||PAPER SESSION 2
- Developmental differences in active causal learning across preschool age reveal different hypothesis-space structures
Angela Jones, Doug Markant, Thorsten Pachur, Alison Gopnik, Azzurra Ruggeri
Angela Jones1, Doug Markant2, Thorsten Pachur1, Alison Gopnik3, Azzurra Ruggeri1
1Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany;2University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA;3University of California, Berkeley, USA
What is this patient’s diagnosis? To navigate in a world of uncertainty, we have to learn how to make accurate predictions based on previous evidence. To do this, we first have to infer the causal relationship between certain cues (e.g., symptoms) and the observed outcome (e.g., disease). Sometimes we have the opportunity to actively manipulate cues to generate the evidence needed to efficiently infer the causal structure of a system. In this paper we explore the early development of this ability, by investigating how 5- and 6-year-olds select which evidence to observe when learning the causal structure of a system to make accurate predictions. In our task, preschoolers decide which monster pairs to see running in a race, to learn how two cues (color and shape) predict relative speed and later bet on the winning monsters. We use computational modeling techniques to infer from children’s decisions how their hypothesis-space is structured. We find that 6-year-olds’ decisions and performance are better predicted by a model in which the hypothesis-space is organized hierarchically by abstracting cue structure, and encoding cue direction and order (cue-based model). However, 5-year-olds’ decisions are better fit by a model in which the relative speed of individual monsters is encoded, without abstracting cue relationships (combination-based model). Our results suggest that developmental changes in active causal learning may reflect different hypothesis-space representations. We are currently testing 7-year-olds in order to further explore this developmental progression.
- The developmental and evolutionary origins of inferring unseen causal structures
Zeynep Civelek, Josep Call, Amanda Seed
Zeynep Civelek, Josep Call, Amanda Seed
School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, UK
One route to exploiting causality is through theorizing about the relations between events. It has been argued that children can do this from an early age, but whether or not nonhuman primates can go beyond associative learning when exploiting causality is controversial (Penn & Povinelli, 2007). However, children learn about causal structures through explicit teaching too and language has been shown to scaffold their abilities (Bonawitz et al., 2010; Butler & Markman 2012). We aimed to examine reasoning in the absence of causal language cues to enable a direct comparison between children and other primates. Pre-school children (N= 129) and chimpanzees (N= 11) were presented with an event in which a reward was dropped through a forked tube into one of the two cups. Subjects needed to learn to use an auditory cue to locate the reward. In the causal condition, the cue followed the dropping event, making it plausible that the sound was caused by the reward falling into the cups; and in the arbitrary condition, the cue preceded the dropping event, making the relation arbitrary. It was hypothesized that subjects would perform better in the causal than in the arbitrary condition if they could reason about the causal structure. By four years of age children performed significantly better in the causal condition than the arbitrary one; whereas chimpanzees performed at chance level in both conditions. The findings suggested a difference between preschool children and chimpanzees when dealing with unseen causes even without verbal prompting.
- Causality influences children’s perception of temporal order
Emma C Tecwyn, Christos Bechlivanidis, Teresa McCormack, Sara Lorimer, Emma Blakey, David A Lagnado, Christoph Hoerl, Marc J Buehner
Emma C Tecwyn1, Christos Bechlivanidis2, Teresa McCormack3, Sara Lorimer3, Emma Blakey4, David A Lagnado2, Christoph Hoerl5, Marc J Buehner1
1Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK;2University College London, London, UK;3Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK;4The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK;5University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
While it has long been known that time is a cue to causation (e.g. temporal priority and contiguity principles), recent work with adults has demonstrated that causality also influences our experience of time. If event A is believed to cause event B, then even if in fact event B occurs before event A, adults report the causally consistent order of events (AB), rather than the correct, temporally objective order (BA): the causal reordering phenomenon (Bechlivanidis & Lagnado, 2016). In this study we investigated, for the first time, whether children’s perception of temporal order is influenced by causality. Elucidating the developmental trajectory of causal reordering has potential to enhance our understanding of both temporal and causal cognition. Participants (4-6 year-olds, N=77; 6-8 year-olds, N=97; 8-10 year-olds, N=89; and adults, N=42) either saw a 3-object Michotte-style ‘pseudocollison’ test clip, or a 2-object control clip. In the test clip, object A moved towards object B, but upon making contact with it, object C moved then object B moved (ACB).The control clip was identical, except for object A was omitted, so C moved then B moved (CB). For all age groups, participants were less likely to report the correct temporal order of events, and more likely to incorrectly report contact between objects B and C in the test clip than the control clip (Chi-square tests, p<0.01 for all). These findings provide the first evidence that children’s temporal order judgements are – like adults’ – influenced by causality.
