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Preview: Developmental Psychology - Vol 44, Iss 2

Developmental Psychology - Vol 53, Iss 3

Developmental Psychology publishes articles that advance knowledge and theory about human development across the life span.

Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:00:06 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Explicit scaffolding increases simple helping in younger infants.


Infants become increasingly helpful during the second year. We investigated experimentally whether adults’ explicit scaffolding influences this development. Infants (N = 69, 13–18 months old) participated in a series of simple helping tasks. Half of infants received explicit scaffolding (encouragement and praise), whereas the other half did not. Among younger infants (below 15 months), infants who received explicit scaffolding helped twice as often as infants in the control group, and also helped more on several subsequent trials when no scaffolding was provided. As predicted, older infants were not affected by explicit scaffolding. These results demonstrate the influence of social experiences in early helping, but also how the effects of scaffolding may depend on the developmental level of the child. Less explicit forms of scaffolding may be effective when children are older. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Mindful parenting predicts mothers’ and infants’ hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity during a dyadic stressor.


Mindfulness in the parenting relationship has been proposed to help both parents and children better regulate stress, though this has not yet been shown at the physiological level. In this study, we tested relations between maternal mindfulness in parenting and both mothers’ and their infants’ hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity during a dyadic stressor 3 months later. Participants were 73 mother–infant dyads from a larger longitudinal study. At 3 months postpartum, mothers completed self-report measures of general dispositional mindfulness and parenting-specific mindfulness, as well as stressful life events. At 6 months postpartum, mother–infant dyads completed the Still Face task. Four saliva samples were collected from each dyad member for cortisol assay to index the HPA axis response. Hierarchical linear modeling of cortisol trajectories revealed a main effect of maternal parenting-specific mindfulness (mindful parenting), but not general dispositional mindfulness, on mothers’ cortisol; mothers with higher mindful parenting showed steeper cortisol recovery slopes. In addition, maternal mindful parenting moderated the effect of life stress on later mother and infant cortisol. In the context of high life stress, maternal mindful parenting predicted lower infant cortisol levels, but more extended maternal cortisol elevations. Implications for a biobehavioral model of mindful parenting are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The interplay of maternal sensitivity and toddler engagement of mother in predicting self-regulation.


Using data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, a cross-lag mediation model was tested to examine longitudinal relations among low-income mothers’ sensitivity; toddlers’ engagement of their mothers; and toddler’s self-regulation at ages 1, 2, and 3 years (N = 2,958). Age 1 maternal sensitivity predicted self-regulation at ages 2 and 3 years, and age 2 engagement of mother mediated the relation between age 1 maternal sensitivity and age 3 self-regulation. Lagged relations from toddler self-regulation at ages 1 and 2 years to later maternal sensitivity were not significant, suggesting stronger influence from mother to toddler than vice versa. Model fit was similar regardless of child gender and depth of family poverty. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Maternal depression and parenting in early childhood: Contextual influence of marital quality and social support in two samples.


Marital quality and social support satisfaction were tested as moderators of the association between maternal depressive symptoms and parenting during early childhood (18–36 months) among 2 large, divergent, longitudinal samples (n = 526; n = 570). Unexpectedly, in both samples the association between maternal depressive symptoms and reduced parenting quality was strongest in the context of high marital quality and high social support, and largely nonsignificant in the context of low marital quality and low social support. Possible explanations for these surprising findings are discussed. Results point to the importance of accounting for factors in the broader family context in predicting the association between depressive symptoms and maternal parenting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Scientific thinking in elementary school: Children’s social cognition and their epistemological understanding promote experimentation skills.


Do social cognition and epistemological understanding promote elementary school children’s experimentation skills? To investigate this question, 402 children (ages 8, 9, and 10) in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades were assessed for their experimentation skills, social cognition (advanced theory of mind [AToM]), epistemological understanding (understanding the nature of science), and general information-processing skills (inhibition, intelligence, and language abilities) in a whole-class testing procedure. A multiple indicators multiple causes model revealed a significant influence of social cognition (AToM) on epistemological understanding, and a McNemar test suggested that children’s development of AToM is an important precursor for the emergence of an advanced, mature epistemological understanding. Children’s epistemological understanding, in turn, predicted their experimentation skills. Importantly, this relation was independent of the common influences of general information processing. Significant relations between experimentation skills and inhibition, and between epistemological understanding, intelligence, and language abilities emerged, suggesting that general information processing contributes to the conceptual development that is involved in scientific thinking. The model of scientific thinking that was tested in this study (social cognition and epistemological understanding promote experimentation skills) fitted the data significantly better than 2 alternative models, which assumed nonspecific, equally strong relations between all constructs under investigation. Our results support the conclusion that social cognition plays a foundational role in the emergence of children’s epistemological understanding, which in turn is closely related to the development of experimentation skills. Our findings have significant implications for the teaching of scientific thinking in elementary school and they stress the importance of children’s epistemological understanding in scientific-thinking processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Adolescents’ conceptions of national wealth distribution: Connections with perceived societal fairness and academic plans.


