Child Development Research The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2015 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. The Mind and Heart of the Social Child: Developing the Empathy and Theory of Mind Scale Tue, 10 Nov 2015 12:56:12 +0000 Empathy and theory of mind (ToM) are distinctive psychological constructs in predicting children’s social functioning. This study provided evidence of the independent nature of these constructs and developed a parent questionnaire for measuring individual differences in children’s empathy and ToM. In Study 1, exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis based on responses of 116 parents of Hong Kong children established a three-factor structure of the Empathy and Theory of Mind Scale (EToMS), that is, Empathy, Nice ToM, and Nasty ToM. An additional 189 parents of Study 2 confirmed this three-factor model. A subsample of 93 children (, SD = .84, 47 boys) from Study 2 took part in child measures of helping and lying behaviors as well as false belief understanding. The results supported the reliability and validity of the EToMS, making it a useful assessment of children’s social predispositions. Zhenlin Wang and Lamei Wang Copyright © 2015 Zhenlin Wang and Lamei Wang. All rights reserved. Gender Differences in Beliefs about Infant-Directed Speech: The Role of Family Dynamics Mon, 19 Oct 2015 08:20:38 +0000 The research investigated the relationship between family dynamics and the beliefs about the benefits of talking to infants. Prior research has shown that language development is enhanced by verbal interaction with others. We tested two hypotheses: (a) men may view talking to infants as less beneficial than women and (b) one’s relationships with parents would be related to the extent to which young adults view talking to infants as beneficial. In a study with 301 undergraduates (181 women, 120 men), we confirmed both hypotheses, showing that (a) men were less likely than women to view talking to infants as beneficial and (b) for both men and women, the more negative their relationship with their mother, the less likely they were to view talking to infants as beneficial. Implications for infant care are discussed. Shelia M. Kennison and Jennifer Byrd-Craven Copyright © 2015 Shelia M. Kennison and Jennifer Byrd-Craven. All rights reserved. Microdevelopment of Complex Featural and Spatial Integration with Contextual Support Thu, 15 Oct 2015 09:22:26 +0000 Complex spatial decisions involve the ability to combine featural and spatial information in a scene. In the present work, 4- through 9-year-old children completed a complex map-scene correspondence task under baseline and supported conditions. Children compared a photographed scene with a correct map and with map-foils that made salient an object feature or spatial property. Map-scene matches were analyzed for the effects of age and featural-spatial information on children’s selections. In both conditions children significantly favored maps that highlighted object detail and object perspective rather than color, landmark, and metric elements. Children’s correct performance did not differ by age and was suboptimal, but their ability to choose correct maps improved significantly when contextual support was provided. Strategy variability was prominent for all age groups, but at age 9 with support children were more likely to give up their focus on features and transition to the use of spatial strategies. These findings suggest the possibility of a U-shaped curve for children’s development of geometric knowledge: geometric coding is predominant early on, diminishes for a time in middle childhood in favor of a preference for features, and then reemerges along with the more advanced abilities to combine featural and spatial information. Pamela L. Hirsch and Elisabeth Hollister Sandberg Copyright © 2015 Pamela L. Hirsch and Elisabeth Hollister Sandberg. All rights reserved. The Role of Self-Action in 2-Year-Old Children: An Illustration of the Arithmetical Inversion Principle before Formal Schooling Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:32:54 +0000 The importance of self-action and its considerable links with cognitive activity in childhood are known. For instance, in arithmetical cognition, 2-year-olds detected an impossible arithmetical outcome more accurately when they performed the operation themselves (actor mode) than when the experimenter presented it (onlooker mode). A key component in this domain concerns the understanding of the inversion principle between addition and subtraction. Complex operations can be solved without calculation by using an inversion-based shortcut (3-term problems of the form must equal a). Some studies have shown that, around the age of 4, children implicitly use the inversion principle. However, little is known before the age of 4. Here, we examined the role of self-action in the development of this principle by preschool children. In the first experiment, 2-year-olds were confronted with inversion ( or 2) and standard ( or 2) arithmetical problems either in actor