Developmental Science

Cover image for Vol. 18 Issue 4

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 - 69
  1. Papers

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. 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.

    12. 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.

    13. 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.

    14. 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.

    15. 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.

    16. 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.

    17. 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.

    18. 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.

    19. 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.

    20. 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.

    21. 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.

    22. 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.

    23. 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.

    24. 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.

    25. 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.

    26. 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.

    27. 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.

    28. 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.

    29. 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.

    30. 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.

    31. 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.

    32. 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.

    33. 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.

    34. Mapping the development of facial expression recognition

      Helen Rodger, Luca Vizioli, Xinyi Ouyang and Roberto Caldara

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12281

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      Using a psychophysical approach combined with well-controlled face stimuli, we reveal a fine-grained mapping of the development of facial expression recognition for all six basic emotions and a neutral expression, from 5 years of age up to adulthood. Model fitting identified the recognition trajectories of the six basic emotions into three distinct groupings: expressions that show a steep improvement with age – disgust, neutral, and anger; expressions that show a more gradual improvement with age – sadness, surprise; and those that remain stable from early childhood – happiness and fear, indicating that the coding for these expressions is already mature by 5 years of age. This approach significantly increases our understanding of the decoding of emotions across development and offers a novel tool to measure impairments for specific facial expressions in developmental clinical populations.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. Parental socioeconomic status and the neural basis of arithmetic: differential relations to verbal and visuo-spatial representations

      Özlem Ece Demir, Jérôme Prado and James R. Booth

      Article first published online: 9 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12268

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      We examined the relation of parental socioeconomic status (SES) to the neural bases of subtraction in school-age children (9- to 12-year-olds). We independently localized brain regions subserving verbal versus visuo-spatial representations to determine whether the parental SES-related differences in children's reliance on these neural representations varies as a function of math skill. At higher SES levels, higher skill was associated with greater recruitment of the left temporal cortex, identified by the verbal localizer. At lower SES levels, higher skill was associated with greater recruitment of right parietal cortex, identified by the visuo-spatial localizer. This suggests that depending on parental SES, children engage different neural systems to solve subtraction problems.

    3. 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.

    4. Think fast! The relationship between goal prediction speed and social competence in infants

      Sheila Krogh-Jespersen, Zoe Liberman and Amanda L. Woodward

      Article first published online: 9 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12249

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      Social interactions occur quickly, requiring infants to recruit their knowledge of others' goals and intentions and initiate appropriate responses within a timeframe of mere seconds. The current study investigates the possibility that developments in social competence during the second year of life are related to increases in the speed with which infants can employ their understanding of others' intentions. Results indicate that the speed with which infants can recruit and deploy their knowledge about others' intentions is a critical predictor of their success during a social interaction.

    5. Socioeconomic status and executive function: developmental trajectories and mediation

      Daniel A. Hackman, Robert Gallop, Gary W. Evans and Martha J. Farah

      Article first published online: 9 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12246

      We examined the developmental course of socioeconomic disparities in executive function and the features of childhood experience responsible for this association in the NICHD Study of Early Childcare. Lower family socioeconomic status (SES) predicts worse performance on tasks of executive function at the youngest age measured for each task, which was partially explained by characteristics of the home and family environment. SES does not predict the rate of growth of executive function across early and middle childhood, and thus early SES differences in executive function persist without accumulating or diminishing.

    6. Signal clarity: an account of the variability in infant quantity discrimination tasks

      Lisa Cantrell, Ty W. Boyer, Sara Cordes and Linda B. Smith

      Article first published online: 20 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12283

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      Nine-month-old infants show discrimination of 3 vs. 4 when the numerical signal is clear and presented amidst redundant information across a series of displays; infants fail to show robust discrimination of the same comparison when the numerical signal is noisy– presented amidst changing dimensions.