This study examined mostly lower-middle–income Latino (37%) and African American (33%) adolescents’ (N = 90, Mage = 15.90) conceptions of how U.S. wealth is and ought to be distributed, and whether these judgments are related to adolescents’ views about societal and legal fairness and their immediate academic plans. Individually administered multipart interviews assessed conceptions regarding (a) actual and ideal U.S. wealth distribution and related “Rawlsian” judgments, (b) social system and legal fairness, and (c) adolescents’ near-term life goals. Overall, adolescents underestimated actual levels of U.S. wealth inequality while also preferring a more egalitarian distribution than was believed to exist. Adolescents’ wealth-related reasoning was mostly unrelated to other societal or personal judgments, whereas societal and legal fairness judgments were related to personal academic plans. Although adolescents had generally negative views of societal and legal fairness, having more positive fairness conceptions was related to a greater emphasis on academic plans. Compared with their younger peers, older adolescents preferred somewhat more wealth inequality for motivational and economic reasons and preferred living in a society with some inequality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Development of essentialist thinking about religion categories in Northern Ireland (and the United States).


Social essentialism, the belief that members of certain social categories share unobservable properties, licenses expectations that those categories are natural and a good basis for inference. A challenge for cognitive developmental theory is to give an account of how children come to develop essentialist beliefs about socially important categories. Previous evidence from Israel suggests that kindergarteners selectively engage in essentialist reasoning about culturally salient (ethnicity) categories, and that this is attenuated among children in integrated schools. In 5 studies (N = 718) we used forced-choice (Study 1) and unconstrained (Studies 2–4) category-based inference tasks, and a questionnaire (Study 5) to study the development of essentialist reasoning about religion categories in Northern Ireland (Studies 1–3 & 5) and the U.S. (Study 4). Results show that, as in Israel, Northern Irish children selectively engage in essentialist reasoning about culturally salient (religion) categories, and that such reasoning is attenuated among children in integrated schools. However, the development trajectory of essentialist thinking and the patterns of attenuation among children attending integrated schools in Northern Ireland differ from the Israeli case. Meta-analysis confirmed this claim and ruled out an alternative explanation of the results based on community diversity. Although the Northern Irish and Israeli case studies illustrate that children develop selective essentialist beliefs about socially important categories, and that these beliefs are impacted by educational context, the differences between them emphasize the importance of historical, cultural, and political context in understanding conceptual development, and suggest that there may be more than one developmental route to social essentialism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Classroom-level adversity: Associations with children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors across elementary school.


Concerns regarding the social-behavioral maladjustment of U.S. youth have spurred efforts among educators and policymakers to identify and remedy educational contexts that exacerbate children’s anxiety, depression, aggression, and misconduct. However, investigations of the influence of collective classroom student characteristics on individuals’ social-behavioral functioning are few. The present study examined concurrent and longitudinal relations between adversity factors facing the collective classroom student group and levels of children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors across the elementary school years, and whether the pattern of relations differed for girls and boys. First-, third-, and fifth-grade teachers reported on the extent to which adversity-related factors (e.g., home/family life, academic readiness, social readiness, English proficiency, tardiness/absenteeism, student mobility, health) presented a challenge in their classrooms (i.e., classroom-level adversity [CLA]). Mothers reported on their child’s internalizing and externalizing behavior at each grade. Autoregressive, lagged panel models controlled for prior levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior, mothers’ education, family income-to-needs, and class size. For all children at each grade, CLA was concurrently and positively associated with externalizing behavior. For first-grade girls, but not boys, CLA was also concurrently and positively associated with internalizing behavior. Indirect effects suggested CLA influenced later internalizing and externalizing behavior through its influence on maladjustment in a given year. Discussion highlights possible methods of intervention to reduce CLA or the negative consequences associated with being in a higher-adversity classroom. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Neighborhood and school ethnic structuring and cultural adaptations among Mexican-origin adolescents.


The ethnic and racial structuring of U.S. neighborhoods may have important implications for developmental competencies during adolescence, including the development of heritage and mainstream cultural orientations. In particular, living in highly concentrated Latino neighborhoods during early adolescence—which channels adolescents into related school environments—may promote retention of the ethnic or heritage culture, but it also may constrain adaptation to the mainstream U.S. culture. We tested these hypotheses longitudinally in a sample of 246 Mexican origin adolescents (50.8% girls) and their parents. Data were collected 4 times over 8 years, with adolescents averaging 12.5 (SD = .58) to 19.6 (SD = .66) years of age across the period of the study. Latino ethnic concentration in early adolescents’ neighborhoods promoted the retention of Mexican cultural orientations; Latino ethnic concentration in middle schools undermined the development of mainstream U.S cultural orientations. Findings are discussed in terms of integrating cultural–developmental theory with mainstream neighborhood theory to improve understandings of neighborhood and school ethnic concentration effects on adolescent development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Adolescents’ perceptions of socializers’ beliefs, career-related conversations, and motivation in mathematics.