or onlooker mode. The results revealed that actor mode improved accuracy for the inversion problem, suggesting that self-action helps children use the inversion-based shortcut. These results were strengthened with another inversion problem ( or 2) in a second experiment. Our data provide new support for the importance of considering self-action in early mathematics education. Amélie Lubin, Sandrine Rossi, Nicolas Poirel, Céline Lanoë, Arlette Pineau, and Olivier Houdé Copyright © 2015 Amélie Lubin et al. All rights reserved. Maternal Reading Self-Efficacy Associated with Perceived Barriers to Reading Mon, 12 Jan 2015 07:32:32 +0000 Although early reading practices impact a host of child literacy, language, and school outcomes, many parents do not read to their young children. One possible explanation for this lack of early literacy practices is mothers’ feelings about their ability to successfully read to their children. A series of multiple regressions were used to explore whether new mothers’ reading self-efficacy predicted their perceived barriers to reading to their 18-month-old children. Findings suggest that self-efficacy buffers against mother-centered (e.g., too tired), child-centered (e.g., toddler fussy), and structural (e.g., environmental distractions) barriers to reading. Given the importance of early literacy and that not all mothers read to their toddlers, increasing reading self-efficacy may offer a way to reduce perceived barriers to early literacy practices. Joyce Lin, Stephanie M. Reich, Sabrina Kataoka, and George Farkas Copyright © 2015 Joyce Lin et al. All rights reserved. Age and Cultural Differences in Self-Perceptions of Mastery Motivation and Competence in American, Chinese, and Hungarian School Age Children Mon, 29 Dec 2014 13:44:56 +0000 We examined age differences in self-perceptions of five dimensions of mastery motivation and also of competence in American, Chinese, and Hungarian children and teens. Participants included 200 Americans, 1,465 Chinese, and 8,175 Hungarians from 7 to 19 years of age. The Dimensions of Mastery Questionnaire provides comparable data across these different cultures as indicated by very similar factor structures and reasonably good internal consistency reliabilities for the scales. Across all three cultures, there was the expected decline from primary to secondary school in total persistence and the four instrumental mastery motivation scales, except for social persistence with adults in the American sample. Mastery pleasure did not decline in the American and Chinese samples but declined in the Hungarian sample. Self-perceived competence did not decline significantly in the American sample or in the Hungarian sample from age 11 to 17; however, competence self-ratings declined in the Chinese sample. The three cultures were compared at 11 and 16. Although there were some significant differences, small effect sizes indicated that the level of motivation was similar for each culture at each age. The other literature provides clues about why the declines occur in all three cultures and why there are some differences among cultures. Krisztian Jozsa, Jun Wang, Karen Caplovitz Barrett, and George A. Morgan Copyright © 2014 Krisztian Jozsa et al. All rights reserved. Functional Assessment Based Parent Intervention in Reducing Children’s Challenging Behaviors: Exploratory Study of Group Training Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:58:21 +0000 This study examined the effects of group parent training on children’s challenging behaviors in home settings. Eight parents of young children with challenging behaviors were trained in a large group setting on using functional assessment to design interventions that fit the strengths and needs of individual families. The training included information sharing and collaborating with parents on designing functional-assessment based interventions. An Interrupted Time Series Design was used to examine the effects of large group training by comparing parent and child behaviors prior to intervention with behaviors after the intervention. Data were analyzed using Repeated Measures ANOVA. The results indicated that group training increased parents’ ability to implement functional assessment based strategies and these strategies resulted in a significant reduction in children’s challenging behaviors. Furthermore, parent implementation of functional assessment based strategies and children’s decreased levels of challenging behaviors were maintained after the completion of the intervention. Angel Fettig and Michaelene M. Ostrosky Copyright © 2014 Angel Fettig and Michaelene M. Ostrosky. All rights reserved. Letter and Colour Matching Tasks: Parametric Measures of Developmental Working Memory Capacity Sun, 30 Nov 2014 00:10:12 +0000 We investigated the mediating role of interference in developmental assessments of working memory (WM) capacity across childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. One hundred and forty-two participants completed two versions of visuospatial (colour matching task, CMT) and verbal (letter matching task, LMT) WM tasks, which systematically varied cognitive load in a high and low interference condition. Results showed similar developmental trajectories across high interference contexts (CMT- and LMT-Complex) and divergent developmental growth patterns across low interference contexts (CMT- and LMT-Simple). Performance on tasks requiring greater cognitive control was in closer agreement with developmental predictions relative to simple recall guided tasks that rely solely on the storage components of WM. These findings suggest that developmental WM capacity, as measured by the CMT and LMT paradigms, can be better quantified using high interference contexts, in both content domains, and demonstrate steady increases in WM through to mid-adolescence. Tamara L. Powell, Marie Arsalidou, Vanessa M. Vogan, and Margot J. Taylor Copyright © 2014 Tamara L. Powell et al. All rights reserved. Developmental Readiness in the Understanding of Own and Other’s False Beliefs Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 One of the most important milestones in the development of theory of mind is the understanding of false beliefs. This study compares children’s understanding of representational change and others’ false beliefs and evaluates the effectiveness of an appearance-reality training for improving children’s false belief understanding. A total of 78 children ranging in age from 41 to 47 months were trained in three sessions and evaluated in a pretest and in a posttest. The results show that for children it is easier to understand representational change than false beliefs in others, and that the improvement after training was greater when starting from a higher score in the pretest. The implications of this for training in false belief understanding are discussed. Anna Amadó, Elisabet Serrat, and Francesc Sidera Copyright © 2014 Anna Amadó et al. All rights reserved. Crosslinguistic Developmental Consistency in the Composition of Toddlers’ Internal State Vocabulary: Evidence from Four Languages Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:44:43 +0000 Mental state language, emerging in the second and third years of life in typically developing children, is one of the first signs of an explicit psychological understanding. While mental state vocabulary may serve a variety of conversational functions in discourse and thus might not always indicate psychological comprehension, there is evidence for genuine references to mental states (desires, knowledge, beliefs, and emotions) early in development across languages. This present study presents parental questionnaire data on the composition of 297 toddler-aged (30-to 32-month-olds) children’s internal state vocabulary in four languages: Italian, German, English, and French. The results demonstrated that across languages expressions for physiological states (e.g., hungry and tired) were among the most varied, while children’s vocabulary for cognitive entities (e.g., know and think) proved to be least varied. Further, consistent with studies on children’s comprehension of these concepts, across languages children’s mastery of volition terms (e.g., like to do and want) preceded their mastery of cognition terms. These findings confirm the cross-linguistic consistency of children’s emerging expression of abstract psychological concepts. Susanne Kristen, Sabrina Chiarella, Beate Sodian, Tiziana Aureli, Maria Genco, and Diane Poulin-Dubois Copyright © 2014 Susanne Kristen et al. All rights reserved. The Effects of Soothing Techniques and Rough-and-Tumble Play on the Early Development of Temperament: A Longitudinal Study of Infants Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:11:06 +0000 A total of 189 infants (93 girls, 96 boys) were investigated longitudinally at ages 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months to examine the effects of soothing techniques (i.e., distracting infants by presenting novel objects) and rough-and-tumble play on the early development of temperament, particularly the emergence of Effortful Control. We used questionnaires to examine the frequency of use of soothing techniques and rough-and-tumble play. The Infant Behavior Questionnaire Revised (IBQ-R) and the Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire (ECBQ) were used to assess temperament. A strong relationship was found between parental ratings of their infant's Orienting/Regulation and later Effortful Control. Caregivers’ use of distracting as a soothing technique during infancy was associated with higher Negative Affect in toddlers at 24 months. More surgent infants were involved in more rough-and-tumble play, with rough-and-tumble play frequencies positively correlated with surgency scores at 24 months. Atsuko Nakagawa and Masune Sukigara Copyright © 2014 Atsuko Nakagawa and Masune Sukigara. All rights reserved. Children’s and Adolescents’ Processing of Temporary Syntactic Ambiguity: An Eye Movement Study Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:17:59 +0000 This study examined the eye movements of 24 children and adolescents as they read sentences