  4. Short Reports

    1. Effects of motor action on affective preferences in autism spectrum disorders: different influences of embodiment

      Inge-Marie Eigsti, Delphine Rosset, Ghislaine Col Cozzari, David da Fonseca and Christine Deruelle

      Article first published online: 20 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12278

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      We report results indicating a lack of embodiment effects in ASD, and further, an association between embodiment differences and ASD symptomatology. The current results are consistent with an embodied account of ASD that goes beyond social experiences and could be driven by subtle deficits in sensorimotor coordination.

    2. Becoming a high-fidelity – super – imitator: what are the contributions of social and individual learning?

      Francys Subiaul, Eric M. Patterson, Brian Schilder, Elizabeth Renner and Rachel Barr

      Article first published online: 28 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12276

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      Preschool children's ability to learn two different tasks by imitation, emulation and individual learning significantly improved with age. However, these broad age-related changes were generally not associated with improvements in imitation fidelity. These results indicate that children's imitation performance is not mediated by domain-general learning processes but by domain-specific imitation mechanisms, specialized for copying either object- or motor/spatial-based rules.

  5. Papers

    1. Inexperienced newborn chicks use geometry to spontaneously reorient to an artificial social partner

      Cinzia Chiandetti, Elizabeth S. Spelke and Giorgio Vallortigara

      Article first published online: 20 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12277

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      Geometric re-orientation abilities seem to be common in most animal species. We tested chicks that were devoid of any previous experience of navigating in a geometrically structured environment to reorient towards a filial imprinting object in a working memory test. After disorientation, chicks showed search congruent with an encoding of the geometry of the environment. These results demonstrate that, at least in this precocial species, orientation by use of the geometry of the surfaces spatial layout is innately predisposed in the brain.

    2. Drift in children's categories: when experienced distributions conflict with prior learning

      Charles W. Kalish, XiaoJin Zhu and Timothy T. Rogers

      Article first published online: 20 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12280

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      Children unlearn a category boundary, they drift, when the distribution of examples encountered during testing does not match that of training. Feedback on the correct boundary is more effective at reducing drift for older children than for younger. Children's sensitivity to the distribution of unlabeled items may lead them to be less accurate in certain categorization tasks, but may prepare them for broader learning since distributional information is important for many real-world categorization behaviors.

    3. Constraints on statistical computations at 10 months of age: the use of phonological features

      Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez and Thierry Nazzi

      Article first published online: 20 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12279

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      The constraints on statistically based acquisition were explored in four different experiments. The results establish for the first time that constellations of multiple phonological features, defining broad consonant classes, constrain the early acquisition of phonotactic regularities of the native language

    4. Uniquely human self-control begins at school age

      Esther Herrmann, Antonia Misch, Victoria Hernandez-Lloreda and Michael Tomasello

      Article first published online: 20 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12272

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      Human beings have remarkable skills of self-control, but the evolutionary origins of these skills are unknown. This study investigates the evolutionary bases, as well as the developmental changes, of humans?reactivity and self-regulatory skills. Human children at 3 and 6 years of age were systematically compared with one of humans' two nearest relatives, chimpanzees, on a battery of six tasks. Three-year-old children and chimpanzees were very similar in their abilities to resist an impulse for immediate gratification (when that led to greater rewards later), repeat a previously successful action (when the situation had changed), attend to a distracting noise (when concentrating on a problem), and quit in the face of repeated failure. Six-year-old children were more skillful than either three-year-olds or chimpanzees at controlling their impulses. These results suggest that humans' most fundamental skills of self-control - as part of the overall decision-making process - are a part of their general great ape heritage, and that their species-unique skills of self-control begin at around the age at which many children begin formal schooling.

  6. Short Reports

    1. Preschool children favor copying a successful individual over an unsuccessful group

      Matti Wilks, Emma Collier-Baker and Mark Nielsen

      Article first published online: 20 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12274

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      Compares majority and proficiency biases in young children. Shows children will exhibit a majority bias, but not when it is inefficient, highlighting for the first time that children will copy to affiliate with a social group, though not if there is a cost to them doing so.

