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What we learn and when we learn it: sensitive periods in development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193271 Year: Pages: 166 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-327-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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The impact of training or experience is not the same at all points in development. Children who receive music lessons, or learn a second language before age 7-8 are more proficient as adults. Early exposure to drugs or trauma makes people more likely to become addicted or depressed later life. Rat pups exposed to specific frequencies from 9-13 days post-partum show expanded cortical representations of these frequencies. Young birds must hear and copy their native song within 1-2 months of birth or they may never learn it at all. These are examples of sensitive periods: developmental windows where maturation and specific experience interact to produce differential long-term effects on the brain and behavior. While still controversial, evidence for the existence of sensitive periods has grown, as has our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of brain plasticity. Behavioral evidence from studies of language, psychopathology or vision in humans has been complemented by evidence elucidating molecular, gene and hormonal mechanisms in animals. It has been proposed that sensitive periods can be both opened and closed by specific experience, and that there are multiple, overlapping sensitive periods that occur through-out development as functions come on line. It is also likely that experience-dependent behavioral or brain plasticity accrued during one sensitive period can serve as a scaffold on which later experience and plasticity can build. Based on current knowledge, there are a number of broad questions and challenges to be addressed in this domain, these include: generating new information about the neurobiological mediators of structural and functional changes; proposing models of brain development that will better predict when sensitive periods should occur and what functions are implicated; investigation of the interaction between experience during a sensitive period and pre-existing individual differences; and the relationship between experience during a sensitive period and on-going experience. The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together scientists in different fields whose work addresses these issues, including animal and human developmental neuroscience, language and cognitive development, education, developmental psychopathology and sensory neuroscience.

Development of executive function during childhood

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198009 Year: Pages: 457 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-800-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Executive function refers to the goal-oriented regulation of one’s own thoughts, actions, and emotions. Its importance is attested by its contribution to the development of other cognitive skills (e.g., theory of mind), social abilities (e.g., peer interactions), and academic achievement (e.g., mathematics), and by the consequences of deficits in executive function (which are observed in wide range of developmental disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism). Over the last decade, there have been growing interest in the development of executive function, and an expanding body of research has shown that executive function develops rapidly during the preschool years, with adult-level performance being achieved during adolescence or later. This recent work, together with experimental research showing the effects of interventions targeting executive function, has yielded important insights into the neurocognitive processes underlying executive function. Given the complexity of the construct of executive function, however, and the multiplicity of underlying processes, there are often inconsistencies in the way that executive function is defined and studied. This inconsistency has hampered communication among researchers from various fields. This Research Topic is intended to bridge this gap and provide an opportunity for researchers from different perspectives to discuss recent advances in understanding childhood executive function. Researchers using various methods, including, behavioral experiments, neuroimaging, eye-tracking, computer simulation, observational methods, and questionnaires, are encouraged to contribute original empirical research. In addition to original empirical articles, theoretical reviews and opinions/perspective articles on promising future directions are welcome. We hope that researchers from different areas, such as developmental psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, neuropsychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, computational science, etc., will be represented in the Research Topic.

Motor Skills and Their Foundational Role for Perceptual, Social, and Cognitive Development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451593 Year: Pages: 293 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-159-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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Motor skills are a vital part of healthy development and are featured prominently both in physical examinations and in parents’ baby diaries. It has been known for a long time that motor development is critical for children’s understanding of the physical and social world. Learning occurs through dynamic interactions and exchanges with the physical and the social world, and consequently movements of eyes and head, arms and legs, and the entire body are a critical during learning. At birth, we start with relatively poorly developed motor skills but soon gain eye and head control, learn to reach, grasp, sit, and eventually to crawl and walk on our own. The opportunities arising from each of these motor milestones are profound and open new and exciting possibilities for exploration and interactions, and learning. Consequently, several theoretical accounts of child development suggest that growth in cognitive, social, and perceptual domains are influences by infants’ own motor experiences. Recently, empirical studies have started to unravel the direct impact that motor skills may have other domains of development. This volume is part of this renewed interest and includes reviews of previous findings and recent empirical evidence for associations between the motor domain and other domains from leading researchers in the field of child development. We hope that these articles will stimulate further research on this interesting question.

Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice: Exploring Prosocial Development Through Infancy and Early Childhood

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195169 Year: Pages: 136 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-516-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Prosocial behaviors such as sharing, helping, and comforting begin to emerge early in development. The presence of these prosocial behaviors is important not only in childhood, but throughout one’s lifetime, as behaving prosocially is important for social functioning and maintaining social relationships. For many years researchers have been interested in how and when these behaviors develop, as well as how these behaviors are influenced by a variety of factors. Recently however, exciting new research has shown novel and surprising findings, particularly on the early development and ontogenetic origins of prosocial behavior. Research is this area is important, as by understanding what influences prosocial behavior, we may be better able to sustain and support the development of prosociality. Further, a richer understanding may help us to be better able to mediate factors that impede or negatively influence positive social behaviors, as well as negate triggers that may lead to negative social behaviors. Many theoretical views guide different streams of developmental research in this field. Here, we will bring together scholars from various theoretical backgrounds, to collectively explore the development of early prosocial behaviors from early infancy to early school aged children. Contributors will offer insights using a variety of methodologies, from various resource allocation paradigms derived from economist game theorists, to looking time paradigms and more. Together we seek to broadly explore questions pertaining to prosocial development, for example- at what age do prosocial behaviors, moral understanding, or social selectivity emerge? Contributors will individually address unique research questions across a spectrum of topics. For example, how prosocial behaviors are influenced by underlying mechanisms, such as moral emotions (e.g. guilt and sympathy), will be explored, as will how children’s expectations may shape their behaviors, and how they come to care about others. Questions surrounding different contexts will also be investigated. For example, how does empathy influence prosociality? Do children treat partners differently depending on their past behaviors, wealth, or other characteristics? Does whether there is a cost associated with behaving prosocially influence decision-making? By incorporating the work of numerous researchers in the field of prosocial development, who contribute comprehensive reviews of past research, unique theoretical perspectives and empirical approaches, the proposed research topic endeavors to provide new insights into a breadth of prosocial behaviors. In sum, the proposed research topic will contribute to our understanding of prosocial development in the early years by highlighting the relevant factors and contexts under which prosocial behavior emerges.

How Can Development and Plasticity Contribute to Understanding Evolution of the Human Brain?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198894 Year: Pages: 130 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-889-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Humans usually attribute themselves the prerogative of being the pinnacle of evolution. They have large brains with many billion neurons and glial cells, trillions of synapses and besides all, a plastic hardware that may change either subtly or strongly in response to the external environment and internal, mental commands. With this hypercomplex apparatus, they are capable of very sophisticated inward computations and outward behaviors that include self-recognition, metacognition, different forms of language expression and reception, prediction of future events, planning and performing long streams of motor acts, subtle emotional feelings, and many other surprising, almost unbelievable properties. The main challenge for research is: how do we explain this gigantic achievement of evolution? Is it a direct consequence of having acquired a brain larger than our primate ancestors, with huge numbers of computational units? Would it be determined by a particular way these units came to relate to each other, building up logic circuits of powerful capacities? What along development has “made the difference” for the construction of such a complex brain machine? How much of this complexity is innate, how much is sculpted by influence of the external world, by social interaction with our human fellows, and by the history of our own mental trajectory along life? Many specific questions can be asked (albeit not necessarily answered so far) to this purpose: (1) which genomic characteristics make us unique among primates? (2) which of developmental events during and beyond embryogenesis define our brain – prolonged neurogenesis? permanent circuit (re)formation? dynamic synaptogenesis? regressive sculpting of the hardware? all of them? (3) is there anything special about plasticity of the human brain that allows us to build the exquisite individual variability characteristic of our brains? Neuroscience is in need of a synthesis. Perhaps associating concepts derived from developmental neurobiology with evolutionary morphology and physiology, together with those that photograph the human brain in action under influence of the external world, would turn on a light at the end of the tunnel, and we would be able to understand what humans do have that is special – if anything – to explain our success in the Earth.

Health and Children with Disabilities

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453573 Year: Pages: 88 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-357-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Public Health
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:45
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Articles within this e-book are focused on the health of children with disabilities. Various frameworks have been used to articulate the dynamic interaction of the individual, environment and the task as it relates to child health. A majority of the contributing authors in this special topic are researchers within the field of adapted physical activity. This field embraces a broad perspective of inclusiveness and attitudes of acceptance.