containing temporary syntactic ambiguities. Prior research suggested that children primarily use grammatical information when making initial parsing decisions, and they tend to disregard semantic and contextual information. On each trial, participants read a garden path sentence (e.g., While the storm blew the boat sat in the shed), and, afterwards, they answered a comprehension question (e.g., Did the storm blow the boat?). The design was 2 × 2 (verb type × ambiguity) repeated measures. Verb type was optionally transitive or reflexive, and sentences were ambiguous or unambiguous. Results showed no differences in first pass reading times at the disambiguating verb (e.g., sat). However, regressions did show a significant interaction. The unambiguous-reflexive condition had approximately half the number of regressions, suggesting less processing difficulty in this condition. Developmentally, we found that adolescents had significantly better comprehension, which seemed to be linked to the increased tendency to regress from the disambiguating word. Findings are consistent with the assumption that the processing architecture is more restricted in children compared to adolescents. In addition, results indicated that variance in ambiguity resolution was associated with interference control but not working memory. Paul E. Engelhardt Copyright © 2014 Paul E. Engelhardt. All rights reserved. Engaging Brazilian Street Children in Play: Observations of Their Family Narratives Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Story stem assessments allow children to create narratives in response to brief portrayals of family-based relational challenges. These methods can provide insights into children’s perceptions of close relationships, which is particularly useful for vulnerable children. We conducted a feasibility study of story stem assessments with school-age street children—a previously unstudied population—to explore whether they would understand family-based story scenarios similarly to children in more stable families. Comparisons to children in low income and middle-class conditions were made on the basis of performance characteristics and “narrative coherence.” Street children demonstrated capacities to elaborate family narratives nearly as proficiently as children in the other groups, yet they also displayed unique vulnerabilities. Implications for research with this population are discussed. Maria Leticia Castrechini Fernandes Franieck, Michael Günter, and Timothy Page Copyright © 2014 Maria Leticia Castrechini Fernandes Franieck et al. All rights reserved. Terbutaline and Associated Risks for Neurodevelopmental Disorders Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:31:32 +0000 Preterm labor often leads to a preterm birth and has been shown to be the most important determinant of risk for perinatal morbidity and mortality. While medication management has been utilized by physicians to delay preterm labor, the results these medications achieve remain inconsistent, in addition to increasing the risk to the developing fetus. Terbutaline has been among the most commonly used -adrenoreceptor (AR) agonists in the management of preterm labor. The research suggests that tocolytic terbutaline therapy carries a significant risk for the mother and the child, which can be magnified by extended exposure, sex of the fetus, and administration during critical fetal developmental periods. This paper highlights the research on terbutaline in treatment of preterm labor, along with the possible associated cognitive deficits in adolescents who were treated with terbutaline in utero. Two case summaries are presented to illustrate the potential deficits in clinical presentations of adolescents with history of intrauterine exposure to terbutaline. Publicizing the association between terbutaline and these deficits can not only assist obstetricians and expectant mothers in making a more informed choice in the treatment of preterm labor but also provide neuropsychologists and pediatricians with information helpful in understanding the etiology of these impairments. Robert Perna, Ashlee Loughan, Hana Perkey, and Kelly Tyson Copyright © 2014 Robert Perna et al. All rights reserved. Revealing Children's Experiences and Emotions through Q Methodology Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:38:52 +0000 Over the last two decades, there has been a greater readiness to view children as competent contributors to our understanding of children’s lives and experiences. As a consequence of this, we have witnessed an increased focus on including children in research. When research aims at revealing children’s perspectives, experiences, and emotions, we need to employ methods that are easy-to-use means for obtaining their stories. In this paper, we argue that Q methodology is particularly suitable for facilitating children’s participation in research. We will give a brief presentation of the methodology and demonstrate its relevance for research with children. We do so by presenting two research examples aiming at revealing children’s