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Aureli, T. et al. (2015) Behavioral and facial thermal variations in 3-to 4-month-old infants during the Still-Face Paradigm (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Behavioral and facial thermal responses were recorded in twelve 3- to 4-month-old infants during the Still-Face Paradigm (SFP). As in the usual procedure, infants were observed in a three-step, face-to-face interaction: a normal interaction episode (3 min); the "still-face" episode in which the mother became unresponsive and assumed a neutral expression (1 min); a reunion episode in which the mother resumed the interaction (3 min). A fourth step that consisted of a toy play episode (5 min) was added for our own research interest. We coded the behavioral responses through the Infant and Caregiver Engagement Phases system, and recorded facial skin temperature via thermal infrared (IR) imaging. Comparing still-face episode to play episode, the infants' communicative engagement decreased, their engagement with the environment increased, and no differences emerged in self-regulatory and protest behaviors. We also found that facial skin temperature increased. For the behavioral results, infants recognized the interruption of the interactional reciprocity caused by the still-face presentation, without showing upset behaviors. According to autonomic results, the parasympathetic system was more active than the sympathetic, as usually happens in aroused but not distressed situations. With respect to the debate about the causal factor of the still-face effect, thermal data were consistent with behavioral data in showing this effect as related to the infants' expectations of the nature of the social interactions being violated. Moreover, as these are associated to the infants' subsequent interest in the environment, they indicate the thermal IR imaging as a reliable technique for the detection of physiological variations not only in the emotional system, as indicated by research to date, but also in the attention system. Using this technique for the first time during the SFP allowed us to record autonomic data in a more ecological manner than in previous studies.

Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
1586
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Exploratory play
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with Mother
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Barbu, S. et al. (2011) Boys and girls on the playground: sex differences in social development are not stable across early childhood (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Sex differences in human social behaviors and abilities have long been a question of public and scientific interest. Females are usually assumed to be more socially oriented and skillful than males. However, despite an extensive literature, the very existence of sex differences remains a matter of discussion while some studies found no sex differences whereas others reported differences that were either congruent or not with gender stereotypes. Moreover, the magnitude, consistency and stability across time of the differences remain an open question, especially during childhood. As play provides an excellent window into children's social development, we investigated whether and how sex differences change in social play across early childhood. Following a cross-sectional design, 164 children aged from 2 to 6 years old, divided into four age groups, were observed during outdoor free play at nursery school. We showed that sex differences are not stable over time evidencing a developmental gap between girls and boys. Social and structured forms of play emerge systematically earlier in girls than in boys leading to subsequent sex differences in favor of girls at some ages, successively in associative play at 3-4 years, cooperative play at 4-5 years, and social interactions with peers at 5-6 years. Preschool boys also display more solitary play than preschool girls, especially when young. Nevertheless, while boys catch up and girls move on towards more complex play, sex differences in social play patterns are reversed in favor of boys at the following ages, such as in associative play at 4-5 years and cooperative play at 5-6 years. This developmental perspective contributes to resolve apparent discrepancies between single-snapshot studies. A better understanding of the dynamics of sex differences in typical social development should also provide insights into atypical social developments which exhibit sex differences in prevalence, such as autism.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
e16407
Synonyms:
  • Cooperative play
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Parallel play
  • Peers play
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Solitary play
Research discipline:

Baruni, R. et al. (2014) Using lag schedules to increase toy play variability for children with intellectual disabilities (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Relatively few studies have evaluated procedures for increasing play skills in children with intellectual disabilities. To address this limitation, this study evaluated the extent to which lag schedules increased novel toy play responses for three children who exhibited little or no appropriate toy play. Results show that the lag 1 schedule increased toy play variability for all three participants and the lag 2 schedule produced very little additional variability for the two participants exposed to this condition. The results of a social validity assessment suggest that classroom paraprofessionals (i) perceived the participants' toy play as typical and (ii) were satisfied with the outcomes produced by the lag schedules. We discuss the clinical implications and the potential limitations of the findings. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
29
Page/s:
21-35
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Beck, S. (2016) Counterfactuals Matter: A Reply to Weisberg & Gopnik (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Author/s:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
40
Page/s:
260-261
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Beck, S. et al. (2006) Children's Thinking About Counterfactuals and Future Hypotheticals as Possibilities (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Two experiments explored whether children's correct answers to counterfactual and future hypothetical questions were based on an understanding of possibilities. Children played a game in which a toy mouse could run down either 1 of 2 slides. Children found it difficult to mark physically both possible outcomes, compared to reporting a single hypothetical future event, “What if next time he goes the other way …” (Experiment 1: 3–4-year-olds and 4–5-year-olds), or a single counterfactual event, “What if he had gone the other way …?” (Experiment 2: 3–4-year-olds and 5–6-year-olds). An open counterfactual question, “Could he have gone anywhere else?,” which required thinking about the counterfactual as an alternative possibility, was also relatively difficult.

