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Preview: Developmental Psychology - Vol 44, Iss 2

Developmental Psychology - Vol 52, Iss 10

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

Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:00:07 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association

Children can accurately monitor and control their number-line estimation performance.


Accurate monitoring and control are essential for effective self-regulated learning. These metacognitive abilities may be particularly important for developing math skills, such as when children are deciding whether a math task is difficult or whether they made a mistake on a particular item. The present experiments investigate children’s ability to monitor and control their math performance. Experiment 1 assessed task- and item-level monitoring while children performed a number line estimation task. Children in 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade (N = 59) estimated the location of numbers on small- and large-scale number lines and judged their confidence in each estimate. Consistent with their performance, children were more confident in their small-scale estimates than their large-scale estimates. Experiments 2 (N = 54) and 3 (N = 85) replicated this finding in new samples of 1st, 2nd, and 4th graders and assessed task- and item-level control. When asked which estimates they wanted the experimenter to evaluate for a reward, children tended to select estimates associated with lower error and higher confidence. Thus, children can accurately monitor their performance during number line estimation and use their monitoring to control their subsequent performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Phonological skills, visual attention span, and visual stress in developmental dyslexia.


In this study, we concurrently investigated 3 possible causes of dyslexia—a phonological deficit, visual stress, and a reduced visual attention span—in a large population of 164 dyslexic and 118 control French children, aged between 8 and 13 years old. We found that most dyslexic children showed a phonological deficit, either in terms of response accuracy (92.1% of the sample), speed (84.8%), or both (79.3%). Deficits in visual attention span, as measured by partial report ability, affected 28.1% of dyslexic participants, all of which also showed a phonological deficit. Visual stress, as measured by subjective reports of visual discomfort, affected 5.5% of dyslexic participants, not more than controls (8.5%). Although phonological variables explained a large amount of variance in literacy skills, visual variables did not explain any additional variance. Finally, children with comorbid phonological and visual deficits did not show more severe reading disability than children with a pure phonological deficit. These results (a) confirm the importance of phonological deficits in dyslexia; (b) suggest that visual attention span may play a role, but a minor one, at least in this population; (c) do not support any involvement of visual stress in dyslexia. Among the factors that may explain some differences with previously published studies, the present sample is characterized by very stringent inclusion criteria, in terms of the severity of reading disability and in terms of exclusion of comorbidities. This may exacerbate the role of phonological deficits to the detriment of other factors playing a role in reading acquisition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Children’s processing and comprehension of complex sentences containing temporal connectives: The influence of memory on the time course of accurate responses.


In a touch-screen paradigm, we recorded 3- to 7-year-olds’ (N = 108) accuracy and response times (RTs) to assess their comprehension of 2-clause sentences containing before and after. Children were influenced by order: performance was most accurate when the presentation order of the 2 clauses matched the chronological order of events: “She drank the juice, before she walked in the park” (chronological order) versus “Before she walked in the park, she drank the juice” (reverse order). Differences in RTs for correct responses varied by sentence type: accurate responses were made more speedily for sentences that afforded an incremental processing of meaning. An independent measure of memory predicted this pattern of performance. We discuss these findings in relation to children’s knowledge of connective meaning and the processing requirements of sentences containing temporal connectives. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Children’s and adults’ interpretation of covariation data: Does symmetry of variables matter?


In a series of 3 experiments, the authors investigated the influence of symmetry of variables on children’s and adults’ data interpretation. They hypothesized that symmetrical (i.e., present/present) variables would support correct interpretations more than asymmetrical (i.e., present/absent) variables. Participants were asked to judge covariation in a series of data sets presented in contingency tables and to justify their judgments. Participants in Experiments 1 and 2 were elementary school children (Experiment 1: n = 52 second graders, n = 44 fourth graders; Experiment 2: n = 50 second graders). Participants in Experiment 3 were adults (n = 62). In Experiment 1, children in the symmetrical variables condition performed better than those in the asymmetrical variables condition. Children in the symmetrical variables condition judged more data patterns correctly and they more frequently justified their choices by referring to the complete table. Experiment 2 ruled out the possibility that this effect was caused by differences in question format. Even when question format was held constant, second graders performed better with symmetrical variables. Experiment 3 showed that adults’ data interpretation is also affected by symmetry of variables. Collectively, these results indicate that symmetry of variables affects interpretation of covariation data. The authors argue that symmetrical variables provide a context for meaningful comparison. With asymmetrical variables, the importance of the comparison is less salient. Thus, the symmetry of variables should be considered by researchers as well as educators. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

"Life-span development of visual working memory: When is feature binding difficult?": Correction to Cowan et al. (2006).


