Developmental Psychology

speech sounds within a given language
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Eimas et al. 1997
1- to 4-month-old infants show the categorical perception of speech sounds, like adults
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When does the ability to segment speech stream occur?
7 months
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Syllable Stress (Jusczyk et al., 1999)
7-month-old infants could segment bisyllabic words with typical STRONG-weak stress pattern; tended to mis-segment words with atypical weak-STRONG pattern.
10-month-old infants could cope with both stress patterns.
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Saffran, Newport, &Aslin (1996)
8-month-old infants heard artificial language in continuous stream
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Marginal babbling
Canonical babbling  mamama, googoo
Critical – these are the building blocks of words
Variegated babbling  dageemada..
First word
(2-3 months)  goo, gah
(4-6 months)  trills, growls, squeaks
(10 months+) around
(7-10 months)
(12 months)
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referential relationship
Early words tend to be labels for salient objects in the environment (cup, bath). Infants repeatedly hear word while seeing object (Harris et al., 1983)
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Social contingency =
The reciprocal exchange between two people (e.g. adult & child). Socially contingent interactions are appropriate in content and intensity.
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At what age do children start to pluralise nouns?
24 months
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LAD (Language Acquisition Device) – Chomsky,1968
Innate mental structure guiding the acquisition of language
“within the LAD is a universal grammar, a built in storehouse of rules that apply to all human languages” (Berk, 2006, p.355)
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: Pidgins and Creoles (Bickerton, Pinker)
Pidgin = non-grammatical communication, cobbled from mixture of unrelated languages, used by non-native adult speakers.
e.g. early 20th-century Hawaiian sugar plantation workers (Bickerton, 1990)
“me cape buy, me check make”
(“he bought my coffee, he
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Theory of Mind
The awareness that other people have their own desires, beliefs and interpretations of the world, and that the desires, beliefs and interpretations of others may differ from ours
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(Baron-Cohen et al., 1985)
Sally-Anne Task
Where will Sally look for the marble?

4-year-olds = basket

3-year-olds = box
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Masangkay et al.(1974)
What age do children have an opposing view?
4 years
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(Peskin, 1992)
3- and 4-year-olds point to their favourite sticker
5-year-olds able to deceive mean puppet
On subsequent trials, 4-year-olds showed improved understanding
3-year-olds no improvent
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Clements & Perner (1994)
3-year-olds said B but look at A.
2-year-olds say B and look at B.

Infant understanding May Not Be Expressed Verbally.
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(Wang et al., 2016): Director Task
Improvements seen between ages 8 and 10 (Wang et al., 2016)
Theory of mind continues to develop into adolescence becoming more sophisticated and nuanced.
Focus is on being able to direct own behaviour while considering the perspective of another.
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Devine et al. (2016)
Used people aged 10. Previously used aged 4 &6.
Individual differences in ToM ability
Differences moderately stable across childhood
ToM ability related to social competence as rated by teachers
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Meta-analysis of family factors affecting false belief understanding in early childhood...
93 studies
Parental SES
No. of siblings
Parental mental state talk
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Hughes and Cutting (1999)
Tested 120 pairs of 40-month-old twins for ToM
Stronger correlation between MZ twin pairs (r = .66) than DZ twin pairs (r = .32)
Model fitting analyses suggested a heritability of 67% (for this sample)
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A spectrum of neurodevelopmental conditions, characterised by difficulties in the development of social relationships and communication skills, in the presence of unusually strong narrow interests, repetitive behaviour, and difficulties in coping with une
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How many people are affected by autism?
1 in 100
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Sodian and Frith (1992): Autism and Deception
Children with autism successful in sabotage condition but fail to come up with a strategy for deception condition.
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General Benefits of breatfeeding
Socioemotional benefits
Attachment & sensitive parenting
Gives nutrition
Composed solely for the individual baby
Cannot replicate this composition
Aids immunity
Populates the gut microbiome
Helps baby brain growth
Grey matter
For mums
Promotes faster
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Oxytocin and Breastfeeding
love hormone”
Breastfeeding relies on this hormone amongst others
Skin to skin
Infant stimulates oxytocin for let down
Oxytocin release related to elevated prolactin levels
Aids in social bonding
Building blocks for socioemotional benefits
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When does a secure attachment form?
24 months
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Nutritive Components
Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs): This is good for the microbes in the gut, but not digestible for infant
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Non-Nutritive Components
Growth Factors
Microbes: These populate gut and help gut flora
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Human Milk Oligosaccharides
HMOs not digestible
Into large intestine in tact to serve as prebiotics and metabolic substraits for bacteria
Nurture well seeded microbiome in baby
Gut microbiome biggest immune organ in body
Educate immune system as to what is harmful and not harmful b
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WHO Standards
Optimal for infant to have breastmilk exclusively for the first 6 months.
2 years and beyond is suggested duration of breastfeeding.
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How much is the breastfeeding industry worth?
£50 billion pounds.
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More on Immunity
Made for nutrition, but also to help baby navigate our world full of viruses
-Leaves mother with functionally naïve immune system
-Many different antiviral agents in breastmilk
E.g. Immunoglobulins
-27-hydroxycholesterol, an oxysterol (cholesterol met
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Breastmilk Epigenetics and Obesity
Mothers that exercise pass benefits through their breastmilk to babies
More active moms had more oligosaccharide 3’Sialyllactose ( 3’SL ) in breastmilk
related to health benefits in babies
Exercise in pregnancy & postpartum links to adaptations in milk c
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Infant Brain Growth and Breastfeeding
Cranial ultrasounds at 7 weeks measuring brain growth
Breastfeeding report at 2 months
Exclusively breastfed = 318
Breast and bottle fed = 281
Never breastfed = 81
Analyses adjusted for head size and other covariates
Exclusive breastfeeding related to mo
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How many women stop breastfeeding before they want to in the UK?
8 out of 10 women stop breastfeeding before they want to
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When does infantile amnesia occur?
First three months
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How are the early memories formed?
Through sensation and physical action.
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When does a cognitive sense of self emerge?
2 months
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Improve memory: What age can rehearsal be employed?
6 years
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“a person’s awareness of his or her own cognitive abilities and limitations” (Smith et al., 2003, p.437)
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Profile of children with WM deficits
Constant profile (Gathercole, 2008)
Slow to learn in maths/reading(Gathercole & Pickering 2000; Jarvis & Gathercole, 2003)
Struggle with structured tasks (e.g. Gathercole, Durling et al. 2008).
Problems with activities that require both storage and proces
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Burghardt’s (2011) Criteria for Play
1) Not fully functional
E.g. for survival
2) Voluntary
3) Pleasurable
4) Differs in form or some other way from functional expression
5) Repeated
6) Tends to occur under conditions of abundance not stress
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Smith & Vollstedt (1985): Play Criteria
Main criteria identified = enjoyment, flexibility and pretense.
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6 stages proposed by Mildred Parten (1932)
Development of Play.
Unoccupied Play 0-3m
- Child explores the world and how they can manipulate it through growing coordination of senses and motor ability

