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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.

Time and Causality

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192526 Year: Pages: 118 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-252-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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The problem of how humans and other intelligent systems construct causal representations from non-causal perceptual evidence has occupied scholars in cognitive science for many decades. Most contemporary approaches agree with David Hume that patterns of covariation between two events of interest are the critical input to the causal induction engine, irrespective of whether this induction is believed to be grounded in the formation of associations (Shanks & Dickinson, 1987), rule-based evaluation (White, 2004), appraisal of causal powers (Cheng, 1997), or construction of Bayesian Causal Networks (Pearl, 2000). Recent research, however, has repeatedly demonstrated that an exclusive focus on covariation while neglecting contiguity (another of Hume's cues) results in ecologically invalid models of causal inference. Temporal spacing, order, variability, predictability, and patterning all have profound influence on the type of causal representation that is constructed. The influence of time upon causal representations could be seen as a bottom-up constraint (though current bottom-up models cannot account for the full spectrum of effects). However, causal representations in turn also constrain the perception of time: Put simply, two causally related events appear closer in subjective time than two (equidistant) unrelated events. This reversal of Hume's conjecture, referred to as Causal Binding (Buehner & Humphreys, 2009) is a top-down constraint, and suggests that our representations of time and causality are mutually influencing one another. At present, the theoretical implications of this phenomenon are not yet fully understood. Some accounts link it exclusively to human motor planning (appealing to mechanisms of cross-modal temporal adaptation, or forward learning models of motor control). However, recent demonstrations of causal binding in the absence of human action, and analogous binding effects in the visual spatial domain, challenge such accounts in favour of Bayesian Evidence Integration. This Research Topic reviews and further explores the nature of the mutual influence between time and causality, how causal knowledge is constructed in the context of time, and how it in turn shapes and alters our perception of time. We draw together literatures from the perception and cognitive science, as well as experimental and theoretical papers. Contributions investigate the neural bases of binding and causal learning/perception, methodological advances, and functional implications of causal learning and perception in real time.

The Impact of Sensory; Linguistic and Social Deprivation on Cognition

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453542 Year: Pages: 183 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-354-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:45
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Early experience plays a crucial role in determining the trajectory of cognitive development. For example, early sensory deprivation is known to induce neural reorganization by way of adaptation to the altered sensory experience. Neville and Bavelier’s “compensatory theory’’ hypothesizes that loss of one sense may bring about a sensory enhancement in the remaining modalities. Sensory deprivation will, however, also impact the age of emergence, or the speed of acquisition of cognitive abilities that depend upon sensory inputs. Understanding how a child’s early environment shapes their cognition is not only of theoretical interest. It is essential for the development of early intervention programs that address not just the early deprivation itself, but also the cognitive sequelae of such deprivation. The articles in this e-book all address different aspects of deprivation - sensory, linguistic, and social - and explore the impacts of such deprivation on a wide range of cognitive outcomes. In reading these contributions, it is important to note that sensory, linguistic, and social deprivation are not independent factors in human experience. For example, a child born deaf into a hearing family is likely to experience delays in exposure to natural language, with subsequent limits on their linguistic competence having an effect on social interactions and inclusion: a child raised in environments where social interaction is highly limited is also likely to experience reductions in the quantity and quality of linguistic inputs. Future work will need to carefully examine the complex interactions between the sensory, linguistic and social environments of children raised in atypical or impoverished environments.

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.

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.

Learning in Social Context: The Nature and Profit of Living in Groups for Development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451821 Year: Pages: 87 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-182-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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One of the distinctive features of humans is their unique sociality. Humans live in organized societies that are characterized by a high level of interdependence of group members in various aspects of life, ranging from the economic phenomenon of labour division to providing emotional support to others. Under these circumstances, the capacity to track social connections within and between groups has great adaptive value in managing everyday life. We may understand the importance and adaptive value of tracking the scope of culturally shared knowledge if we consider the importance of cultural norms in guiding behaviour. To become a competent member of their cultural group one must be able to conform to the group's specific behavioural norms and to accumulate culturally shared knowledge. Acquiring this knowledge is essential for successful social interactions. In contrast to current dominant explanatory theories emphasizing that social category formation is simply rooted in humans’ need to belong and affiliate with a group, the aim of this e-book is to provide evidence that, in addition to its affiliative role, children form social categories for epistemic purposes. We show that children use specific cues, like kinship, patterns of resource allocation and consensus to understand group cohesion (Section 1). Once children figured out who is in-group and who is out-group, they show a significant in-group bias in attention, acting and learning (Section 2). Yet, this in-group bias can be attenuated by induced synchronous behavior (Section 3).

Cognitive Development and Individual Variability

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ISBN: 9783039210527 / 9783039210534 Year: Pages: 158 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03921-053-4 Language: eng
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-08-28 11:21:27
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The standard approach to cognitive development most frequently consists of cross-sectional studies comparing different ages and groups while restricted to a single task. The necessity to focus on the individual in an idiographic perspective, rather than on the task or the variable, has been repeatedly emphasized, most recently in several very important papers by Nesselroade and Molenaar. Variability has also emerged as a crucial characteristic. Moreover, understanding the developmental construction of a given cognitive achievement is imperative to understanding cognitive functioning in adulthood. The general objective of this book is to focus on the individual by studying intraindividual and interindividual variability in various cognitive tasks, that is, intraindividual variability across items of a given task (inconsistency), across various cognitive tasks (dispersion), and/or across years (intraindividual change), and of course, on interindividual differences in intraindividual variability. This book presents empirical studies that have been conducted by research groups in Europe and in North America, prominent in the field of variability and development or methodology. The 26 authors/co-authors include senior authors such as Lautrey, Schmiedek, Dauvier, van der Maas, Ghisletta, Stawski, MacDonald, and de Ribaupierre.

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