||REGULAR SYMPOSIUM 2
The development of body representation: from infant cortical responses to children localisation abilities
- How do bodies become special? The emergence of body-related cortical processing in the first 14 months of life
Silvia Rigato, Helge Gillmeister
Silvia Rigato, Helge Gillmeister
University of Essex, UK
There is general consensus that the representation of the human face becomes functionally specialised within the first few months of an infant’s life. The literature is divided, however, on the question whether the specialised representation of the remainder of the human body form follows a similarly rapid trajectory or emerges more slowly and in line with domain-general learning mechanisms. This study investigates visual ERPs in infants (P1, N290, P400, and Nc) of three age groups (3.5, 10, and 14 months) to track the emergence of face- and body-structural encoding. Our findings show that visual ERPs were absent (P1, N290, P400) or smaller (Nc) for bodies than for faces at 3.5 months and peaked later (N290, P400) for bodies than for faces at older ages. Inversion effects for bodies were not reliably found until 14 months (P400 amplitudes). In contrast, inversion effects for faces were present from 3.5 months (N290 latencies). Inverted faces produced an adult-like pattern for P400 at older ages (enhanced P400 amplitudes from 10 months, longer P400 latencies from 14 months), emphasising the role of P400 as the precursor of the adult N170. Importantly, our findings argue that structural encoding of the human body form emerges later in infancy and is qualitatively different from the structural encoding for faces. This is commensurate with infant motor development and the experience of viewing complete body shapes later than faces.
- Cortical signatures of vicarious tactile experience in four-month-old infants
Andrew J Bremner, Michael J Banissy, Silvia Rigato
Andrew J Bremner1, Michael J Banissy1, Silvia Rigato2
1Goldsmiths, University of London, UK,2University of Essex, UK
The human brain recruits similar brain regions when a state is experienced (e.g., touch, pain, actions) and when that state is passively observed in other individuals. In adults, seeing other people being touched activates similar brain areas as when we experience touch ourselves. Here we show that already by four months of age, cortical responses to tactile stimulation are modulated by visual information specifying another person being touched. We recorded somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) in 4-month-old infants while they were presented with brief vibrotactile stimuli to the hands. At the same time that the tactile stimuli were presented the infants observed another person’s hand being touched by a soft paintbrush or approached by the paintbrush which then touched the surface next to their hand. A prominent positive peak in SEPs contralateral to the site of tactile stimulation around 130 ms after the tactile stimulus onset was of a significantly larger amplitude for the “Surface” trials than for the “Hand” trials. These findings indicate that, even at four months of age, somatosensory cortex is not only involved in the personal experience of touch but can also be vicariously recruited by seeing other people being touched.
- Within and outside the developing body
Maria Laura Filippetti, Aikaterini Fotopoulou
Maria Laura Filippetti1, Aikaterini Fotopoulou2
1University of Essex, UK;2University College London, UK
The ability to integrate signals arising from within and outside the body is fundamental for the experience of one’s own body as belonging to oneself. Recently, the adult research has shown the fundamental relationship between interoceptive and exteroceptive sensory cues for body awareness, suggesting that own-body perception results from the dynamic interplay between these signals. Nonetheless, while extensive evidence supports the presence of some implicit exteroceptively-driven body perception in infancy, fundamental questions remain about the development and acquisition of sensitivity to internal bodily signals.
The present study aimed to investigate whether external manipulations of interoceptive signals can influence proprioceptive hand localisation abilities in children. Multisensory mechanisms for own-hand perception (using the classic RHI) have been shown to develop to adult levels by 10 years of age, suggesting that visual information about the hand (i.e. visual capture) seems to be the strongest cue to body location in younger children. In this study we decreased visual-proprioceptive integration by prompting children with intero-proprioceptive signals (CT-optimal touch) about their hand position, whilst they were watching a realistic rubber hand. We show that, in contrast to adults, prolonged CT-optimal affective stroking of the real hand in children interferes with visual-proprioceptive integration of the visual location of the rubber hand and the proprioceptive location on the own hand. These findings reinforce the proposal that the ability to become aware of our body develops gradually in childhood and further suggest that the ability to integrate intero-proprioceptive signals might follow a similar late-developing pattern.
