3. Effects of early institutionalization on the development of emotion processing: a case for relative sparing?

      Margaret C. Moulson, Kristin Shutts, Nathan A. Fox, Charles H. Zeanah, Elizabeth S. Spelke and Charles A. Nelson

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12217

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      We examined emotion processing in three groups of Romanian children with diverse rearing histories. Although children who were institutionalized showed some deficits on tasks of emotion recognition compared to children raised in their biological families, their overall performance was surprisingly good. Previously institutionalized children who had been placed in foster care showed performance comparable to family-reared children. Emotion processing seems relatively spared in the context of early psychosocial deprivation.

  13. Short Reports

    1. Causal learning from probabilistic events in 24-month-olds: an action measure

      Anna Waismeyer, Andrew N. Meltzoff and Alison Gopnik

      Article first published online: 16 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12208

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      Using a two-choice action measure, we tested whether 24-month-olds can use observed probabilistic information to solve a causal learning problem in the absence of causal linguistic descriptions or spatial contact. Toddlers first observed an adult produce a probabilistic pattern of causal evidence and were then given an opportunity to design their own intervention. At test, toddlers used the observed probabilistic causal information to generate their own intervention to bring about the same effect on the world.

  14. Papers

    1. The N400 and the fourth grade shift

      Donna Coch

      Article first published online: 16 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12212

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      In a developmental event-related potential study investigating the putative fourth grade shift in reading, the amplitude of the N400 component elicited by various word-like stimuli did not reflect a shift or discontinuity in word processing around the fourth grade. False font strings elicited N400s similar to real words and letter strings in third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders, but not in college students, suggesting a relatively long developmental time course - beyond fifth grade - for orthographic processing in this context.

    2. A new twist on old ideas: how sitting reorients crawlers

      Kasey C. Soska, Scott R. Robinson and Karen E. Adolph

      Article first published online: 14 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12205

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      During crawling exploration, infants stopped and reverted to a sitting posture 3–6 times per minute—whether at home or in the lab. Sitting with the legs out (90% of sits) caused infants to face away from their crawling path; returning back to crawling often set infants off in a new direction. Natural crawling occurs in brief episodes accompanied by sharply-angled turns.

    3. Tuning the developing brain to emotional body expressions

      Manuela Missana, Anthony P. Atkinson and Tobias Grossmann

      Article first published online: 11 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12209

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      Reading others' emotional body expressions is an essential social skill. Adults are readily able to recognize emotions from body movements. However, it is unclear when in development infants become sensitive to bodily expressed emotions. In this study ERPs were measured in 4-and 8-month-old infants in response to happy and fearful body expressions using point-light displays (PLDs) presented in two orientations, upright and inverted. The ERP results revealed that only 8-month-olds but not 4-month-olds respond sensitively to the orientation and the emotion of the dynamic expressions. These findings suggest that orientation–sensitive and emotion-sensitive brain processes develop between 4 and 8 months of age.

    4. Two-year-old children but not domestic dogs understand communicative intentions without language, gestures, or gaze

      Richard Moore, Bettina Mueller, Juliane Kaminski and Michael Tomasello

      Article first published online: 9 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12206

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      2-year-old children were able to use an experimenter's intentionally pulling on a rope to infer the location of a hidden prize, even though the experimenter did not move or look towards the hiding place. Domestic dogs did not succeed in this task. Children's apparently reduced dependence on bodily expressions of communicative intent may reflect an adaptation for communicating with absent others.

  15. Short Reports

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Sentence repetition is a measure of children's language skills rather than working memory limitations

      Marianne Klem, Monica Melby-Lervåg, Bente Hagtvet, Solveig-Alma Halaas Lyster, Jan-Eric Gustafsson and Charles Hulme

      Article first published online: 1 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12202

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      Sentence repetition tasks are widely used in diagnosis and assessment of children with language impairments, but the underlying abilities measured are poorly understood, and how performance on this test should be interpreted is unclear. By investigating the longitudinal relationship between sentence repetition and other measures of language abilities in children aged 4-6 years, our findings support the view that sentence repetition is best seen as a reflection of an underlying unitary language construct, rather than as a measure of a separate construct with a specific role in language processing.

  16. Papers

    1. Characterizing the information content of a newly hatched chick's first visual object representation

      Justin N. Wood

      Article first published online: 30 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12198

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      This study measured the information content of the first visual object representation built by newly hatched chicks. The results showed that chicks build object representations that contain both object identity information and view-specific information, akin to the object representations built by adult primates. This study indicates that invariant object recognition is a core cognitive ability that can be operational at the onset of visual object experience.

