Target Articles

Week 2: Perceptual Development

Thought Questions
1. Sugita (2008) tested monkeys with both a preferential looking task and the visual paired-comparison task. Why use both tasks? What can we conclude from performance on each?
2. When tested immediately following deprivation, monkeys who had been raised in the absence of faces could discriminate between both monkey and human faces. What does this tell us about the "specialness" of faces? What does this tell us about experience and brain development?
3. We know that the effect of experience depends on timing, dose, and duration. How might a longitudinal design help us to understand how the "dose" of face experience affects perceptual narrowing? Design a follow up study to determine how much face experience is required to produce an other-species effect following deprivation.

Week 3: Motor Development

Thought Questions

1. The article focuses on the immediate effect of nappies on walking but it is hard to distinguish whether nappies improve or impair motor development in the long run. How could you work out the difference?
2. Do you think the measurements they used accurately reflect the purpose of the study? If not, what alternative method would you use?
3. This article talks about how cultural differences affect motor development, but Australia is a multicultural country. Do you think this would affect Australian kids' motor development?

Week 4: Cognitive Development

Thought Questions (we apologise in advance for question 3)
  1. Of the different mechanisms possibly responsible for Theory of Mind abilities (pg. 49) which do you think the results supported the most?
  2. A study[1] focused on monolingual and bilingual adults found that the bilingual advantage in executive control was maintained throughout adulthood. However, monolinguals performed better than bilinguals at lexical retrieval tasks. These tasks involve matching pictures of objects’ to the objects’ names, and writing as many words they can think of that start with a certain letter. Why might this monolingual advantage in retrieving words from memory exist?
  3. You wake up this morning and realise that your Honours thesis is actually about bilingual vs. monolingual performance on cognition. Your proposal is due on Thursday 1pm. Design a novel experiment that could compare performance of bilingual and monolingual university students on a cognitive task of your choice. What would you expect the results to be?

[1] Bialystok, E., Craik. F., & Luk. G. (2008). Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 859 – 873. Note: this is just referenced in case you are interested. We don't expect you to read it!!

Week 5: Memory Development

Thought Questions

1. What are some possible confounding variables that could be noted in this study? How do you think the researchers should take these into account in a future study?

2.The researchers state in the discussion that a child typically would not internalise, and manifest, their parent's reminiscing style until about age 5 or 6; and that this is why there was no change in independent recall with the experimenter. This raises the question of whether a child's high-elaborative recall in the trained mothers condition is a result of their 'mimicking' their mother's recall style, which is why a change was apparent in shared recall with their mother, or if it indeed reflects a difference in memory development independent of mimicking effects. What are some (theoretical) arguments for and against the mimicking possibility?

3. The researchers point out the problem of 'multiple foci' - that is, that both high-elaborative recall and emotional content were included so that it was not possible to discern "what caused what" in the results. What part of the reminiscing training do you think improved shared recall and emotional knowledge? Do you think it was as simple as high-elaborative recall affecting recall, and emotional content affecting emotional knowledge? Or could the relationships be more complex?

Week 6: Language Development

Houston, D. M., Stewart, J., Moberly, A., Hollich, G., & Miyamoto, R. T. (2012). Word learning in deaf children with cochlear implants: effects of early auditory experience. Developmental Science, 15, 448-461.

Thought Questions

1. Is general language ability different from word learning?

2. Language development does not only depend on the sensitive periods of language acquisition, but because it is such a complex system, it relies on other sensitive periods in the development of other domains. List a few other domains that you think would affect word learning other than language, and how this may affect the validity of the results.

3. This study did not look at whether the children had parents who signed or did not sign. How could this influence the results?

Week 7: Social Development

Thought Questions

1.Inspired by Week 7's Review Workshop, please select one thing that you liked about the article and one thing that you didn't like about the article with suggestion of improvement.

2. This was the first study to use the Strange Situation procedure to assess attachment in chimpanzees. Do you think that it is an appropriate test of healthy attachment? Do you think it would be possible to test other animals using a similar procedure?

3. This study was conducted with lab-reared chimpanzees, how do you think the results would look if Jane Goodall had conducted the Strange Situation Procedure with wild chimpanzee mothers and infants?

Week 8: Emotional Development

Thought Questions

1. What do the effects of sleep deprivation imply for school-age children?

2. Do you think the effects of sleep deprivation might be misconstrued as reflecting impairment in other areas?

3. What other areas of development might be influenced as a result of deficits in emotion processing?

More Revisions
Jul 11, 2012 12:40 am