Structure and Function of Chloroplasts

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889457137 Year: Pages: 279 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-713-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Botany
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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Chloroplasts are plant cell organelles that convert light energy into relatively stable chemical energy via the photosynthetic process. By doing so, they sustain life on Earth. Chloroplasts also provide diverse metabolic activities for plant cells, including the synthesis of fatty acids, membrane lipids, isoprenoids, tetrapyrroles, starch, and hormones. The biogenesis, morphogenesis, protection and senescence of chloroplasts are essential for maintaining a proper structure and function of chloroplasts, which will be the theme of this Research Topic. Chloroplasts are enclosed by an envelope of two membranes which encompass a third complex membrane system, the thylakoids, including grana and lamellae. In addition, starch grains, plastoglobules, stromules, eyespots, pyrenoids, etc. are also important structures of chloroplasts. It is widely accepted that chloroplasts evolved from a free-living photosynthetic cyanobacterium, which was engulfed by a eukaryotic cell. Chloroplasts retain a minimal genome, most of the chloroplast proteins are encoded by nuclear genes and the gene products are transported into the chloroplast through complex import machinery. The coordination of nuclear and plastid genome expressions establishes the framework of both anterograde and retrograde signaling pathways. As the leaf develops from the shoot apical meristem, proplastids and etioplastids differentiate into chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are divided by a huge protein complex, also called the plastid-dividing (PD) machinery, and their division is also regulated by many factors to get an optimized number and size of chloroplasts in the cell. These processes are fundamental for the biogenesis and three-dimensional dynamic structure of chloroplasts.During the photosynthesis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other cellular signals can be made. As an important metabolic hub of the plant cell, the chloroplast health has been found critical for a variety of abiotic and biotic stresses, including drought, high light, cold, heat, oxidative stresses, phosphate deprivation, and programmed cell death at sites of infection. Therefore, a better understanding the responses of chloroplasts to these stresses is part of knowing how the plant itself responds. Ultimately, this knowledge will be necessary to engineer crops more resistant to common stresses.With the current global environment changes, world population growth, and the pivotal role of chloroplasts in carbon metabolism, it is of great significance to represent the advancement in this field, for science and society. Tremendous progresses have been made in the field of chloroplast biology in recent years. Through concerted efforts from the community, greater discoveries definitely will emerge in the future.

Numerical Development - From cognitive functions to neural underpinnings

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194247 Year: Pages: 281 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-424-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Living at the beginning of the 21st century requires being numerate, because numerical abilities are not only essential for life prospects of individuals but also for economic interests of post-industrial knowledge societies. Thus, numerical development is at the core of both individual as well as societal interests. There is the notion that we are already born with a very basic ability to deal with small numerosities. Yet, this often called “number sense” seems to be very restricted, approximate, and driven by perceptual constraints. During our numerical development in formal (e.g., school) but also informal contexts (e.g., family, street) we acquire culturally developed abstract symbol systems to represent exact numerosities – in particular number words and Arabic digits – refining our numerical capabilities. In recent years, numerical development has gained increasing research interest documented in a growing number of behavioural, neuro-scientific, educational, cross-cultural, and neuropsychological studies addressing this issue. Additionally, our understanding of how numerical competencies develop has also benefitted considerably from the advent of different neuro-imaging techniques allowing for an evaluation of developmental changes in the human brain. In sum, we are now starting to put together a more and more coherent picture of how numerical competencies develop and how this development is associated with neural changes as well. In the end, this knowledge might also lead to a better understanding of the reasons for atypical numerical development which often has grieve consequences for those who suffer from developmental dyscalculia or mathematics learning disabilities. Therefore, this Research Topic deals with all aspects of numerical development: findings from behavioural performance to underlying neural substrates, from cross-sectional to longitudinal evaluations, from healthy to clinical populations. To this end, we included empirical contributions using different experimental methodologies, but also theoretical contributions, review articles, or opinion papers.

Embodied Cognition over the Lifespan and in Applied Settings

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889454921 Year: Pages: 293 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-492-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:42
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While Embodied Cognition has now been accepted as mainstream in Cognitive Science, the study of its potential contribution to understding child developemnt and ageing, as well as its potential applications, is still in its infancy. This collection of articles explores the contribution of Embodied Cognition to studying the lifespan and potential applied fields. The contributions are theoretical and empirical and offer an important framework for future research and its applications.

Emerging immune functions of non-hematopoietic stromal cells

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193622 Year: Pages: 161 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-362-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Allergy and Immunology --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-19 16:29:12
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The development and function of the immune system is dependent on interactions between haematopoietic cells and non-hematopoietic stromal cells. The non-hematopoietic stromal cells create the microenvironment in which the immune system operates, providing an architectural landscape for hematopoietic cell-cell interactions and molecular cues governing haematopoietic cell positioning, growth and survival. Not surprisingly, therefore, aberrant stromal cell function has recently been shown to play a key role in the development of disease pathologies associated with immune dysfunction. For example, remodelling of lymphoid tissue stroma and the development of ectopic tertiary lymphoid tissues are characteristic of many infectious and inflammatory diseases and stromal cells have a recognised role in lymphoma and tumour development and resistance to therapy. An increased understanding of the molecular basis of stromal cell differentiation and function in these varied contexts will provide new tools to promote research on stromal cell biology and immune dysfunction, and potential new targets for therapeutic intervention in diseases with a major impact on public health. The importance of stromal cells and the molecular mechanisms of stromal cell function in the regulation of immune responses have only recently been appreciated and thus represent an exciting new area in immunology.

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