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Child Development Perspectives

Natasha Duell, Laurence Steinberg
Adolescents are more likely to take risks than children or adults. This propensity can be directed toward negative (illegal and dangerous) or positive (socially acceptable and constructive) risk behaviors. Adolescents who take positive risks include teenagers winning Olympic medals for landing snowboard tricks and students protesting gun violence on a national platform. Yet little is known about the nature of positive risk taking because much of the research on adolescent risk taking has focused on negative risks, such as substance use or delinquency...
March 2019: Child Development Perspectives
Darko Odic, Ariel Starr
What are young children's first intuitions about numbers and what role do these play in their later understanding of mathematics? Traditionally, number has been viewed as a culturally derived breakthrough occurring relatively recently in human history that requires years of education to master. Contrary to this view, research in cognitive development indicates that our minds come equipped with a rich and flexible sense of number-the Approximate Number System (ANS). Recently, several major challenges have been mounted to the existence of the ANS and its value as a domain-specific system for representing number...
December 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Xi Yu, Jennifer Zuk, Nadine Gaab
Developmental dyslexia is a specific learning disability characterized by deficits reading single words. Dyslexia is heritable and has been associated with neural alterations in regions of the left hemisphere in the brain. Cognitive and neural atypicalities have been observed before children with familial risk for dyslexia begin reading, yet children who are at risk subsequently develop reading abilities on a continuum from good to poor. Of those children who develop good reading skills, what factors are associated with more successful outcomes? In this article, we review findings describing genetic, cognitive, neurobiological, and environmental factors that facilitate reading development and propose a model of neural pathways to support successful reading development in at-risk children...
December 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Jessica A Sommerville
In this article, I use infants' sensitivity to distributive fairness as a test case to identify the extents and limits of infants' sociomoral cognition and behavior. Infants' sensitivity to distributive fairness is in some ways commensurate with this understanding in older children and adults; infants expect fair distributions of resources and evaluate others based on their adherence to or violation of fairness norms. Yet these sensitivities also differ in important ways, including that infants do not spontaneously punish unfair individuals...
September 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Heather D Hill, Jennifer Romich
In recent years, new national and regional minimum wage laws have been passed in the United States and other countries. The laws assume that benefits flow not only to workers but also to their children. Adolescent workers will most likely be affected directly given their concentration in low-paying jobs, but younger children may be affected indirectly by changes in parents' work conditions, family income, and the quality of nonparental child care. Research on minimum wages suggests modest and mixed economic effects: Decreases in employment can offset, partly or fully, wage increases, and modest reductions in poverty rates may fade over time...
June 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Erika Hoff
Early exposure to two languages is widely thought to guarantee successful bilingual development. Contradicting that belief, children in bilingual immigrant families who grow up hearing a heritage language and a majority language from birth often reach school age with low levels of skill in both languages. This outcome cannot be explained fully by influences of socioeconomic status. In this article, I summarize research that helps explain the trajectories of observed dual language growth among children in immigrant families in terms of the amount and quality of their language exposure as well as their own language use...
June 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Jessica F Cantlon
The types of cognitive and neural mechanisms available to children for making concepts depend on the problems their brains evolved to solve over the past millions of years. Comparative research on numerical cognition with humans and nonhuman primates has revealed a system for quantity representation that lays the foundation for quantitative development. Nonhuman primates in particular share many human abilities to compute quantities, and are likely to exhibit evolutionary continuity with humans. While humans conceive of quantity in ways that are similar to other primates, they are unique in their capacity for symbolic counting and logic...
March 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Sheri A Berenbaum
Why do girls and women differ from boys and men? Gender development is typically considered to result from socialization, but sex hormones present during sensitive periods of development, particularly prenatal androgens, play an important role. Data from natural experiments, especially from females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, show the complexity of the effects of androgens on behavior: Prenatal androgens apparently have large effects on interests and engagement in gendered activities; moderate effects on spatial abilities; and relatively small or no effects on gender identity, gender cognitions, and gendered peer involvement...
March 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Sonya Troller-Renfree, Charles H Zeanah, Charles A Nelson, Nathan A Fox
The adverse effects of institutionalized care and psychosocial deprivation have been documented for more than 100 years. Children who have been raised in institutions are at heightened risk of developing internalizing and externalizing disorders. Given the profound biological and psychological effects of institutional rearing, identifying neural and cognitive factors that influence the emergence of psychopathology in institutionalized children is of great interest. Using data from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a randomized control study on the effects of institutional care and a foster care intervention, this article examines two factors that appear to influence the emergence of psychopathology in children who have been institutionalized-neural indices of cognitive control and visual attention biases...
March 2018: Child Development Perspectives
Mona El-Sheikh, Ryan J Kelly
Sleep is a pivotal correlate and predictor of many domains of child development, including socioemotional adjustment, physical health, and cognitive functioning. The family plays a major role in shaping children's sleep-wake behaviors, and developmental research on children's sleep in a family context is on the rise. As in any relatively young field, many gaps and questions remain. In this article, we aim to advance this literature by illustrating ways to examine the interconnections between family functioning and children's sleep...
