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Hoicka, E. et al. (2016) Parents Produce Explicit Cues That Help Toddlers Distinguish Joking and Pretending (Journal Article)

Abstract:

While separate pieces of research found parents offer toddlers cues to express that they are (1) joking and (2) pretending, and that toddlers and preschoolers understand intentions to (1) joke and (2) pretend, it is not yet clear whether parents and toddlers consider joking and pretending to be distinct concepts. This is important as distinguishing these two forms of non-literal acts could open a gateway to understanding the complexities of the non-literal world, as well as the complexities of intentions in general. Two studies found parents offer explicit cues to help 16- to 24-month-olds distinguish pretending and joking. Across an action play study (n = 25) and a verbal play study (n = 40) parents showed more disbelief and less belief through their actions and language when joking versus pretending. Similarly, toddlers showed less belief through their actions, and older toddlers showed less belief through their language. Toddlers' disbelief could be accounted for by their response to parents' language and actions. Thus, these studies reveal a mechanism by which toddlers learn to distinguish joking and pretending. Parents offer explicit cues to distinguish these intentions, and toddlers use these cues to guide their own behaviors, which in turn allows toddlers to distinguish these intentional contexts.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
40
Page/s:
941-971
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Humour
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Leong, V. et al. (2017) Speaker gaze increases information coupling between infant and adult brains (Journal Article)

Abstract:

When infants and adults communicate, they exchange social signals of availability and communicative intention such as eye gaze. Previous research indicates that when communication is successful, close temporal dependencies arise between adult speakers’ and listeners’ neural activity. However, it is not known whether similar neural contingencies exist within adult–infant dyads. Here, we used dual-electroencephalography to assess whether direct gaze increases neural coupling between adults and infants during screen-based and live interactions. In experiment 1 (n = 17), infants viewed videos of an adult who was singing nursery rhymes with (i) direct gaze (looking forward), (ii) indirect gaze (head and eyes averted by 20°), or (iii) direct-oblique gaze (head averted but eyes orientated forward). In experiment 2 (n = 19), infants viewed the same adult in a live context, singing with direct or indirect gaze. Gaze-related changes in adult–infant neural network connectivity were measured using partial directed coherence. Across both experiments, the adult had a significant (Granger) causal influence on infants’ neural activity, which was stronger during direct and direct-oblique gaze relative to indirect gaze. During live interactions, infants also influenced the adult more during direct than indirect gaze. Further, infants vocalized more frequently during live direct gaze, and individual infants who vocalized longer also elicited stronger synchronization from the adult. These results demonstrate that direct gaze strengthens bidirectional adult–infant neural connectivity during communication. Thus, ostensive social signals could act to bring brains into mutual temporal alignment, creating a joint-networked state that is structured to facilitate information transfer during early communication and learning.

Date:
January 2017
Volume:
114
Page/s:
13290-13295
Keyword/s:
Synonyms:
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Menashe‐Grinberg, A. et al. (2017) Mother–Child and Father–Child Play Interaction: The Importance of Parental Playfulness as a Moderator of the Links Between Parental Behavior and Child Negativity (Journal Article)

Vallotton, C. et al. (2016) Parenting Supports for Early Vocabulary Development: Specific Effects of Sensitivity and Stimulation through Infancy (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Growing recognition of disparities in early childhood language environments prompts examination of parent-child interactions, which support vocabulary. Research links parental sensitivity and cognitive stimulation to child language, but has not explicitly contrasted their effects, nor examined how effects may change over time. We examined maternal sensitivity and stimulation throughout infancy using two observational methods?ratings of parents? interaction qualities and coding of discrete parenting behaviors?to assess the relative importance of these qualities to child vocabulary over time and determine whether mothers make related changes in response to children's development. Participants were 146 infants and mothers, assessed when infants were 14, 24, and 36 months. At 14 months, sensitivity had a stronger effect on vocabulary than did stimulation, but the effect of stimulation grew throughout toddlerhood. Mothers? cognitive stimulation grew over time, whereas sensitivity remained stable. While discrete parenting behaviors changed with child age, there was no evidence of trade?offs between sensitive and stimulating behaviors, and no evidence that sensitivity moderated the effect of stimulation on child vocabulary. Findings demonstrate specificity of timing in the link between parenting qualities and child vocabulary, which could inform early parent interventions, and support a reconceptualization of the nature and measurement of parental sensitivity.

Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
22
Page/s:
78-107
Keyword/s:
Synonyms:
  • Language
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: