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 JoVE Behavior

Recording Mouse Ultrasonic Vocalizations to Evaluate Social Communication

1Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, University Paris Diderot, CNRS UMR 3571, Institut Pasteur, 2Neurophysiology and Behavior, University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, CNRS UMR 7102, 3Bio Image Analysis, CNRS URA 2582, Institut Pasteur


JoVE 53871

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Executive Function and the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Nicholaus Noles and Judith Danovitch—University of Louisville

Infants are born with amazing cognitive resources at their disposal, but they don’t know how to use them effectively. In order to harness the power of their brains, humans must develop high-level cognitive processes that manage basic brain functions. These processes make up what psychologists refer to as executive function. Executive function is a key factor in many self-regulatory behaviors, including forming plans to solve problems, negotiating between desires and actions, and directing attention. For example, a child must use several executive processes to stop playing with toys and start cleaning their room. These processes include inhibition (to stop what they’re doing), planning (to determine what actions need to be performed to clean the room), and attentional control (to stay on task until the cleaning is done). A breakdown of executive function during any of these steps would lead to the room remaining dirty. Developing executive function is one of the key challenges faced by children as they mature. Some elements of executive function can only be mastered with practice, and brain areas linked to executive function, specifically the prefrontal cortex, develop slowly throughout

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 JoVE Behavior

A Novel Experimental and Analytical Approach to the Multimodal Neural Decoding of Intent During Social Interaction in Freely-behaving Human Infants

1Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Houston, 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Houston, 3Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston


JoVE 53406

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Piaget's Conservation Task and the Influence of Task Demands

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

Jean Piaget was a pioneer in the field of developmental psychology, and his theory of cognitive development is one of the most well-known psychological theories. At the heart of Piaget’s theory is the idea that children’s ways of thinking change over the course of childhood. Piaget provided evidence for these changes by comparing how children of different ages responded to questions and problems that he designed. Piaget believed that at age 5, children lack mental operators or logical rules, which underlie the ability to reason about relationships between sets of properties. This characteristic defined what he called the preoperational stage of cognitive development. One of Piaget’s classic measures of children’s ability to use mental operations is his conservation task. In this task, children are shown two identical objects or sets of objects. Children are first shown that the objects are the same on one key property (number, size, volume, etc.). Then, one of the objects is modified so it appears different than the other one (e.g., it is now longer, wider, or taller), but the key property remains the same. Following this transformation, children are asked to judge

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Children's Reliance on Artist Intentions When Identifying Pictures

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

Children are not the best artists. Sometimes it’s easy to pick out the characteristic triangular head, whiskers, and tail of a cat, but children often describe elaborate scenarios that they depict as a beautifully unrecognizable mess. Thus, given children’s questionable artistic talent, how do they know what their drawings, and the drawings of others, represent? One way children identify pictures is by relying on resemblance. If it looks like a cat, then it’s a cat. However, some pictures do not clearly resemble any real object. In this situation, children must use other means to figure out what the picture represents, including their understanding of what the person who created the picture intended it to represent. By their first birthday, children are sensitive to the intentions of other people. They know that people’s actions are driven by their goals, and they can infer a person’s intentions even if the goal-directed action is not successful (e.g., they understand a person struggling to turn a lid intends to open a jar, even if they never see them succeed in opening it). By about age 3, children can use this understanding of intention to guide their interpretation

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Are You Smart or Hardworking? How Praise Influences Children's Motivation

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

Imagine teaching two children how to skate. It is a hard task for both of them, and they fall down frequently. After falling down for the first time, one child says that skating is too hard and wants to go home. The other child seems to enjoy the challenge and eagerly gets back up after falling down each time. Why do the children have such different attitudes about the same task? One reason may be that they have different mindsets or beliefs about the nature of their ability. According to psychologist Carol Dweck, some people have a fixed mindset, and some people have a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence or abilities are fixed and cannot change. When these people face a challenge, like learning how to skate, they tend to believe that if a new skill does not come easily, then they are simply no good at it. They do not see their skills as capable of changing, and thus they decide that it’s useless to continue trying. People with a growth mindset have the opposite attitude. They believe that abilities can be developed through hard work, and they continue trying to improve even if they do not initially succeed. How do these different m

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Measuring Children's Trust in Testimony

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

How does a person learn about the world around them? One way is through direct observation and exploration. However, not every piece of information can be observed firsthand. Instead, a person must often rely on other people as information sources. This is particularly true for children who have so many questions about the world around them, yet have limited means of accessing the answers. Thus, children must rely on other people to provide answers to their questions. There is a popular viewpoint that children are gullible and that they believe everything they hear. However, recent research has shown this is not the case. Children as young as age 3 evaluate what other people say and show selective trust in other people’s testimony. Children pay attention to and use their knowledge about an individual’s prior behavior and characteristics to judge whether that individual is a trustworthy informational source.   This video demonstrates how to measure children’s trust in testimony based on methods developed by Birch, Vauthier, and Bloom1 and Koenig, Clement, and Harris.2 

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 JoVE Behavior

Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Quantification of Social Behavior in Adult Rats

1Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, 2Department of Neurosciences, University of New Mexico, 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of New Mexico, 4Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge


JoVE 52407

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Memory Development: Demonstrating How Repeated Questioning Leads to False Memories

