PSYCH 414, Winter 2008
Cognitive Development



1. Weekly quizzes:
6 multiple choice, choose 2 of 3 short answer
2. Weekly small group discussions and assignments:
discuss and complete short assignment in your group
3. Research proposal:
outline and research paper.

Week 8 assignment

Carlson, Davis & Leach (2005). Less is more: Executive function and symbolic representation in preschool children. Psychological Science, 16, 609-616.

1. Which aspect of executive function does the Less is More task most heavily tap? Are there subcomponents of this aspect of executive function? What are they? What is psychological distancing? Why might it be helpful in tasks that require inhibitory control?

2. What are "hot" and "cool" executive processes? Can these processes be used to explain the impact of symbols on children's performance on the Less is More task? Try to classify tasks that you learned about in class on Tuesday along this dimension.

3. How did the authors investigate their question of interest? What were the main findings?

4. Consider how these findings can be applied to the real world. Come up with at least 1 suggestion to give to a parent who is hoping to help his or her child inhibit a maladaptive or inappropriate behavior.

5. Design a study that looks at the impact of symbols on another measure of executive function (consider the use of symbols in a broad sense. Hint: think about language and gestures)

Week 8 assignment

Birch & Bloom (2004). Understanding children's and adults' limitations in mental state reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Science, 8, 255-260.

In the article that you read this week, the authors claim that under certain circumstances adults demonstrate problems with mental state reasoning. That is, they are biased by their own knowledge. Design a *novel* task to compare children and adult's ability to engage in mental state reasoning. Consider how you will compare children and adults' performance and whether you expect discontinuity or continuity in performance on the task across different ages.
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Last modified: 5/21/2010 10:36 AM