|Developmental Psychology - Vol 45, Iss 6|
Developmental Psychology publishes articles that advance knowledge and theory about human development across the life span.
by Luyster, Rhiannon; Lord, Catherine
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been gaining attention, partly as an example of unusual developmental trajectories related to early neurobiological differences. The present investigation addressed the process of learning new words to explore mechanisms of language delay and impairment. The sample included 21 typically developing toddlers matched on expressive vocabulary with 21 young children with ASD. Two tasks were administered to teach children a new word and were supplemented by cognitive and diagnostic measures. In most analyses, there were no group differences in performance. Children with ASD did not consistently make mapping errors, even in word learning situations that required the use of social information. These findings indicate that some children with ASD, in developmentally appropriate tasks, are able to use information from social interactions to guide word–object mappings. This result has important implications for understanding of how children with ASD learn language. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)
by No�l, Marie-Pascale
In this study, the author aimed at measuring how much limited working memory capacity constrains early numerical development before any formal mathematics instruction. To that end, 4- and 5-year-old children were tested for their memory skills in the phonological loop (PL), visuo-spatial sketchpad (VSSP), and central executive (CE); they also completed a series of tasks tapping their addition and counting skills. A general vocabulary test was given to examine the difference between the children's numerical and general vocabulary. The results indicated that measures of the PL and the CE, but not those of the VSSP, were correlated with children's performance in counting, addition and general vocabulary. However, the predictive power of the CE capacity was significantly stronger than that of the PL capacity. Poor CE capacity should thus be taken into consideration when identifying children at risk of experiencing learning disabilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)