||LUNCH Restaurants around
||REGULAR SYMPOSIUM 3
Comparative approaches to socio-cognitive development
- Developmental shifts in monkey social attention
University of Michigan, USA
Gaze following, or co-orienting with others, is a critical social-cognitive capacity allowing individuals to acquire information about their social and physical environment. This is a foundational social skill in human ontogeny, but little is known about its emergence and development in other species. Studies of other primates can provide insight into the origins and biological function of these psychological abilities in humans. I will discuss work examining age-related changes in the social cognition of two closely related species that vary in social style: rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are characterized by steep dominance hierarchies and aggression, whereas Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) display more tolerant and affiliative interactions. In comparisons of semi-free-ranging macaque populations with wide variation in age, both species follow gaze to a distant target more in test trials where an actor looked up compared to control trials. However, these species differ in their ontogenetic trajectories. In rhesus macaques, gaze following emerges during infancy, peaks in the juvenile period, and then declines with age—similar to patterns seen humans. In contrast, tolerant Barbary macaques maintained high levels of social attention even through old age. This indicates that developmental patterns of social attention vary with tolerant social systems across primates. Together, this work demonstrates that comparative studies of cognitive development and aging in other primates can provide new insights into the evolutionary processes shaping human cognition.
- Ownership from a comparative, cross-cultural, and developmental perspective
Patricia Kanngiesser, Federico Rossano, Ramona Frickel, Anne Tomm, Daniel Haun, Henriette Zeidler, Michael Tomasello
Patricia Kanngiesser1, Federico Rossano2, Ramona Frickel3, Anne Tomm3, Daniel Haun4, Henriette Zeidler3, Michael Tomasello3
1Freie Universität Berlin, Germany;2University of California San Diego, USA, ;3Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany;4Universität Leipzig, Germany
Ownership is based on cooperative agreements between individuals: individuals inhibit their tendency to take others’ property if those others will do the same. Owners can thus trust others to respect their property – even in the owner’s absence. We investigated in three studies (i) whether ownership is specific to humans as compared with other apes, and (ii) whether cooperative agreements of ownership are universal in children from diverse human societies. In study 1, we found that dyads of chimpanzees and bonobos did not respect their partner’s ownership of food resources and instead maximized their own outcomes. In study 2, we found that dyads of German four-year-olds respected their partner’s ownership almost completely. In study 3, we showed that dyads of five- to seven-year-old children from three non-Western societies with few personal possessions respected their partner’s ownership – though somewhat less than German children. Respect for ownership thus seems to be uniquely human and, at least to some degree, universal in humans. These findings cast doubt on claims that humans share with other animals an evolved predisposition for ownership. We suggest that apes and other animals have a notion of possession (i.e., of things under their immediate physical control), but that only humans have the social and cognitive prerequisites to develop and sustain cooperative ownership agreements.
- Maternal socialization of early helping behavior in different cultural contexts
Moritz Köster, Joscha Kärtner
Moritz Köster1, Joscha Kärtner2
1Freie Universität Berlin, Germany,2Universität Münster, Germany
The involvement in daily chores by family members is an important context for the development of early helping behavior. In two cross-cultural studies, we investigated how mothers from different cultural contexts assign tasks to their children and how this relates to their toddlers helping behavior. In study 1, we found that mothers from rural Brazil request their toddlers (18-32 month) in a serious and insistent way (assertive scaffolding), while German mothers asked, plead, and gave explanations (deliberate scaffolding). Importantly, assertive scaffolding was associated with toddlers’ helping in rural Brazil, while mothers’ deliberate scaffolding related to toddlers’ helping behavior in urban Germany. These findings suggest culture-specific developmental pathways along the lines of interpersonal responsibility and personal choice. In study 2, we compared an urban German and an urban Japanese sample, using the same tasks, but at a younger age (16 month). This was to investigate how maternal scaffolding of chores differs between Japanese and German mothers and to test whether maternal culture-specific socialization may influence infants’ prosocial tendencies already at an earlier age. German mothers employed deliberate scaffolding strategies (like in the first study), while Japanese mothers asked their children in a sensitive way (using a high tone of voice and diminutives). However, there was no relation between maternal scaffolding and children’s helping at this early age. To conclude, mothers employ culture-specific scaffolding of daily chores shortly after their infants’ first birthday (study 2), before cultural learning effects toddlers’ helping behavior later in the first year (study 1).