Reports an error in "Life-span development of visual working memory: When is feature binding difficult?" by Nelson Cowan, Moshe Naveh-Benjamin, Angela Kilb and J. Scott Saults (Developmental Psychology, 2006[Nov], Vol 42[6], 1089-1102). In the article, there were two errors in experiment 1a. The mean for color item information in older adults was incorrectly calculated. As a result, Figure 3 shows a mean of over .70. The true mean was .63 (SEM=.04). This change diminishes the magnitude of the aging deficit for associative information, although this deficit still appears to remain, to a smaller extent. (For a conceptual replication see Peterson & Naveh-Benjamin, 2016). There also was an error in the experimental procedure of Experiment 1a. The older adults in that experiment received only half the number of trials specified in the methods section, and half as much as the other groups. For all groups, when there were 4 or 6 items and the probe was a binding change, the probed location was matched by the same color at 1 other location but, when there were 8 or 10 squares, the probed location was matched by the same color at 1, 2, or 3 other locations. For 8 squares the number of trials was identical for these three trial subtypes whereas, for 10 squares, most of the trials had the same color at just 1 other location. These errors suggest that the experiment should be taken as only preliminary evidence that there is an aging deficit in color-location binding in visual working memory when color and binding trials are mixed in the same trial blocks. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2006-20488-009.) We asked whether the ability to keep in working memory the binding between a visual object and its spatial location changes with development across the life span more than memory for item information. Paired arrays of colored squares were identical or differed in the color of one square, and in the latter case, the changed color was unique on that trial (item change) or was duplicated elsewhere in the array (color-location binding change). Children (8-10 and 11-12 years old) and older adults (65-85 years old) showed deficits relative to young adults. These were only partly simulated by dividing attention in young adults. The older adults had an additional deficiency, specifically in binding information, which was evident only when item- and binding-change trials were mixed together. In that situation, the older adults often overlooked the more subtle, binding-type changes. Some working memory processes related to binding undergo life-span development in an inverted-U shape, whereas other, bias- and salience-related processes that influence the use of binding information seem to develop monotonically. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Little relation of adult age with cognition after controlling general influences.


Both general (i.e., shared across different cognitive measures) and specific (i.e., unique to particular cognitive measures) influences can be postulated to contribute to the relations between adult age and measures of cognitive functioning. Estimates of general and specific influences on measures of memory, speed, reasoning, and spatial visualization were derived in cross-sectional (N = 5,014) and 3-occasion longitudinal (N = 1,353) data in adults between 18 and 99 years of age. Increased age was negatively associated with estimates of general influences on cognitive functioning in both the cross-sectional differences and the longitudinal changes. Furthermore, after statistically controlling general influences, the relations of age on the cognitive measures were much smaller than were those in the original measures. Results from these and other analytical procedures converge on the conclusion that adult age appears to have weak relations with specific measures of cognitive functioning, defined as independent of influences shared across different types of cognitive measures, and that this is true in both cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons. An implication of these findings is that general, as well as domain-specific, influences should be considered when attempting to explain the relations of age on cognitive functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Numerical cognition explains age-related changes in third-party fairness.


Young children share fairly and expect others to do the same. Yet little is known about the underlying cognitive mechanisms that support fairness. We investigated whether children’s numerical competencies are linked with their sharing behavior. Preschoolers (aged 2.5–5.5) participated in third-party resource allocation tasks in which they split a set of resources between 2 puppets. Children’s numerical competence was assessed using the Give-N task (Sarnecka & Carey, 2008; Wynn, 1990). Numerical competence—specifically knowledge of the cardinal principle—explained age-related changes in fair sharing. Although many subset-knowers (those without knowledge of the cardinal principle) were still able to share fairly, they invoked turn-taking strategies and did not remember the number of resources they shared. These results suggest that numerical cognition serves as an important mechanism for fair sharing behavior, and that children employ different sharing strategies (division or turn-taking) depending on their numerical competence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Subjective and objective peer approval evaluations and self-esteem development: A test of reciprocal, prospective, and long-term effects.