  17. Short Reports

    1. Cross-cultural investigation into cognitive underpinnings of individual differences in early arithmetic

      Maja Rodic, Xinlin Zhou, Tatiana Tikhomirova, Wei Wei, Sergei Malykh, Victoria Ismatulina, Elena Sabirova, Yulia Davidova, Maria Grazia Tosto, Jean-Pascal Lemelin and Yulia Kovas

      Article first published online: 26 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12204

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      The present study assessed 626 5-7-year-old children in the UK, China, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan on a cognitive test battery measuring: (1) general skills; (2) non-symbolic number sense; (3) symbolic number understanding; (4) simple arithmetic - operating with numbers; and (5) familiarity with numbers. Although most inter-population differences were small, 13% of the variance in arithmetic skills could be explained by the sample, replicating the pattern, previously found with older children in PISA. Despite average differences, the same cognitive skills were related to early arithmetic in these diverse populations.

  18. Papers

    1. Tracing children's vocabulary development from preschool through the school-age years: an 8-year longitudinal study

      Shuang Song, Mengmeng Su, Cuiping Kang, Hongyun Liu, Yuping Zhang, Catherine McBride-Chang, Twila Tardif, Hong Li, Weilan Liang, Zhixiang Zhang and Hua Shu

      Article first published online: 24 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12190

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      “In this 8-year longitudinal study, we traced the vocabulary growth of Chinese children, explored potential precursors of vocabulary knowledge, and investigated how vocabulary growth predicted future reading skills. Three subgroups of lexical growth were classified, namely high-high (with a large initial vocabulary size and a fast growth rate), low-high (with a small initial vocabulary size and a fast growth rate) and low-low (with a small initial vocabulary size and a slow growth rate) groups. Low-high and low-low groups were distinguishable mostly through phonological skills, morphological skills and other reading-related cognitive skills. Childhood vocabulary development (using intercept and slope) explained subsequent reading skills. Findings suggest that language-related and reading-related cognitive skills differ among groups with different developmental trajectories of vocabulary, and the initial size and growth rate of vocabulary may be two predictors for later reading development.”

    2. Knowledge cannot explain the developmental growth of working memory capacity

      Nelson Cowan, Timothy J. Ricker, Katherine M. Clark, Garrett A. Hinrichs and Bret A. Glass

      Article first published online: 18 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12197

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      The article addresses the question of whether the improvement in working memory capacity across the elementary school years can be explained by the increase in knowledge. The figure shows a score based on mean items in working memory in a recognition test, normalized across all four age groups. These z scores were nearly identical for English letters that embody prior knowledge and for unfamiliar characters, disproving the view that working memory development is based completely on knowledge development. The results exclude a subset of young children who did not remember at least one English letter per trial, showing that knowledge also is important.

  19. Original Articles

    1. Parent support is less effective in buffering cortisol stress reactivity for adolescents compared to children

      Camelia E. Hostinar, Anna E. Johnson and Megan R. Gunnar

      Article first published online: 18 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12195

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      Parent support provided in the laboratory during the speech preparation period before a modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) successfully eliminated the cortisol stress response to the TSST in 9-10-year-old children, but had no effect on the response among adolescents.

  20. Papers

    1. Neurocognitive mechanisms of learning to read: print tuning in beginning readers related to word-reading fluency and semantics but not phonology

      Aleksandra K. Eberhard-Moscicka, Lea B. Jost, Margit Raith and Urs Maurer

      Article first published online: 26 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12189

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      This study demonstrates the presence of print tuning in the first year of reading acquisition and its development at the individual level. Moreover, individual differences in print tuning are not only related to word-reading fluency, but also to semantic knowledge.

    2. Electrophysiological evidence of heterogeneity in visual statistical learning in young children with ASD

      Shafali S. Jeste, Natasha Kirkham, Damla Senturk, Kyle Hasenstab, Catherine Sugar, Chloe Kupelian, Elizabeth Baker, Andrew J. Sanders, Christina Shimizu, Amanda Norona, Tanya Paparella, Stephanny F.N. Freeman and Scott P. Johnson

      Article first published online: 13 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12188

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      We investigated the electrophysiological correlates of visual statistical learning in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using an event-related potential shape learning paradigm, and we examined the relation between visual statistical learning and cognitive function. Compared to typically developing (TD) controls, the ASD group as a whole showed reduced evidence of learning as defined by N1 (early visual discrimination) and P300 (attention to novelty) components. Upon further analysis, in the ASD group there was a positive correlation between N1 amplitude difference and non-verbal IQ, and a positive correlation between P300 amplitude difference and adaptive social function. Children with ASD and a high non-verbal IQ and high adaptive social function, therefore, demonstrated a distinctive pattern of learning. This is the first study to identify electrophysiological markers of visual statistical learning in children with ASD, and the first to demonstrate heterogeneity in statistical learning in ASD that maps onto non-verbal cognition and adaptive social function.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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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