- Using culture to investigate the development of fairness
Peter R Blake, Katherine McAuliffe, Felix Warneken, John Corbit, Tara Callaghan, Anni E Kajanus
Peter R Blake1, Katherine McAuliffe2, Felix Warneken3, John Corbit4, Tara Callaghan5, Anni E Kajanus6
1Boston University, USA,2Boston College, USA,3University of Michigan, USA,4Simon Fraser University, Canada ,5St Francis Xavier University,6University of Helsinki, Finland
A dislike of inequality is fundamental to our sense of fairness. However, humans tend to have a stronger aversion to receiving a disadvantage than to receiving an advantage. I will present a series of studies examining these two aspects of fairness across cultures.
In Study 1, children in seven societies paid a cost to reject a disadvantage relative to a peer, but children rejected an advantage in a costly manner in only three societies. In Study 2, we combined experiments with an ethnographic study to investigate the causes of inequity aversion in two schools in China with different norms and teaching practices. Children in both schools rejected both forms of inequality, but the ethnography suggests that rejecting an advantage may be motivated by different social influences in the two schools. In Study 3, we evaluated children’s willingness to reject inequality after collaborating to obtain the rewards. We tested children in Canada and rural India, a site in which children tended to accept an advantage in Study 1. Children in India rejected an advantage after collaboration but not after parallel work, and rejected a disadvantage in both conditions. Combined these studies suggest that an aversion to disadvantage is a stable feature of human cognition and resistant to social influences. By contrast, an aversion to advantage varies across societies and can be produced by multiple social factors.
||POSTER SESSION B
(with coffee & snacks)
||PAPER SESSION 3
Neuroimaging of Theory of Mind
- Development of the social brain from age three to twelve years
Hilary Richardson, Grace Lisandrelli, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor, Rebecca Saxe
Hilary Richardson1, Grace Lisandrelli2, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor3, Rebecca Saxe1
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA;2Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA;3Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA USA
Over the past decade, fMRI research has made significant progress identifying functional divisions of labor within the adult “social brain." For example, in human adults, distinct networks of brain regions are recruited to reason about the bodies (physical sensations) and minds (mental states) of others. The current study characterizes the developmental trajectory of these two functionally specialized networks, and tests for relationships between functional specialization of these networks and behavioral developments in reasoning about the minds of others (“Theory of Mind”, ToM). A large cross-sectional sample of children ages three to twelve years old (n=122), in addition to a group of adults (n=33), watched a short, animated movie while undergoing fMRI. The movie highlights the physical sensations (often pain) and mental states (beliefs, desires, emotions) of the main characters, and, critically, provides an experimental context that is feasible and engaging for even the youngest children. Using interregional correlation analyses and reverse correlation analyses of the response timecourses in ToM and pain brain regions, we find evidence that 1) ToM and pain networks are functionally distinct by age three years, 2) functional specialization increases throughout childhood, and 3) functional maturity of each network is related to increasingly anti- correlated responses between the two networks. Further, these data provide evidence that the most studied milestone in ToM behavioral development, passing explicit false-belief tasks, does not correspond to discontinuities in the development of the social brain.
- Functional organization for theory of mind in preverbal infants: A near-infrared spectroscopy study
Daniel C. Hyde, Charline E. Simon, Fransisca Ting, Julia Nikolaeva
Daniel C. Hyde, Charline E. Simon, Fransisca Ting, Julia Nikolaeva
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Successful human social life requires imagining what others believe or think to understand and predict behavior. This ability, often referred to as theory of mind, reliably engages a specialized network of temporal and prefrontal brain regions in older children and adults, including selective recruitment of temporal-parietal junction (TPJ). To date, how and when this specialized brain organization for ToM arises is unknown due to limitations in functional neuroimaging at younger ages. Here we employed the emerging technique of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure the functional brain response across the parietal, temporal, and prefrontal regions in 7-month old male and female infants as they viewed different video scenarios of a person searching for a hidden object. Over different conditions, we manipulated whether the person held an accurate (true) or inaccurate (false) belief about the location of the hidden object in the videos. We observed that the TPJ, but not other temporal and prefrontal regions, spontaneously tracked the beliefs of the other person, responding more during scenarios when the other person’s belief regarding the location of the object was false compared to scenarios where her belief was true. These results mirror those obtained with adults to show that TPJ is already functional organized for high-level social cognition by around 7-months. Furthermore, these results suggest that infants may draw on similar core mechanisms to implicitly track beliefs as do adults do when explicitly reasoning about them.