experiences and emotions in challenging life circumstances. In the first example, Q methodology was used with five-year-old children where the research topic was divorce. The second example is a study on family perceptions among adolescents in foster home care. Ingunn T. Ellingsen, Arlene Arstad Thorsen, and Ingunn Størksen Copyright © 2014 Ingunn T. Ellingsen et al. All rights reserved. Breastfeeding Education: A Physician and Patient Assessment Sun, 01 Jun 2014 08:01:26 +0000 In the study presented here, Likert scaled surveys derived from the Surgeon General’s Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding (2000) were mailed to 400 practicing physicians in a Midwestern state to assess medical school breastfeeding education. In addition, 500 surveys were mailed to women in the same Midwestern state who had given birth within the last year to determine what type of breastfeeding information they were receiving from their attending physicians. The purpose of this study is to analyze physician breastfeeding education and to ascertain if the data collected from the physicians is congruent with the data collected from the women who had recently given birth. Results of this study indicate that while the majority of physicians reported sufficient levels of breastfeeding education while in medical school, women participating in this study reported that they did not receive compendious breastfeeding information from their attending physicians. J. M. Stolzer and Syed Afzal Hossain Copyright © 2014 J. M. Stolzer and Syed Afzal Hossain. All rights reserved. Role of Working Memory Storage and Attention Focus Switching in Children’s Comprehension of Spoken Object Relative Sentences Tue, 20 May 2014 11:46:56 +0000 The present study evaluated a two-mechanism memory model of the online auditory comprehension of object relative (OR) sentences in 7–11-year-old typically developing children. Mechanisms of interest included working memory storage (WMS) and attention focus switching. We predicted that both mechanisms would be important for comprehension. Forty-four children completed a listening span task indexing WMS, an auditory attention focus switching task, and an agent selection task indexing spoken sentence comprehension. Regression analyses indicated that WMS and attention focus switching accuracy each accounted for significant and unique variance in the children’s OR comprehension after accounting for age. Results were interpreted to suggest that WMS is important for OR comprehension by supporting children’s ability to retain both noun phrase 1 and noun phrase 2 prior to their reactivating noun phrase 1 from memory in order to integrate it into a developing structure. Attention focus switching was interpreted to be critical in supporting children’s noun phrase 1 reactivation, as they needed to switch their focus of attention momentarily away from ongoing language processing to memory retrieval. Mianisha C. Finney, James W. Montgomery, Ronald B. Gillam, and Julia L. Evans Copyright © 2014 Mianisha C. Finney et al. All rights reserved. Does Mother Know Best? Maternal Knowledge Calibration Predicts Children’s Oral Language Development Wed, 30 Apr 2014 07:10:15 +0000 For young children, maternal testimony is an important source of knowledge. Research suggests that children privilege assertions expressed with certainty; however, adults frequently overestimate their knowledge, which may lead them to express certainty about incorrect information. This study addressed three questions. (1) To what extent do mothers convey domain knowledge when talking to their kindergartners? (2) Do mothers successfully calibrate their knowledge during these conversations? (3) Does mothers’ knowledge calibration predict their children’s language outcomes? Forty-nine mother-child dyads read a picture book about a familiar domain. Mothers’ assertions of domain knowledge were coded for accuracy and expressed certainty. Results revealed that mothers tended to overestimate their knowledge. Knowledge calibration accuracy positively predicted child outcomes. Successful calibration was associated with stronger vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension, whereas poor knowledge calibration was associated with weaker child outcomes. Knowledge calibration may be a crucial factor in the successful transmission of knowledge during mother-child conversations and impact children’s language development. Ashley M. Pinkham, Tanya Kaefer, and Susan B. Neuman Copyright © 2014 Ashley M. Pinkham et al. All rights reserved. Preschool Power Play: Resource Control Strategies Associated with Health Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:18:23 +0000 Background. This exploratory study uses a multimethod approach to examine the relationship between social strategy usage and overall health in preschool children. Methods. Children's temperament, social strategies, and health assessments were obtained via reported behavior from parents and teachers. In addition, children's use of prosocial and coercive strategies was observed and recorded via one-way windows