A large body of literature suggests a clear, concurrent association between peer approval and self-esteem in adolescence. However, little empirical work exists on either the prospective or reciprocal relation between peer approval and self-esteem during this age period. Moreover, it is unclear from past research whether both subjectively perceived peer approval and objectively measured peer approval are related to subsequent self-esteem over time (and vice versa) and whether these paths have long-term associations into adulthood. Using data from a large longitudinal study that covers a time span of 2 decades, we examined reciprocal, prospective relations between self-esteem and peer approval during ages 12–16 in addition to long-term relations between these variables and later social constructs at age 35. Cross-lagged regression analyses revealed small but persistent effect sizes from both types of peer approval to subsequent self-esteem in adolescence, controlling for prior self-esteem. However, effects in the reverse direction were not confirmed. These findings support the notion that peer relationships serve an important function for later self-esteem, consistent with many theoretical tenets of the importance of peers for building a strong identity. Finally, we found long-term relations between adult social constructs and adolescent objective and subjective peer approval as well as self-esteem. Therefore, not only do peer relationships play a role in self-esteem development across adolescence, but they remain impactful throughout adulthood. In sum, the current findings highlight the lasting, yet small link between peer relationships and self-esteem development and call for investigations of further influential factors for self-esteem over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Peer influence on gender identity development in adolescence.


During adolescence, gender identity (GI) develops through a dialectic process of personal reflection and with input from the social environment. Peers play an important role in the socialization of gendered behavior, but no studies to-date have assessed peer influences on GI. Thus, the goal of the present study was to examine peer influences on four aspects of adolescents’ GI in racially and ethnically diverse 7th- and 8th-grade students (N = 670; 49.5% boys, M age = 12.64) using a longitudinal social network modeling approach. We hypothesized stronger peer influence effects on between-gender dimensions of GI (intergroup bias and felt pressure for gender conformity) than on within-gender dimensions of GI (typicality and contentedness). Consistent with expectations, we found significant peer influence on between-gender components of GI–intergroup bias among 7th and 8th graders as well as felt pressure for gender conformity among 8th graders. In contrast, within-gender components of GI showed no evidence of peer influence. Importantly, these peer socialization effects were evident even when controlling for tendencies to select friends who were similar on gender, gender typicality, and contentedness (8th graders only). Employing longitudinal social network analyses provides insights into and clarity about the roles of peers in gender development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Interaction of reward seeking and self-regulation in the prediction of risk taking: A cross-national test of the dual systems model.


In the present analysis, we test the dual systems model of adolescent risk taking in a cross-national sample of over 5,200 individuals aged 10 through 30 (M = 17.05 years, SD = 5.91) from 11 countries. We examine whether reward seeking and self-regulation make independent, additive, or interactive contributions to risk taking, and ask whether these relations differ as a function of age and culture. To compare across cultures, we conduct 2 sets of analyses: 1 comparing individuals from Asian and Western countries, and 1 comparing individuals from low- and high-GDP countries. Results indicate that reward seeking and self-regulation have largely independent associations with risk taking and that the influences of each variable on risk taking are not unique to adolescence, but that their link to risk taking varies across cultures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Adolescents’ changing future expectations predict the timing of adult role transitions.


Individual differences in the transition to adulthood are well established. This study examines the extent to which heterogeneity in pathways to adulthood that have been observed in the broader U.S. population are mirrored in adolescents’ expectations regarding when they will experience key adult role transitions (e.g., marriage). Patterns of change in adolescents’ expectations and the relations between their expectations and subsequent role transitions are also explored. Data from 626 youth in Grade 11 (Mage = 16), Grade 12, and early adulthood (Mage = 23) are analyzed using mover–stayer latent transition analysis. Results indicate 3 profiles of expected timing, corresponding to youth who anticipate early role entry (i.e., early starters), youth who anticipate earlier entry into employment but no other roles (i.e., employment-focused), and youth who anticipate delays in role transitions favoring increased education (i.e., education-focused). Two thirds of youths changed their expectations from Grade 11 to 12. Grade 11 and 12 profile membership predicted role transitions in early adulthood. These findings highlight the importance of adolescents’ expectations and changes in expectations across time in shaping entry into adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Developmental cascade model for adolescent substance use from infancy to late adolescence.