Research based on the Eccles model of parent socialization demonstrated that parents are an important source of value and ability information for their children. Little is known, however, about the bidirectional effects between students’ perceptions of their parents’ beliefs and behaviors and the students’ own domain-specific values. This study analyzed how students’ perceptions of parents’ beliefs and behaviors and students’ mathematics values and mathematics-related career plans affect each other bidirectionally, and analyzed the role of students’ gender as a moderator of these relations. Data from 475 students in 11th and 12th grade (girls: 50.3%; 31 classrooms; 12 schools), who participated in 2 waves of the study, were analyzed. Results of longitudinal structural equation models demonstrated that students’ perceptions of their parents’ mathematics value beliefs at Time 1 affected the students’ own mathematics utility value at Time 2. Bidirectional effects were not shown in the full sample but were identified for boys. The paths within the tested model varied for boys and girls. For example, boys’, not girls’, mathematics intrinsic value predicted their reported conversations with their fathers about future occupational plans. Boys’, not girls’, perceived parents’ mathematics value predicted the mathematics utility value. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for parents and teachers, as well as in relation to gendered motivational processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Parental management of peers and autonomic nervous system reactivity in predicting adolescent peer relationships.


The present study examined sympathetic and parasympathetic indices of autonomic nervous system reactivity as moderators of the prospective association between parental management of peers via directing of youths’ friendships and peer adjustment in a sample of typically developing adolescents. Participants included 246 adolescents at Time 1 (T1) [47% boys; 66% European American (EA), 34% African American (AA)] and 226 adolescents at Time 2 (T2; 45% boys; 67% EA, 33% AA). Adolescents were approximately 16 and 17 years old at T1 and T2, respectively. To address study aims, a multiinformant, multimethod longitudinal design was utilized. Skin conductance level (SCL) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) were measured during a baseline period and challenge task (star-tracing). Reactivity was computed as a difference score between the task and baseline period. Results from path models revealed that higher levels of mother-reported parental directing predicted decreases in adolescent-reported peer rejection and friends’ deviant behavior from T1 to T2 at relatively low levels of physiological arousal in response to challenge (i.e., low SCL reactivity, RSA augmentation). Further, exploratory analyses indicated that directing was associated with decreases in friends’ deviant behavior and peer rejection particularly among boys who exhibited lower levels of physiological arousal, but increases in friends’ deviant behavior among boys who exhibited higher levels of arousal reflected in RSA withdrawal only. Overall, findings are consistent with prior studies revealing the benefits of parental behavioral control for underaroused youth, contributing to the growing literature on the interplay of parenting and physiological factors in the adolescent peer domain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Trajectories of victimization in ethnic diaspora immigrant and native adolescents: Separating acculturation from development.


This longitudinal study aimed to differentiate between acculturative and developmental processes by (a) comparing levels and change rates in victimization among ethnic German immigrants and native German adolescents in Germany and Russian Jewish immigrants in Israel, and (b) testing whether interindividual differences in victimization among immigrant youth can be explained by the same general factors as in native groups or by migration-specific factors. In addition, we tested whether or not acculturative and developmental processes interact. The sample comprised 1,300 ethnic German immigrants, 820 native German adolescents, and 1,535 Russian Jewish adolescents. The participants (15.36-years-old) completed 3 annual assessments. Two-part latent growth models showed similar levels and rates of change among all 3 ethnic groups. Interindividual differences in victimization were largely explained by the same general factors across all ethnic groups but acculturation-related hassles explained additional variance among immigrant youth. Acculturation and development interacted such that the protective effect of age did not set in until 3–5 years of residence among both immigrant groups. Results suggest that developmental pathways to victimization are very similar among immigrant and native youth once immigrants successfully have managed the phase transition of resettlement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Getting what you expect? Future self-views predict the valence of life events.