in the preschool facility. Results. Results revealed that the temperament characteristic of effortful control was related to the observed use of coercive strategies and that coercive strategies were not observed by teachers, who viewed these children as primarily prosocial. The reported use of both coercive and prosocial strategies was also related to decrease in illness. Conclusion. These findings in relation to previous work suggest that using both prosocial and coercive strategies can elevate status as well as maintain health even in young children. Amber R. Massey, Jennifer Byrd-Craven, and CaSandra L. Swearingen Copyright © 2014 Amber R. Massey et al. All rights reserved. Student Engagement in After-School Programs, Academic Skills, and Social Competence among Elementary School Students Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:14:45 +0000 Research on the relationship between after-school program participation and student outcomes has been mixed, and beneficial effects have been small. More recent studies suggest that participation is best characterized as a multidimensional concept that includes enrollment, attendance, and engagement, which help explain differences in student outcomes. The present study uses data from a longitudinal study of after-school programs in elementary schools to examine staff ratings of student engagement in after-school activities and the association between engagement and school outcomes. The factor structure of the staff-rated measure of student engagement was examined by exploratory factor analysis. Multiple regression analyses found that student engagement in academic, youth development, and arts after-school program activities was significantly related to changes in teacher ratings of academic skills and social competence over the course of the school year and that students with the greatest increase in academic skills both were highly engaged in activities and attended the after-school program regularly. The results of this study provide additional evidence regarding the benefits of after-school programs and the importance of student engagement when assessing student outcomes. Kathryn E. Grogan, Christopher C. Henrich, and Mariya V. Malikina Copyright © 2014 Kathryn E. Grogan et al. All rights reserved. Early Vocabulary Development of Australian Indigenous Children: Identifying Strengths Tue, 01 Apr 2014 11:43:21 +0000 The current study sought to increase our understanding of the factors involved in the early vocabulary development of Australian Indigenous children. Data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children were available for 573 Indigenous children (291 boys) who spoke English ( months, months, at wave 3). Data were also available for 86 children (51 boys) who spoke an Indigenous language ( months, months, at wave 3). As hypothesised, higher levels of parent-child book reading and having more children’s books in the home were associated with better English vocabulary development. Oral storytelling in Indigenous language was a significant predictor of the size of children’s Indigenous vocabulary. Brad M. Farrant, Carrington C. J. Shepherd, Roz D. Walker, and Glenn C. Pearson Copyright © 2014 Brad M. Farrant et al. All rights reserved. Taxonomies Support Preschoolers’ Knowledge Acquisition from Storybooks Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:13:49 +0000 For young children, storybooks may serve as especially valuable sources of new knowledge. While most research focuses on how extratextual comments influence knowledge acquisition, we propose that children’s learning may also be supported by the specific features of storybooks. More specifically, we propose that texts that invoke children’s knowledge of familiar taxonomic categories may support learning by providing a conceptual framework through which prior knowledge and new knowledge can be readily integrated. In this study, 60 5-year olds were read a storybook that either invoked their knowledge of a familiar taxonomic category (taxonomic storybook) or focused on a common thematic grouping (traditional storybook). Following the book-reading, children’s vocabulary acquisition, literal comprehension, and inferential comprehension were assessed. Children who were read the taxonomic storybook demonstrated greater acquisition of target vocabulary and comprehension of factual content than children who were read the traditional storybook. Inferential comprehension, however, did not differ across the two conditions. We argue for the importance of careful consideration of book features and storybook selection in order to provide children with every opportunity to gain the knowledge foundational for successful literacy development. Ashley M. Pinkham, Tanya Kaefer, and Susan B. Neuman Copyright © 2014 Ashley M. Pinkham et al. All rights reserved. Abnormalities in Pattern of Lateralization in Relation to Visuospatial Short Term Memory in Children with Williams Syndrome Thu, 20 Mar 2014 07:30:15 +0000 Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic disorder characterised by significant intellectual