A developmental cascade model for adolescent substance use beginning in infancy was examined in a sample of children with alcoholic and nonalcoholic parents. The model examined the role of parents’ alcohol diagnoses, depression and antisocial behavior in a cascading process of risk via 3 major hypothesized pathways: first, via parental warmth/sensitivity from toddler to kindergarten age predicting higher parental monitoring in middle childhood through early adolescence, serving as a protective pathway for adolescent substance use; second, via child low self-regulation in the preschool years to a continuing externalizing behavior problem pathway leading to underage drinking and higher engagement with substance using peers; and third, via higher social competence from kindergarten age through middle childhood being protective against engagement with delinquent and substance using peers, and leading to lower adolescent substance use. The sample consisted of 227 intact families recruited from the community at 12 months of child age. Results were supportive for the first 2 pathways to substance use in late adolescence. Among proximal, early adolescent risks, engagement with delinquent peers and parent’s acceptance of underage drinking were significant predictors of late adolescent alcohol and marijuana use. The results highlight the important protective roles of maternal warmth/sensitivity in early childhood to kindergarten age, parental monitoring in middle childhood, and of child self-regulation in the preschool period as reducing risk for externalizing behavior problems, underage drinking, and engagement with delinquent peers in early adolescence. Specific implications for the creation of developmentally fine-tuned preventive intervention are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school: Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.


Relations between early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school (EOHS; M age = 18.3 years) were examined in a prospective longitudinal study of 1,214 children. Controlling for extensive measures of family background, early child care was associated with academic standing and behavioral adjustment at the EOHS. More experience in center-type care was linked to higher class rank and admission to more selective colleges, and for females to less risk taking and greater impulse control. Higher quality child care predicted higher academic grades and admission to more selective colleges. Fewer hours in child care was related to admission to more selective colleges. These findings suggest long-term benefits of higher quality child care, center-type care, and lower child-care hours for measures of academic standing at the EOHS. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The distinctive sequelae of children’s coping with interparental conflict: Testing the reformulated emotional security theory.


Two studies tested hypotheses about the distinctive psychological consequences of children’s patterns of responding to interparental conflict. In Study 1, 174 preschool children (M = 4.0 years) and their mothers participated in a cross-sectional design. In Study 2, 243 preschool children (M = 4.6 years) and their parents participated in 2 annual measurement occasions. Across both studies, multiple informants assessed children’s psychological functioning. Guided by the reformulated version of emotional security theory, behavioral observations of children’s coping with interparental conflict assessed their tendencies to exhibit 4 patterns based on their function in defusing threat: secure (i.e., efficiently address direct instances of threat), mobilizing (i.e., react to potential threat and social opportunities), dominant (i.e., directly defeat threat), and demobilizing (i.e., reduce salience as a target of hostility). As hypothesized, each profile predicted unique patterns of adjustment. Greater security was associated with lower levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms and greater social competence, whereas higher dominance was associated with externalizing problems and extraversion. In contrast, mobilizing patterns of reactivity predicted more problems with self-regulation, internalizing symptoms, externalizing difficulties, but also greater extraversion. Finally, higher levels of demobilizing reactivity were linked with greater internalizing problems and lower extraversion but also better self-regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Effects of the interparental relationship on adolescents’ emotional security and adjustment: The important role of fathers.


We examined the mediational roles of multiple types of adolescents’ emotional security in relations between multiple aspects of the interparental relationship and adolescents’ mental health from ages 13 to 16 (N = 392). General marital quality, nonviolent parent conflict, and physical intimate partner violence independently predicted mental health. Security in the father–adolescent relationship, over and above security with the mother and security in regard to parent conflict, mediated the link from general marital quality to adolescents’ mental health. With 2 exceptions, paths were stable for boys and girls, biological- and stepfathers, and Anglo- and Mexican Americans. The findings reveal the need to expand the traditional foci on parent conflict and relationships with mothers to include general marital quality and relationships with fathers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)