Views on aging have been shown to predict the occurrence of events related to physical health in previous studies. Extending these findings, we investigated the relation between aging-related future self-views and life events in a longitudinal study across a range of different life domains. Participants (N = 593, age range 30–80 years at t1) completed a survey at 2 measurement occasions that were separated by a 4-year interval (t1: 2009, t2: 2013), providing information on domain-specific future self-views as well as on life events that had occurred in the respective domains in-between the 2 measurement occasions. Future self-views measured at t1 predicted the occurrence of subsequent life events corresponding in valence: Participants with more positive (negative) future self-views in a domain reported relatively more positive (negative) life events in the respective domain. In addition, individual differences in future self-views were reinforced by life events that were consistent with these self-views. Accordingly, future self-views can be interpreted in terms of self-fulfilling prophecies: They are related to the likelihood of encountering and remembering life events that further confirm the aging-related future self-views from which they originate. Our study demonstrates the importance of future self-views on aging for development-related outcomes that have an especially high impact on people's lives. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

“Adolescent psychosocial development: A review of longitudinal models and research,” Correction to Meeus (2016).


Reports an error in "Adolescent psychosocial development: A review of longitudinal models and research" by Wim Meeus (Developmental Psychology, 2016[Dec], Vol 52[12], 1969-1993). In the article, several headings were inadvertently set at the wrong level. The headings are presented in the correction, and the online version of the article has been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2016-56613-001.) This review used 4 types of longitudinal models (descriptive models, prediction models, developmental sequence models and longitudinal mediation models) to identify regular patterns of psychosocial development in adolescence. Eight patterns of adolescent development were observed across countries: (1) adolescent maturation in multiple developmental domains; (2) heterogeneous continuity of personal relationships; (3) good goes together with good, and bad with bad, across time in adolescence; (4) parents transmit values and behaviors to their adolescent children over time; (5) adolescent psychopathology leads to erosion of personal relationships with parents and peers; (6) adolescent psychopathology prevents adolescent independence from parents; (7) parental interference in personal issues of adolescents has counterproductive effects over time; (8) mood variability and (social and personal) uncertainty are mechanisms that maintain psychopathology in adolescence. Principles of life span developmental psychology are used to discuss adolescent maturation, and a developmental contextual perspective is used to discuss links between the various developmental patterns. Strengths and limitations of the various longitudinal models, and links between longitudinal and experimental research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The development of spontaneous sound-shape matching in monolingual and bilingual infants during the first year.


Recently it has been proposed that sensitivity to nonarbitrary relationships between speech sounds and objects potentially bootstraps lexical acquisition. However, it is currently unclear whether preverbal infants (e.g., before 6 months of age) with different linguistic profiles are sensitive to such nonarbitrary relationships. Here, the authors assessed 4- and 12-month-old Basque monolingual and Spanish-Basque bilingual infants’ sensitivity to cross-modal correspondences between sound symbolic nonwords without syllable repetition (buba, kike) and drawings of rounded and angular shapes. The findings demonstrate that sensitivity to sound-shape correspondences emerge by 12 months of age in both monolinguals and bilinguals. This finding suggests that spontaneous sound-shape matching is likely to be the product of language learning and development and may not be readily available prior to the onset of word learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The number line is a critical spatial-numerical representation: Evidence from a fraction intervention.


Children’s ability to place fractions on a number line strongly correlates with math achievement. But does the number line play a causal role in fraction learning or does it simply index more advanced fraction knowledge? The number line may be a particularly effective representation for fraction learning because its properties align with the desired mental representation and take advantage of preexisting spatial-numeric biases. Using a pretest-training-posttest design, we examined second and third graders’ fraction learning in 3 conditions: number line training, area model training, and a non-numerical control. Children who received number line training improved at representing fractions with number lines, and children who received area model training improved at representing fractions with area models. Critically, only the number line training led to transfer to an untrained fraction magnitude comparison task. We conclude that the number line plays a causal role in children’s fraction magnitude understanding, and is more beneficial than the widely used area model. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Does language help regularity learning? The influence of verbalizations on implicit sequential regularity learning and the emergence of explicit knowledge in children, younger and older adults.


This study aimed at investigating the ability to learn regularities across the life span and examine whether this learning process can be supported or hampered by verbalizations. For this purpose, children (aged 8–10 years) and younger (aged 19–30 years) and older (aged 70–80 years) adults took part in a sequence learning experiment. We found that verbalizing sequence-congruent information during learning is a powerful tool to generate explicit knowledge and it is especially helpful for younger adults. Although recent research suggests that implicit learning can be influenced by directing the participants’ attention to relevant aspects of the task, verbalizations had a much weaker influence on implicit than explicit learning. Our results show that verbalizing during learning slows down reaction times (RTs) but does not influence the amount of implicit learning. Especially older adults were not able to overcome the cost of the dual-task situation. Younger adults, in contrast, show an initial dual-tasking cost that, in the case of a helpful verbalization, is overcome with practice and turns into a RT and learning benefit. However, when the verbalization is omitted this benefit is lost, that is, better implicit learning seems to be confined to situations in which the supporting verbalization is maintained. Additionally, we did not find reliable age differences in implicit learning in the no verbalization groups, which speaks in favor of age-invariant models of implicit learning across the life span. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)