- Fourteen-month-olds follow how others understand words
Bálint Forgács, Eugenio Parise, Gergely Csibra, György Gergely, Judit Gervain
Bálint Forgács1,2, Eugenio Parise3,4, Gergely Csibra4,5, György Gergely4, Judit Gervain1
1Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception (LPP), Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France;2Department of Cognitive Psychology, Department of Cognitive Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary;3Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK;4Cognitive Development Center (CDC), Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary5Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK
We set out to investigate the interplay between semantic comprehension and Theory-of-Mind capacities in 14-month-old infants. We wanted to know how infants’ brain process the linguistic (mis)understanding of an adult communicative partner in an object naming paradigm involving false beliefs, by recording event-related potentials. We presented infants with various toys that are likely to be known to them (e.g., shoe, apple, book, etc.), and named them in the presence of an adult observer. In half of the trials, we changed the object without the knowledge of the observer and named the new one, thus it was congruent from the perspective of the infant, but incongruent from the perspective of the observer. In the baseline condition the object naming was congruent for both parties. To confirm that we can evoke a typical N400, an electrophysiological marker of semantic comprehension, we also run a control experiment, where both parties heard either congruent or incongruent labels for objects. First, according to the control experiment, infants reacted to labels incongruent from their perspective with a typical N400, a greater negativity in the 400-600 ms time window. Secondly, in the main experiment, when labels were congruent from infants’ own perspective, but incongruent for the observer, we again found an N400 response, statistically not different from that of the control experiment. Additionally, we found a later frontal negativity as well. Infants, like adults, seem to use very similar neural resources to understand language and to track the comprehension of a communicative partner.
Decision-making: from perception to social cognition
- How is visual perception biased?
Floris de Lange
Floris de Lange
Donders Institute, Netherlands
Sensory signals are highly structured in both space and time. These regularities allow expectations about future stimulation to be formed, thereby facilitating perceptual decisions about visual features and objects. In my talk, I will discuss recent data that elucidate how temporal and spatial context change sensory computations in the visual system and modify perception and post-perceptual decision-making. I will also compare the effects of time and space with the effects of learnt statistical regularities on the neural and behavioral response.
- Know thyself early on! The emergence of core metacognition in infants
CNRS / ENS, France
When do children start reflecting upon their own cognitive states, an ability referred to as metacognition? Because young children typically give inaccurate verbal self-reports, it has been assumed that self-reflective abilities do not mature until late childhood. This claim is now challenged, as new studies relying on non-verbal paradigms reveal that rudimentary forms of metacognition - such as the ability to estimate decision confidence or to monitor errors - are present much earlier in development. I will present a series of experiments demonstrating that infants reflect upon their own decisions to evaluate their performance and adapt subsequent behaviour. After performing a binary choice, 12 and 18-month old infants display appropriate decision confidence by persisting more following correct as compared to incorrect decisions, even in the absence of external feedback. Furthermore, an electrophysiological marker of error detection, the Error-Related Negativity, is elicited when 12 month-old infants make incorrect decisions. Hence, although explicit forms of metacognition might mature later during childhood, core mechanisms of metacognitive sensitivity are already functional during the first year of life. This new line of evidence suggests that metacognition develops along two fundamentally distinct trajectories. While core metacognitive capacities are already present in infancy, flexible and explicit aspects of metacognition are only acquired through an effortful developmental process extending over childhood. I will conclude on how this dual-process approach to metacognition impacts our perspectives on learning and education.
- Computational models of curiosity for understanding learning
University of Rochester, USA
The talk will discuss approaches aimed at understanding the computational mechanisms that drive learning and development in young children. Although infants are born knowing little about the world, they possess remarkable learning mechanisms that eventually create sophisticated systems of knowledge. We discuss recent empirical findings about learners’ cognitive mechanisms—including attention, curiosity, and metacognition—that permit such striking learning throughout infancy and childhood. We will review evidence that infants enter the world equipped with sophisticated attentional strategies that select intermediately complex material to maximize their learning potential (the “Goldilocks effect” of infant attention, e.g., Kidd, Piantadosi, & Aslin, 2012, 2014; Piantadosi, Kidd, & Aslin, 2014). We will also discuss more recent work on the dynamics of idealized attention in complex learning environments, with a focus on attentional-switching patterns and their implications for understanding learning (e.g., Pelz, Piantadosi, & Kidd, 2015; Pelz, Yung, & Kidd, 2015; Wade & Kidd, under review). We will also touch on how these general mechanisms facilitate not only smart attentional decisions, but also good decision-making in general (e.g., Kidd, Palmeri, & Aslin, 2013).
||ROOFTOP MULLED-WINE RECEPTION