disability. Initial studies indicate that children with WS have a profound bias for information in the top left of visual arrays. Study 1, using a visuospatial memory test for items presented in a matrix, found a significant top left bias in WS children relative to controls. Study 2 used a probe-based memory test with arrays in which items appeared with equal probability in each position. Relative to controls, WS children showed a significant top and left bias. In Study 3, the same children engaged in a visual search task and again, a top and left bias was found in the WS group. It is concluded that children with WS display atypical laterality, which might be explained by abnormal saccadic movements, by abnormalities involving development of the dorsal stream or by uneven cortical development. Antonios Chasouris, Peter Mayer, Ian Stuart-Hamilton, Martin Graff, and Lance Workman Copyright © 2014 Antonios Chasouris et al. All rights reserved. The Smart Nonconserver: Preschoolers Detect Their Number Conservation Errors Wed, 12 Feb 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Classic developmental studies have established that children’s number conservation is often biased by misleading intuitions. However, the precise nature of these conservation errors is not clear. A key question is whether children detect that their erroneous conservation judgment is unwarranted. The present study focuses on this critical error sensitivity issue. Preschool children were given a classic version of a number conservation task in which an intuitively cued response conflicted with the correct conservation response and a control version in which this conflict was not present. After solving each version children were asked to indicate their response confidence. Results showed that in contrast with children who gave a correct conservation response, preschoolers who erred showed a sharp confidence decrease after solving the classic conflict problem. This suggests that nonconserving preschoolers detect that their response is questionable and are less ignorant about conservation than their well-documented errors might have previously suggested. Wim De Neys, Amélie Lubin, and Olivier Houdé Copyright © 2014 Wim De Neys et al. All rights reserved. Lost in Translation? Comparing British, Japanese, and Italian Children’s Theory-of-Mind Performance Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:53:47 +0000 Findings from cross-cultural theory-of-mind studies highlight potential measurement effects and both general (e.g., East-West) and specific (e.g., pedagogical experiences) cultural contrasts. We compared theory-of-mind scores for children from UK and Italy (two Western countries that differ in age of school entry) and Japan (a Far-Eastern country in which children, like their Italian counterparts, start school later than British children). Confirmatory factor analysis was applied to data from 268 age-gender- and verbal ability-matched 5- to 6-year olds. Key findings were that (i) all 8 indicators loaded onto a single latent factor; and (ii) this latent factor explained significant variance in each group, with just one indicator showing differential item functioning. Supporting the importance of pedagogical experiences, British children outperformed both their Italian and Japanese counterparts. Claire Hughes, Rory T. Devine, Rosie Ensor, Masuo Koyasu, Ai Mizokawa, and Serena Lecce Copyright © 2014 Claire Hughes et al. All rights reserved. Comparing Adolescent Only Children with Those Who Have Siblings on Academic Related Outcomes and Psychosocial Adjustment Tue, 14 Jan 2014 07:17:31 +0000 This study uses a large and representative sample of adolescents to test the theoretically informed hypotheses comparing adolescent singletons with those who have siblings. The results found that, for academic related outcomes (educational expectations, time spent on homework, and self-reported grades), there are no differences between singletons and firstborns who have any number of younger siblings. Singletons are also not different from laterborns from two-child families. In contrast, singletons are more advantageous compared to laterborns who have two or more siblings on educational expectations and grades. Singletons also spend more time on homework than laterborns who have three or more siblings. For psychosocial outcomes (psychological distress, susceptibility to negative peer pressure, and problem behaviors), singletons are not different from both firstborns and laterborns with any number of siblings. The findings suggest that singletons are not at any disadvantage compared to their peers who have siblings and they enjoy some advantages over laterborns from medium to large families on academic related outcomes. Zeng-yin Chen and Ruth X. Liu Copyright © 2014 Zeng-yin Chen and Ruth X. Liu. All rights reserved. Cognitive Flexibility, Theory of Mind, and Hyperactivity/Inattention Sun, 12 Jan 2014 10:14:25 +0000 The present study analyzed the concurrent and longitudinal relations among cognitive flexibility, theory of mind, and hyperactivity/inattention