  7. Papers

    1. Children infer affiliative and status relations from watching others imitate

      Harriet Over and Malinda Carpenter

      Article first published online: 20 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12275

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      We investigated whether young children are able to infer affiliative relations and relative status from observing others' imitative interactions. Children watched videos showing one individual imitating another and were asked about the relationship between those individuals. Experiment 1 showed that 5-year-olds assume that individuals imitate people they like. Experiment 2 showed that children of the same age assume that an individual who imitates is relatively lower in status. Thus, although there are many advantages to imitating others, there may also be reputational costs. Younger children, 4-year-olds, did not reliably make either inference. Taken together, these experiments demonstrate that imitation conveys valuable information about third party relationships and that, at least by the age of 5, children are able to use this information in order to infer who is allied with whom and who is dominant over whom. In doing so, they add a new dimension to our understanding of the role of imitation in human social life.

    2. Introspection on uncertainty and judicious help-seeking during the preschool years

      Christine Coughlin, Emily Hembacher, Kristen E. Lyons and Simona Ghetti

      Article first published online: 7 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12271

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      How do young children decide when to ask for help? We investigated this question by having preschoolers complete an identical perceptual discrimination task under two conditions: a standard condition in which they were forced to answer independently, and a help condition in which they could ask for help. Participants asked for help on trials for which, when they were forced to answer independently in the standard condition, they were least confident and accurate; this suggests they used available help to judiciously to improve their overall performance. Although perceived helper competence did not affect overt performance, participants in a ‘bad helper’ condition were slower to respond after receiving help compared to those in a ‘good helper’ condition.

  8. Short Reports

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Infant's action skill dynamically modulates parental action demonstration in the dyadic interaction

      Hiroshi Fukuyama, Shibo Qin, Yasuhiro Kanakogi, Yukie Nagai, Minoru Asada and Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi

      Article first published online: 7 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12270

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      We investigated whether and how the infant's behaviour affects the mother's action during an interaction. Analyses revealed that spatial characteristics of the mother's task demonstration (cup-nesting task) clearly changed depending on the infant's object manipulation. In particular, the variation by the mother's motion decreased after the infant's task-relevant manipulation (i.e., cup nesting) and increased after the infant's task-irrelevant manipulation (e.g., cup banging). This pattern was not observed for mothers with 6- to 8-month-olds, who do not have the fine motor skill to perform the action. Results indicate that the infant's action skill dynamically affects the infant-directed action and suggest that the mother is sensitive to the infant's potential to learn a novel action.

    2. Young children's automatic encoding of social categories

      Kara Weisman, Marissa V. Johnson and Kristin Shutts

      Article first published online: 7 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12269

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      Three- to 6-year-old children learned facts about unfamiliar target children who varied in either gender or race and were asked to remember which facts went with which targets. Children showed automatic encoding of gender by 4 years of age, but did not show evidence of automatic encoding of race.

    3. Understanding the effects of one's actions upon hidden objects and the development of search behaviour in 7-month-old infants

      Richard J. O'Connor and James Russell

      Article first published online: 7 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12265

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      7-month-old infants learnt to spin a turntable to bring back into reach a toy that was either behind an opaque screen and thus hidden, or was behind a transparent screen and thus visible but out-of-reach. Before and after this training, infants performed an object permanence search task where a toy was hidden in a hiding-well. Infants who learnt to spin the turntable with the opaque screen showed the greatest improvement on the search task. We argue this was a result of them learning how their own actions can affect the visibility of hidden objects.

  9. Papers

    1. Infants' use of social partnerships to predict behavior

      Marjorie Rhodes, Chelsea Hetherington, Kimberly Brink and Henry M. Wellman

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12267

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      The experiences of social partners are important motivators of social action. Can infants use such experiences to make predictions about how social agents will behave? In three studies, following initial instances of conflict between individual members of different social pairs, sixteen-month-old infants looked longer when those individuals' social partners–who had never previously interacted–cooperated rather than conflicted with one other. Thus, infants tracked the agents' third-person allegiances and inferred that the conflict would generalize across social partnerships.

