Developmental Psychology

Developing Intelligence

Category archives for Developmental Psychology

Does the resolution or precision of human memory change with its available capacity? In other words, can you remember fewer items with greater precision than you can remember more items? Contradicting intuition, a new paper from yesterday’s issue of Nature shows that all items are stored in memory with equal resolution, regardless of the number…

Almost everyone tries to lose weight at some point, but we are remarkably bad at it; most people quickly return to their original weight after cessation of exercise or resumption of a normal diet. A review article by Patterson & Levin elucidates the pathways for this effect, and in the process finds a special role…

We often assume that true understanding is conveyed through spoken speech rather than gesture, but new research shows that “talking with your hands” can not only reveal different information than spoken language, it can be both more correct and yield better learning.

When do we learn to imagine the future, and how is that capacity based on imagining the past? How does this kind of “mental time travel” develop? Lagatutta’s recent article in Child Development tracks the development of this impressive feat, thought by some to be uniquely human.

A new educational system called “Tools of the Mind” teaches not facts and figures, but rather focuses on cognitive skills in structured play. In the largest and most compelling study yet, exposure to this curriculum in the classroom drastically improves performance on a variety of psychometric and neuropsychological tests. Vygotskian theory posits that children need…

Over New Year’s I had a brief discussion with a condensed-matter physicist who proclaimed that 1) “some developmental research is amazingly bad” and that 2) “they think they can tell what a baby has learned from what direction it looks,” topping it all off with 3) “you guys don’t even know what learning is!” I…

Play is more often simply observed than studied scientifically – play behaviors occur unpredictably and, when they do occur, are highly chaotic, making it very difficult to study them in the laboratory. Despite these challenges, new work is beginning to make play accessible from a rigorous scientific framework. For example, a recent article by Schulz…

Asperger’s disorder is a subtype of autism, characterized by deficits in social interaction, delays in nonverbal communication and possibly also deficits in nonverbal IQ (such as on a test known as Block Design). However, a new study in Brain and Cognition challenges this latter claim – with surprising results.

Aging is associated with some slow but measurable forms of cognitive decline, but there is debate over the type of cognitive changes taking place. A recent study by Rush, Barch & Braver uses a series of interesting tasks to clarify the nature of this cognitive decline. The results seem to show that changes in “context…

When one object passes in front of another we know that the occluded object has not vanished, and yet representations in our visual cortex have been assumed not to reflect this information. Instead, such “object permanence” information has been thought to require active maintenance, perhaps with help from prefrontal regions, thus explaining why young children…