in a sample of 70 typically developing children ( age = 61.4 months, SD = 8.3 months). Mothers and teachers reported on children’s hyperactivity/inattention using the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (Goodman, 1997), cognitive flexibility was measured using the dimension change card sort task (Zelazo, 2006), and theory of mind was assessed using a battery of tasks. Cognitive flexibility and theory of mind scores were found to be significantly negatively correlated with the level of hyperactivity/inattention at both time points. Furthermore, year 1 cognitive flexibility score was found to be a significant predictor of year 2 hyperactivity/inattention score after controlling for child age, gender, and year 1 hyperactivity/inattention score. Directions for future research include training studies which would further our understanding of these relationships and allow more effective interventions. Brad M. Farrant, Janet Fletcher, and Murray T. Maybery Copyright © 2014 Brad M. Farrant et al. All rights reserved. Children’s Trust Beliefs in Others and Trusting Behavior in Peer Interaction Wed, 25 Dec 2013 15:14:09 +0000 The relation between children’s trust beliefs and trusting behavior in peer interaction was examined. One hundred and 5 Italian children (54 boys; mean age = 10 years-7 months) completed standardized scales of reliability (i.e., promise keeping) trust beliefs in parents and peers. The children participated in mixed-motive interactions with classmates which assessed behavior-dependent reliability trust on peers. The children’s reliability trustworthiness towards peers/classmates was assessed by peer reports. The SEM analyses supported the hypothesized model by showing: (1) a path between trust beliefs in parents and trust beliefs in peers; (2) paths between both types of trust beliefs and behavior-dependent trust on peers; (3) a path between behavior-dependent trust in peers and trustworthiness towards peers. Trust beliefs in peers were found to mediate the relation between trust beliefs in parents and behavior-dependent trust in peers. The findings yielded support for the basis, domain, and target trust framework and attachment theory. Ken J. Rotenberg, Serena Petrocchi, Flavia Lecciso, and Antonella Marchetti Copyright © 2013 Ken J. Rotenberg et al. All rights reserved. A Bidirectional Relationship between Conceptual Organization and Word Learning Sun, 22 Dec 2013 09:43:41 +0000 This study explores the relationship between word learning and conceptual organization for preschool-aged children. We proposed a bidirectional model in which increases in word learning lead to increases in taxonomic organization, which, in turn, leads to further increases in word learning. In order to examine this model, we recruited 104 4-year olds from Head Start classrooms; 52 children participated in a two-week training program, and 52 children were in a control group. Results indicated that children in the training program learned more words and were more likely to sort taxonomically than children in the control condition. Furthermore, the number of words learned over the training period predicted the extent to which children categorized taxonomically. Additionally, this ability to categorize taxonomically predicted the number of words learned outside the training program, over and above the number of words learned in the program. These results suggest a bi-directional relationship between conceptual organization and word learning. Tanya Kaefer and Susan B. Neuman Copyright © 2013 Tanya Kaefer and Susan B. Neuman. All rights reserved. Associations of Motor Developmental Risks with the Socioeconomic Status of Preschool Children in North-Eastern Germany Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:20:04 +0000 Aims. The study is part of the pilot project “children in preschools” and aims to detect developmental risks of preschool children in the context of their socioeconomic status (SES) as a base to initiate individual intervention strategies. Methods. The “Dortmund Developmental Screening for the Kindergarten” was used in 12 preschools in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (MWP) to detect early developmental risks in children aged 3 to 6 years (). Socioeconomic data from parents were collected by a standardised questionnaire. Results. Significant differences between the SES groups were identified especially in the field of fine motor skills (). In gross motor development differences were not statistically significant. Prevalence rate of fine motor developmental risks ranges from 1.7% to 20.9%; the rate of gross motor developmental risks tops out at 14.4%. The prevalence rates are associated with age and sex. Conclusions. Fine motor skills in 3–6 years old preschool children are significantly associated with the socioeconomic status. In gross motor skills an association could not be identified. In this study, motor development was more affected by sex than by SES. Annika Gottschling-Lang, Marco Franze, and Wolfgang Hoffmann Copyright © 2013 Annika Gottschling-Lang et al. All rights reserved.