    2. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      The neural correlates of emotion processing in juvenile offenders

      Hannah L. Pincham, Donna Bryce and R.M. Pasco Fearon

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12262

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      In this paper we report a brain-based study of emotion processing in juvenile offenders. Male adolescent offenders and age-matched non-offenders passively viewed emotional images whilst their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography. As expected, the Late Positive Potential (LPP) was significantly enhanced following unpleasant images for non-offenders. However, for juvenile offenders, the LPP did not differ across image categories (as highlighted in the grey box). Juvenile offenders thus showed emotional hypo-reactivity to the unpleasant images, indicative of altered emotional processing. These results have the potential to inform interventions for juvenile offending.

  10. Short Reports

    1. Spatial estimation: a non-Bayesian alternative

      Hilary Barth, Ellen Lesser, Jessica Taggart and Emily Slusser

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12264

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      Estimation bias is ubiquitous in perception and cognition. Many biases, such as those observed when children and adults mark remembered spatial locations, have been explained in terms of complex Bayesian models. Here we show that these biases are more simply explained by a psychophysical model of proportion estimation.

  11. Papers

    1. Core geometry in perspective

      Moira R. Dillon and Elizabeth S. Spelke

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12266

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      The present study probes the geometric information that 4-year-old children use to interpret perspectival line drawings and photographs such as the ones pictured here. Although each picture presents a scene or an object from a highly canonical and familiar viewpoint, children interpret these pictures by relying either on the geometry they use for navigation or object recognition, respectively. Young children thus appear to flexibly recruit core geometric representations to interpret spatial symbols of varying degrees of iconicity, but they show no evidence of combining geometric information across spatial contexts to form integrated representations of scenes and objects.

    2. The brain adapts to orthography with experience: evidence from English and Chinese

      Fan Cao, Christine Brennan and James R. Booth

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12245

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      Greater developmental increases in English than in Chinese in left superior temporal gyrus and left inferior temporal gyrus, suggesting phonological processing and fine-grained word form recognition is essential in English reading. Greater developmental increase in right middle occipital gyrus in Chinese than in English, suggesting holistic visuo-orthographic processing is essential in Chinese reading.

    3. Processing of audiovisually congruent and incongruent speech in school-age children with a history of specific language impairment: a behavioral and event-related potentials study

      Natalya Kaganovich, Jennifer Schumaker, Danielle Macias and Dana Gustafson

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12263

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      Compared to their typically developing peers and adults, children with a history of SLI (H-SLI) showed normal attenuation of the N1 component to audiovisual speech but reduced susceptibility to the McGurk illusion. We conclude that, when present, audiovisual integration difficulty in the H-SLI group stems from a later (non-sensory) stage of processing.

    4. The late positive potential predicts emotion regulation strategy use in school-aged children concurrently and two years later

      Sarah Babkirk, Victor Rios and Tracy A. Dennis

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12258

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      This longitudinal study examined the predictive value of the late positive potential (LPP), an ERP that has been shown to be sensitive to reappraisal, as an indicator of observed emotion regulation strategy use in children. Five- to seven- year old children completed a computerized cognitive reappraisal task while EEG was continuously recorded, as well as two emotionally challenging behavioral tasks, during which emotion regulation strategy use was observed. Two years later, the children again completed the same challenging behavioral tasks. Children who showed reappraisal-induced reductions in the LPP during the first assessment also used significantly more adaptive emotion regulation strategies, both concurrently and two years later.

    5. The lasting effects of process-specific versus stimulus-specific learning during infancy

      Hillary Hadley, Charisse B. Pickron and Lisa S. Scott

      Article first published online: 29 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12259

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      This study aimed to determine whether conceptual learning between 6 and 9 months leads to sustained behavioral advantages and neural changes in childhood. Here, children who received individual-level training with monkey faces (all monkey faces were individually named) from 6-9 months of age, showed an adult-like Event-related potential (ERP) inversion effect for human faces relative to children with no training, or who were trained with strollers or were trained at the category level with monkey faces.