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

A person is defined as a unique individual based on the people and events they encounter in their lives. Thus, creating, storing, and recalling memories are essential elements of the human experience. However, memory, as adults experience it, takes time to develop. Although young children can learn facts and remember details of their lives from moment-to-moment and day-to-day, they do not create autobiographical memories or detailed memories of events that happen in their lives until age 3 or older. Even after age 3, children’s memories differ from those of adults in important ways. Children are less effective at evaluating their own memories than adults, which makes it difficult for them to determine, for example, whether or not their memories are accurate. False memories are a problem for both children and adults, as it is quite easy to create a false memory with a poorly-worded question or a story repeated over and over. However, young children are more susceptible to creating false memories than either older children or adults. This video demonstrates children’s vulnerability to false memories using a method developed by Steven Ceci and his collaborators.1-2

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Categories and Inductive Inferences

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Nicholaus Noles and Judith Danovitch—University of Louisville

It might be possible for the human brain to keep track of each individual person, place, or thing encountered, but that would be a very inefficient use of time and cognitive resources. Instead, humans develop categories. Categories are mental representations of real things that can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, individuals can use the perceptual features of animals to place them into a given category. So, upon seeing a furry, four-legged, tail-wagging, barking animal, a person can determine that it is a dog. This is one of many examples where people use perceptual similarity to fit new experiences into their existing mental representations. However, category membership is much more than skin deep, especially for representations of animals. Frank Keil demonstrated this by using a simple, yet powerful technique that focused on the differences between natural kinds and artifacts. Natural kinds include animals and other living things, while artifacts consist largely of nonliving things, such as tables or gold bricks. In his study, Keil told children stories about natural kinds and artifacts that underwent transformations causing them to cross categorical boundaries. For example, he

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 JoVE Behavior

Measurement of Fronto-limbic Activity Using an Emotional Oddball Task in Children with Familial High Risk for Schizophrenia

1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, 2Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, Duke University Medical Center, 3Curriculum in Neurobiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


JoVE 51484

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

How Children Solve Problems Using Causal Reasoning

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

Imagine a young child hears an adult say, “I want to watch the news,” then watches the adult press a button on the remote control. A moment later, the television screen turns on. The next day, the child wants to turn on the television screen to watch cartoons. How does the child know what to do? Is it enough to say, “I want to watch cartoons,” or is pushing the button on the remote control necessary, too? Solving this problem requires children to use the information they observed (i.e., the adult’s behaviors) to come up with a solution. In their daily lives, children encounter many situations where they need to decode cause-and-effect from complex or ambiguous observations in order to accomplish a goal. In order to examine children’s capacity for causal reasoning, psychologists set up tasks using causal scenarios to observe how children draw conclusions and test new hypotheses about the relationships between different types of objects. In these tasks, children are shown interactions involving individual objects or sets of objects. Then, they are asked to identify and use the links between the causes and the effects to solve a problem.

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Metacognitive Development: How Children Estimate Their Memory

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Judith Danovitch and Nicholaus Noles—University of Louisville

Human memory is fallible, and people often cannot accurately recall what they have seen or heard. Adults are aware of their limited memory capacity, so they use strategies, such as rehearsal and mnemonic devices, to improve their recall of important information. Because adults understand the limits of memory, they know it makes more sense to write down the items on their shopping list rather than to try to remember the items when they get to the store. This ability to think about one’s own memory is called metamemory. Metamemory is one component of a broader set of cognitive processes that allow humans to think about their own knowledge and thinking, which is called metacognition. Although young children understand that people have thoughts and a limited amount of knowledge, they often have trouble acknowledging the limits of their own knowledge and cognitive skills. Children’s ability to accurately estimate their own memory capacity and abilities improves over the elementary school years. One common way of measuring metamemory and its development is by giving children an opportunity to predict how well they can remember something, and then observing how well their prediction matches their

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

The Costs and Benefits of Natural Pedagogy

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Nicholaus Noles, Judith Danovitch, and Asheley Landrum—University of Louisville

Children have many tools they use over the course of development to learn from adults. Perhaps the earliest tool is imitation, simply copying what they see an adult do or say. However, children actually learn much more effectively than one might expect if they were only imitating. This is because, when it comes to learning and teaching, children and adults have a special relationship. Children treat adults as if they are helpful and knowledgeable teachers, and adults teach children information in a manner that is usually efficient and effective. Through these interactions, children can learn much better than if they were simply using trial-and-error or copying adults exactly. This way of interacting is referred to as natural pedagogy, and it is one of the reasons that young humans are gifted learners. One of the most impressive aspects of natural pedagogy is that no one teaches adults how to be good teachers, and children treat adults as teachers without having to be trained to do so. However, natural pedagogy also entails costs. Children are curious and intrinsically motivated to explore, so children do some of their best learning when given opportunities to learn and explore on their ow

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 Science Education: Essentials of Developmental Psychology

Mutual Exclusivity: How Children Learn the Meanings of Words

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Nicholaus Noles and Judith Danovitch—University of Louisville

Humans are different from other animals in many ways, but perhaps the most important differentiating factor is their ability to use language. Other animals can communicate and even understand and use language in limited ways, but trying to teach human language to a chimp or a dog takes a great deal of time and effort. In contrast, young humans acquire their native language easily, and they learn linguistic rules without explicit instruction, which is an accomplishment that even the smartest animals cannot match.  One advantage young humans have over animals is that the human brain is especially adapted to learn new words. With only a few exposures, young children can learn new words and remember them. Perhaps more impressively, children can use what they already know to guide their future learning. For example, children treat objects as if they have only one label. So, if a child has learned the word hammer, they won’t assume an unfamiliar tool has the same name. This is the principle of mutual exclusivity.1-2 This video demonstrates children’s ability to use mutual exclusivity to match words to objects in their environment.

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