December 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Amanda W Harrist, Glade L Topham, Laura Hubbs-Tait, Lenka H Shriver, Taren M Swindle
In recent years, researchers and policymakers have recognized that obesity in childhood is not simply a medical problem, but is a complex social and psychological phenomenon. Our research team used an interpersonal and intrapersonal risk model to examine the psychosocial aspects of obesity among rural children. In this article, we describe how the global study of children's obesity has broadened over the last 10 to 15 years, and we present our model of interpersonal and intrapersonal risk factors, which includes complex pathways with many psychosocial variables...
December 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Daniel N Klein, Megan C Finsaas
In this article, we summarize findings from the Stony Brook Temperament Study, which seeks to elucidate the early antecedents and pathways to later depressive and anxiety disorders. The study focuses on parents' internalizing disorders and children's early temperament as distal risk factors that operate, in part, through biobehavioral reward and threat systems. We summarize findings linking parents' emotional disorders and observations of children's early temperament to subsequent neural measures of children's affective processing...
December 2017: Child Development Perspectives
David S Yeager
Social difficulty during adolescence contributes to internalizing problems (e.g., depression, stress) and spurs cycles of aggression and retaliation. In this article, I review how implicit theories of personality-beliefs about whether people can change their socially relevant characteristics-can help explain why some adolescents respond to social difficulty in these ways while others do not. Believing an entity theory of personality -the belief that people cannot change-causes people to blame their own and others' traits for social difficulty, and predicts more extreme affective, physiological, and behavioral responses (e...
September 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Daniel S Shaw, Lindsay E Taraban
In this article, we review advances in developing and preventing conduct problems in early childhood and identify challenges. Among the topics we address are expanding the targets of prevention programs beyond improving parenting skills, implementing family-based interventions during early childhood for families living in impoverished communities, making greater use of community platforms that serve young children at risk for early conduct problems, and incorporating techniques such as motivational interviewing to improve families' engagement in nontraditional mental health settings...
June 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Marc H Bornstein, Diane L Putnick, Gianluca Esposito
Developmental science is centrally concerned with both consistency and change in characteristics through time. Consistency and change in development are tracked by group mean level continuity and individual order stability. Group mean level and individual order consistency and change are both developmentally informative and can co-exist conceptually and empirically as the two are partially orthogonal perspectives on development. Continuity and stability are broadly applicable to characteristics of the individual, dyad, and environment...
June 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Elisabeth Conradt
While the negative effects of early-life stress on children's developmental outcomes are well documented, we know little about how these processes unfold and which children are more susceptible to these exposures. In this article, I outline how studying the effects of early-life stress on children's development can be advanced by considering how epigenetic processes may contribute to the emergence of children's behavior. The study of epigenetics can help pinpoint the mechanisms by which early-life stress may affect developmental outcomes and identify which children may be most sensitive to the effects of these exposures...
June 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Rebecca Waller, Luke Hyde
Antisocial behavior is costly and harmful to families, communities, and society. With roots in early childhood, antisocial behavior puts children at risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes across development. Callous-unemotional (CU) traits identify a subgroup of youth with particularly severe and stable antisocial behavior. While much literature has examined CU traits in late childhood and adolescence, researchers are just beginning to elucidate the developmental origins of CU traits. In this article, we review research examining the measurement and correlates of CU behaviors in early childhood, along with evidence that these early behaviors predict later measures of CU traits...
June 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Audun Dahl
Much of developmental science aims to explain how or whether children's experiences influence their thoughts and actions. Developmental theories make assumptions and claims-what I call ecological commitments -about events outside research contexts. In this article, I argue that most developmental theories make ecological commitments about children's thoughts, actions, and experiences outside research contexts, and that these commitments sometimes go unstated and untested. I also argue that naturalistic methods can provide evidence for or against ecological commitments, and that naturalistic and experimental studies address unique yet complementary questions...
June 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Stefanie Mollborn
Over the past two decades, births to U.S. teenagers have fallen and no longer follow overall fertility patterns. Yet the unique challenges faced by teenage mothers and their families justify continued research. Across disciplines, newer work has furthered our understanding of teenage motherhood today. In this article, I highlight four areas of progress: processes of selection into teenage motherhood, the broader consequences of teenage childbearing beyond the socioeconomic realm, heterogeneity of effects, and the application of life course principles...
March 2017: Child Development Perspectives
Aerika Brittian Loyd, Brittney V Williams
Effective programs for youth can reduce problem behaviors and promote positive development. In particular, cultural assets (e.g., ethnic-racial identity) are important for African American youth's health and development. In this article, we argue that youth programs represent an important social context for African American youth's development of positive ethnic-racial identity and we present a conceptual framework for understanding how such programs may affect African American youth's development in this area...
March 2017: Child Development Perspectives
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