- lecturer: Marina Kammermeier
- title: LMU - Developmental Psychology Advanced Topics
Early Understanding of Actions
Paper - Infants selectively encode the goal object of an actor's reach used a looking time paradigm to show that 9 month old infants understand goal-oriented actions of others. Paper - Infants generate goal-based action predictions argues that infants are also able to successfully anticipate these goal-oriented actions using eye-tracking (lean interpretation proponents could argue that the previous Woodward study only showed pattern recognition). However, Paper - Actions Seen through Babies Eyes.. A Dissociation between Looking Time and Predictive Gaze shows that there is a disassociation between results form looking time and eye-tracking paradigms, contradicting the findings of the previous paper and raising questions about what the measures actually mean.
Implicit Theory of Mind
Even though a previous study involving the "Duplo Task" claimed to have shown a ToM in 36 month-old children, Paper - Do action-based tasks evidence false-belief understanding in young children§ fails to replicate this and calls in question the comparability of the "Duplo task" with traditional false belief measures. While implicit ToM predates an explicit ToM in young children, adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder show an interesting trend: They succeed in explicit ToM tasks, but perform at chance level in measures of implicit ToM. Paper - Implicit and explicit Theory of Mind reasoning in autism spectrum disorders.. The impact of experience replicates these findings and tries to answer if repeated exposure to events will help to close the gap in implicit ToM between people with ASD and neurotypicals. The results are indecisive.
Imitation and social learning
Paper - Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates argues that we are already born with the tendency to imitate the actions of others. On the contrary, Paper - Comprehensive Longitudinal Study Challenges the Existence of Neonatal Imitation in Humans conducted a longitudal study with infants up to 9 weeks old and finds no evidence of such neonatal imitation.
Bookchapter - Schlüsselexperimente der Entwicklungspsychologie presents a study by Gergley that shows the selective nature of children's imitation and argues that children take the efficiency of an action into account when imitating. This stance is opposed by Paper - Imitation in infancy.. Rational or motor resonance§, which states that motor resonance plays a more central role in imitation than a rational evaluation of efficiency.
Social Interaction and Communication
Development of the pointing gesture
The origin and the development of the pointing gesture in infants is a heavily discussed topic in developmental psychology. While early research mostly focused on western children, Paper - A prelinguistic gestural universal of human communication manages to show that the pointing gesture is used as a prelinguistic form of communication regardless of culture. Paper - The origin of pointing.. Evidence for the touch hypothesis demonstrated in 3 different studies that the pointing gesture likely develops out of touching gestures. As to explore the functionality of the pointing gesture beyond simply guiding attention, Paper - Pointing as epistemic request.. 12‐month‐olds point to receive new information found evidence that one year-olds use them to request information about objects from others.
Communicative gestures (like the pointing gesture) could have relevance for language development. Paper - Differences in early gesture explain SES disparities in child vocabulary size at school entry showed evidence that the gesture usage at 18 months old is associated with vocabulary size at 54 months old and can therefore be seen as a possible mediating variable between SES and vocabulary.
Executive Functions and Self-Regulation
Paper - Executive Function.. Implications for Education gives a broad introduction into executive functions, how they develop, and what factors influence them. The importance of executive functions in early childhood was shown by Shoda, Mischel, and Peake’s (1990) in their famous "Marshmallow Test" study, where the ability to delay gratification strongly correlated with later success in life. Paper - Revisiting the Marshmallow Test.. A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Delay of Gratification and Later Outcomes tries to replicate these findings with a larger and more diverse sample. Surprisingly, it fails to replicate the original study, even in the group that resembles the originals sample. The short term effects were nowhere near as big as the ones shown in the original study, and no significant effect was found at age 15.
Attachment - Effect on development
Bookchapter - Theorien in der Entwicklungspsychologie has an entire chapter dedicated to the theory around attachment. Main introduced the famous Adult Attachment Interview in a study described in Bookchapter - Schlüsselexperimente der Entwicklungspsychologie. This study also provides evidence for the development of generalized internal working models that come from attachment based experiences and influence our behavior as adults, as well as for intergenerational transmission of attachment quality. The role of parents in the attachment style was more closely looked at by Paper - Correlates of child-father and child-mother attachment in the preschool years. The paper takes a closer look at the role of the father-attachment in the child development and provides evidence that shows that parental play sensitivity is integral to attachment security. Paper - Children's attachment representations.. longitudinal relations to school behavior and academic competency in middle childhood and adolescence shows some long term effects of attachment representations: securely attached children score significantly better both academically and in terms of school behavior, even when controlling possible confounders like SES and IQ.
Parental Sensitivity and Availability
Measuring of parental sensitivity
Biringen (2008) developed the Emotional Availability Scale to capture parental sensitivity in the dyadic interaction with the child.
Effect on development
Paper - Mother-infant Interaction Quality and Infants' Ability to Encode Actions as Goal-directed was able to show that the emotional availability of mothers correlates positively with the ability of 7-month-olds to encode actions as goal oriented. The effect of Emotional Availability on the self-perception of children was looked at in Paper - The impact of mother-child interaction quality and cognitive abilities on children’s self-concept and self-esteem. In their longitudal study, they found that children's academic self-concept was predicted by their cognitive functioning, but their social self-concept was exclusively predicted by their mothers' early sensitivity and non-hostility. Furthermore, Paper - Maternal sensitivity and non-intrusiveness at 12 months predict attention to emotional facial expressions at 24 months.. A cross-lagged panel approach presents evidence that early emotional availability has some effect on the child's later visual attention in regards to emotions.
Effectiveness of sensitivity based interventions
Paper - Less is more.. meta-analyses of sensitivity and attachment interventions in early childhood makes a point that early interventions with a behavioral focus and a small amount of sessions have the best effect on improving motherly sensitivity. The paper also draws an important link between motherly sensitivity and attachment, as interventions that increase sensitivity also have a positive effect on attachment security in early childhood (implied causal relationship). An example for such an intervention is presented by Paper - Effective preventive interventions to support parents of young children.. Illustrations from VIPP-SD. VIPP-SD was shown to increase the motherly sensitivity and improve child behavior significantly.
Help, Share, Cheer up
Developmental psychology has taken a special interest in the development of prosocial behavior in early childhood. Paper - On the Nature of Toddlers' Helping.. Helping or Interest in Others' Activity§ tackled the issue whether prosocial behavior in young children stems from altruism or mere imitation. The case studies presented indicate that children are indeed more likely to be imitating adult behavior, which raises the question if imitation is a precursor to actual altruism. The Zahn-Waxler study in Bookchapter - Schlüsselexperimente der Entwicklungspsychologie shows an increase in both empathy and prosocial behavior during the second year of life, supporting the hypothesis that empathy leads to prosocial behavior. The motives behind children's tendency to share are not inherently guided by morals though, as Paper - Friendship trumps neediness.. The impact of social relations and others’ wealth on preschool children’s sharing finds that preschool children would rather share with a rich friend than with a poor non-friend. The evidence suggests that social relations beat morals/fairness in these kinds of decisions. This trend gets even more pronounced when looking at elementary school children.
Paper - Normative expectations about fairness.. The development of a charity norm in preschoolers shows that children ages 5 and up have a norm of charity in regards to the fair distribution of resources. It operationalizes reward and punishment with good and bad tasting cookies, and uses the verbal protest as an effective measure for normative expectations. Paper - The emergence of human altruism.. Preschool children develop a norm for empathy-based comforting takes a look at the norm of empathy-based comforting. It presents evidence that this norm develops during preschool, with 3 year-olds showing some signs of the norm while 5 year-olds showed heavy signs of a norm for empathy-based comforting.