Developmental Psychology

Developing Intelligence

Category archives for Developmental Psychology

Several high-profile studies have shown that bilingual children outperform their monolingual peers in terms of several cognitive abilities – including tests of verbal and nonverbal problem-solving, selective attention, flexibility (e.g., task-switching) and others. These studies have captured the public imagination and probably guided many moms to expose their kids to a second language. But a…

Children are often thought to be imaginative and fanciful, not only in their perception of the world but also in the veridicality of their memories. It may therefore be surprising that a robust method for eliciting false memories in adults is actually ineffective in children. In fact, children even tend to show better performance than…

Infantile “amnesia” refers to the apparent absence or weakness of memories formed at ages younger than 3 or 4. Some evidence indicates that these early-life memories are not actually lost or forgotten, but are rather merely mislabeled or otherwise inaccessible to adult cognition. One potential reason for this inaccessibility is that adults tend to use…

What processes allow us to execute delayed intentions? This ability, known as prospective memory, is often considered to have two constituent parts: a prospective component which involves forming the intention and possibly maintaining it until action execution, and a retrospective component which involves retrieving this intention, if that intention is not successfully and continuously maintained…

The claim that language processing can be carried out by purely “general purpose” information processing mechanisms in the brain – rather than relying on language-specific module(s) – may seem contradicted by a slew of recent neuroimaging studies demonstrating what appears to be a visual “word form” area in the left fusiform gyrus of the temporal…

In the Dimensional Change Card sorting (DCCS) task, 3-year-olds can usually sort cards successfully by a first rule – whether by shape, color, size, etc. When asked to switch then to another rule, most 3-year-olds will perseverate by continuing to sort cards according to the first and now-irrelevant rule. This occurs even when the current…

In 1948, Alan Turing wrote: “An unwillingness to admit the possibility that mankind can have any rivals in intellectual power occurs as much amongst intellectual people as amongst others: they have more to lose.” Accordingly, comprehensive comparisons between the intellectual powers of great apes and humans are rare – perhaps because we feel safe in…

Children have often been claimed to blend reality and fantasy, but according to some this is a wild exaggeration of the truth. For example, renowned child researchers have written that “even the very youngest children already are perfectly able to discriminate between the imaginary and the real” and certainly a lot of recent research tentatively…

The capacity to use and manipulate symbols has been heralded as a uniquely human capacity (although we know at least a few cases where that seems untrue). The cognitive processes involved in symbol use have proven difficult to understand, perhaps because reductionist scientific methods seem to decompose this rich domain into a variety of smaller…

It could be argued that any single level of scientific analysis is at once too simple (since there are always important emergent phenomena at higher levels) and also too complex (poorly-understood phenomena inevitably lurk at lower levels). If I wanted to kick the sacred cow of science again, as I did yesterday, I’d suggest that…