Solitary Play Birth-2yr
- Builds independence and enables children to use imagination and practice physical and mental
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Imaginary Companions
Svendsen (1934) “an invisible character named and referred to in conversation with other persons or played with directly for a period of time, at least several months, having an air of reality for the child, but no apparent objective basis” (p. 988)
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Piaget (1966)
Play provides a relaxed atmosphere which supports learning
Practice Play- Sensory Motor
Symbolic Play- Pre-operational
Rules- Concrete Operational
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The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images of concepts of external objects not present to the senses (Harris, 2000).
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Features of Imagination
1) Collectively produced and socially recognizable

2) Discrepancy between the imagined and actual situation (props can instantiate in reality)

3) Manufacturer calls for capacity to move back and forth between contexts
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3 basic kinds of pretending teach us about mental states
-Object Substitutions
-Attributions of properties
-Imaginary Objects
Using a banana to represent a phone
Washing a doll’s clean face with a pretend dirty cloth
Pouring tea with an imaginary teapot into imaginary cups
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Groos (1901)
Main role of a child is to play perhaps the very existence of youth is largely for the sake of play’ – play provides opportunities for exercise and development/ elaboration of skills
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Froebel (1906)
Educational importance of play / play with adult guidance
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Agreed with Frobel, stressed the importance of ‘self-initiated’ activity, valued the learning applications of play - did not value pretend or socio-dramatic play
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Freud/Psychoanalytic View
Play provides a safe context for expressing aggressive/ sexual impulses and help overcome anxieties or traumatic experiences
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Isaacs (1929)
Play is essential for cognitive and emotional development – “Play is indeed the child’s work and the means whereby he grows and develops”
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Vygotsky (1933)
Play is the leading source of development in the pre-school years.
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Piaget (1966)
Play can consolidate existing skills and also provide a sense of ‘ego mastery’ – confidence and a sense of mastery.
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An enduring relationship between two individuals, characterised by loyalty, intimacy and mutual affection
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Bigelow & La Gaipa (1980) through studies of Scottish and Canadian children identified 3 stage model of friendship...
7-8yrs Reward Cost Stage
Common activities, live nearby, play together, similar expectations
9-10 Normative Stage
Shared values, rule in place
11-12 Empathic Stage
Share secrets, understanding, shared interests
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Choosing Friends
Children tend to pick friends who are similar to themselves
Also more popular and higher socioeconomic status
Tend to pick children of same age Same gender
Similar orientation towards school
(e.g. Schneider, Wiener, & Murphy,1994)
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Eimas et al. 1997


1- to 4-month-old infants show the categorical perception of speech sounds, like adults

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When does the ability to segment speech stream occur?


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Syllable Stress (Jusczyk et al., 1999)


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Saffran, Newport, &Aslin (1996)


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