    6. The effects of early foster care intervention on attention biases in previously institutionalized children in Romania

      Sonya Troller-Renfree, Jennifer Martin McDermott, Charles A. Nelson, Charles H. Zeanah and Nathan A. Fox

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12261

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      The current study examined visual attention biases using a dot-probe paradigm in 8-year-old children who were part of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP). Children in the foster care intervention had a significantly larger positive bias when compared to the care-as-usual group. The magnitude of positive bias was predicted by age of placement into foster care and was associated with reduced psychiatric and social risk for children who experienced early psychosocial deprivation.

    7. Concurrent and lasting effects of emotion regulation on amygdala response in adolescence and young adulthood

      Jennifer A. Silvers, Jocelyn Shu, Alexa D. Hubbard, Jochen Weber and Kevin N. Ochsner

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12260

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      Adults experience less variable and intense emotions than adolescents, suggesting that age predicts an improved ability to regulate one-s emotions. The present study found that adults showed greater concurrent and sustained reductions in the amygdala response during cognitive regulation of emotion relative to adolescents. These results suggest that not only are adults more successful at cognitively regulating emotional responses in the moment, but that emotion regulation has a more lasting impact for them than for adolescents as well.

    8. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Looking and touching: what extant approaches reveal about the structure of early word knowledge

      Kristi Hendrickson, Samantha Mitsven, Diane Poulin-Dubois, Pascal Zesiger and Margaret Friend

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12250

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      In this study we conducted moment-by-moment analyses of 16- 18-month-olds' looking and reaching behavior as measures of early knowledge in a two-alternative forced-choice word-picture matching task to determine the speed with which a word was processed (visual reaction time) as a function of the type of haptic response: Target, Distractor, or No Touch. Participants were significantly slower at processing a word during No Touches compared to Distractor and Target Touches. These results suggest that incorrect and absent haptic responses appear to index distinct knowledge states..

    9. Children do not recalibrate motor-sensory temporal order after exposure to delayed sensory feedback

      Tiziana Vercillo, David Burr, Giulio Sandini and Monica Gori

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12247

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      Motor-sensory recalibration is an important mechanism for the process of causal attribution. In this study we showed that this mechanism develops late in humans owing to the poor temporal resolution in motor-sensory synchronization in children younger than 12 years of age.

    10. Active vision in passive locomotion: real-world free viewing in infants and adults

      Kari S. Kretch and Karen E. Adolph

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12251

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      Visual exploration in infants and adults has been studied using two very different paradigms: free viewing of flat screen displays in desk-mounted eye-tracking studies and real-world visual guidance of action in head-mounted eye-tracking studies. To test whether classic findings from screen-based studies generalize to real-world visual exploration and to compare natural visual exploration in infants and adults, we tested observers in a new paradigm that combines critical aspects of both previous techniques: free viewing during real-world visual exploration. Mothers and their 9-month-old infants wore head-mounted eye trackers while mothers carried their infants in a forward-facing infant carrier through a series of indoor hallways. Results indicate that several aspects of visual exploration of a flat screen display do not generalize to visual exploration in the real world.

    11. Towards a better understanding of the relationship between executive control and theory of mind: an intra-cultural comparison of three diverse samples

      Ameneh Shahaeian, Julie D. Henry, Maryam Razmjoee, Ali Teymoori and Cen Wang

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12243

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      Theory of Mind understanding (ToM) and Executive Functioning skills (EF) are compared among three diverse groups of Iranian children, including unschooled children from mountain village. While all children showed similar levels of ToM understanding, EF skills were highly related to children′s socio-economic status. The results provide support to the ‘Emergence account’ explaining the association between ToM and EF.

    12. 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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