Date:
January 2006
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
77
Page/s:
413-426
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bergen, D. (2009) Play and Brain Development as Complementary Non Lonear Dynamic (Chaotic / Complex) Systems (Conference Paper)

Bernier, A. et al. (2010) From External Regulation to Self-Regulation: Early Parenting Precursors of Young Children’s Executive Functioning (Journal Article)

Abstract:

In keeping with proposals emphasizing the role of early experience in infant brain development, this study investigated the prospective links between quality of parent–infant interactions and subsequent child executive functioning (EF), including working memory, impulse control, and set shifting. Maternal sensitivity, mind-mindedness and autonomy support were assessed when children were 12 to 15 months old (N = 80). Child EF was assessed at 18 and 26 months. All three parenting dimensions were found to relate to child EF. Autonomy support was the strongest predictor of EF at each age, independent of general cognitive ability and maternal education. These findings add to previous results on child stress-response systems in suggesting that parent–child relationships may play an important role in children’s developing self-regulatory capacities.

Date:
January 2010
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
81
Page/s:
326-339
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with other adult
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Blair, C. et al. (2007) Relating Effortful Control, Executive Function, and False Belief Understanding to Emerging Math and Literacy Ability in Kindergarten (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examined the role of self-regulation in emerging academic ability in one hundred and forty-one 3- to 5-year-old children from low-income homes. Measures of effortful control, false belief understanding, and the inhibitory control and attention-shifting aspects of executive function in preschool were related to measures of math and literacy ability in kindergarten. Results indicated that the various aspects of child self-regulation accounted for unique variance in the academic outcomes independent of general intelligence and that the inhibitory control aspect of executive function was a prominent correlate of both early math and reading ability. Findings suggest that curricula designed to improve self-regulation skills as well as enhance early academic abilities may be most effective in helping children succeed in school.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2007
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
78
Page/s:
647-663
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Longitudinal
  • Numeracy
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Socio-economic background
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Brown, M. et al. (2017) Supporting the development of empathy: The role of theory of mind and fantasy orientation (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Theory of mind (ToM) and empathy are separate, but related components of social understanding. However, research has not clearly defined the distinctions between them. Similarly, related constructs, such as fantasy orientation (FO), are associated with better ToM understanding; however, little is known about how FO may provide a context in which both ToM and affective empathy develop. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 (N = 82) completed a battery of ToM, empathy, and FO measures. Results demonstrated a developmental progression from ToM to affective empathy: 3-year-olds were likely to have neither, 4-year-olds were likely to have ToM only, and 5-year-olds were likely to have both. Additionally, results indicated that FO predicted affective empathy above and beyond ToM ability, suggesting that children whose play is high in fantasy are more practiced than their peers in sharing emotions. These findings are discussed in terms of how children's propensity toward fantasy play may contribute to their social development.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
951-964
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bulotsky-Shearer, R. et al. (2012) Peer Play Interactions and Readiness to Learn: A Protective Influence for African American Preschool Children From Low-Income Households (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Guided by a strengths-based resiliency framework, this article reviews a body of research on the positive influence of interactive peer play for African American preschool children from low-income households. This literature provides evidence for positive associations among interactive peer play experiences at home and in school, and childrens early childhood social and academic skills. It presents the development and validation of three distinct dimensions of interactive peer play with African American children attending Head Start. It reviews research examining associations between these 3 dimensions and childrens academic and social outcomes, as well as evidence-based interventions designed to foster interactive peer play for this population. It highlights challenges and directions for future research, with emphasis on the likely research needed to extend our understanding of interactive peer play experiences for Latino and Asian American children and the complex mechanisms through which positive peer interactions during early childhood may support childrens early learning and development.

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
225-231
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Cultural context
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Literature review
  • Peers play
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Socio-economic background
Relevant age group/s: