Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Inconvenient samples: Modeling biases related to parental consent by coupling observational and experimental results
    (2020) ;
    Shafto, Patrick
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    Bonawitz, Elizabeth
    In studies involving human subjects, voluntary participation may lead to sampling bias, thus limiting the generalizability of findings. This effect may be especially pronounced in developmental studies, where parents serve as both the primary environmental input and decision maker of whether their child participates in a study. We present a novel empirical and modeling approach to estimate how parental consent may bias measurements of children’s behavior. Specifically, we coupled naturalistic observations of parent–child interactions in public spaces with a behavioral test with children, and used modeling methods to impute the behavior of children who did not participate. Results showed that parents’ tendency to use questions to teach was associated with both children’s behavior in the test and parents’ tendency to participate. Exploiting these associations with a model-based multiple imputation and a propensity score–matching procedure, we estimated that the means of the participating and not-participating groups could differ as much as 0.23 standard deviations for the test measurements, and standard deviations themselves are likely underestimated. These results suggest that ignoring factors associated with consent may lead to systematic biases when generalizing beyond lab samples, and the proposed general approach provides a way to estimate these biases in future research.
      81  64Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Open Access
    The ontogeny of cumulative culture: Individual toddlers vary in faithful imitation and goal emulation
    (2020) ;
    Kushnir, Tamar
    The success of human culture depends on early emerging mechanisms of social learning, which include the ability to acquire opaque cultural knowledge through faithful imitation, as well as the ability to advance culture through flexible discovery of new means to goal attainment. This study explores whether this mixture of faithful imitation and goal emulation is based in part on individual differences which emerge early in ontogeny. Experimental measurements and parental reports were collected for a group of 2‐year‐old children (N = 48, age = 23–32 months) on their imitative behavior as well as other aspects of cognitive and social development. Results revealed individual differences in children's imitative behavior across trials and tasks which were best characterized by a model that included two behavioral routines; one corresponding to faithful imitation, and one to goal emulation. Moreover, individual differences in faithful imitation and goal emulation were correlated with individual differences in theory of mind, prosocial behavior, and temperament. These findings were discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the mechanisms of social learning, ontogeny of cumulative culture, and the benefit of analyzing individual differences for developmental experiments.
    WOS© Citations 10Scopus© Citations 13  268  61
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Will the future BE POSITIVE? How early life parenting signals the developing "pre" school brain
    (2019) ; ; ;
    Tsotsi, Stella
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    Kwok, Fu Yu
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    ;
    Xie, Huichao
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    ; ;
    Ng, Chee Chin
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    Hu, Pei Lin
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    Tan, Ngiap Chuan
    We suggest that prior to school entry, our earliest “teachers” and “learning settings” —that is, our parents, caregivers, and homes—provide signals about our environmental conditions. In turn, our brains may interpret this information as cues indicating the types of environments we will likely face and adapt accordingly. We discuss ways in which two such early-life cues—bilingual exposure and sensitive caregiving quality, influence “domain general” neurocircuitry and associated functioning (e.g., temperament and emotional reactivity, emotion regulation, relational memory, exploratory play, and executive functioning), as well as pre-academic outcomes. We conclude by discussing the need for early upstream intervention programmes, as well as the need for additional research including our upcoming “BE POSITIVE” study, designed to help bridge the gap between the community, home, and school environments.
    Scopus© Citations 1  299  58
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Pedagogical questions promote causal learning in preschoolers
    (2020)
    Daubert, Emily N.
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    Grados, Milagros
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    Shafto, Patrick
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    Bonawitz, Elizabeth
    What maximizes instructional impact in early childhood? We propose a simple intervention employing “Pedagogical Questions”. We explore whether swapping some instructional language with questions in psychosomatic storybooks improves preschoolers’ memory, learning, and generalization. Seventy-two preschoolers were randomly assigned to one of three conditions and were read storybooks employing either Direct Instruction, Pedagogical Questions, or Control content. Posttest measures of psychosomatic understanding, judgments about the possibility of psychosomatic events, and memory for storybook details showed that children in the Pedagogical Questions condition demonstrated greater memory for relevant storybook details and improved psychosomatic understanding. Our results suggest that pedagogical questions are a relatively simple educational manipulation to improve memory, learning, and transfer of theory-rich content.
    WOS© Citations 10Scopus© Citations 10  93  73
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Children change their answers in response to neutral follow-up questions by a knowledgeable asker
    (Wiley, 2020)
    Bonawitz, Elizabeth
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    Shafto, Patrick
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    Gonzalez, Aaron
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    Bridgers, Sophie
    Burgeoning evidence suggests that when children observe data, they use knowledge of the demonstrator’s intent to augment learning. We propose that the effects of social learning may go beyond cases where children observe data, to cases where they receive no new information at all. We present a model of how simply asking a question a second time may lead to belief revision, when the questioner is expected to know the correct answer. We provide an analysis of the CHILDES corpus to show that these neutral follow-up questions are used in parent–child conversations. We then present three experiments investigating 4- and 5-year-old children’s reactions to neutral follow-up questions posed by ignorant or knowledgeable questioners. Children were more likely to change their answers in response to a neutral follow-up question from a knowledgeable questioner than an ignorant one. We discuss the implications of these results in the context of common practices in legal, educational, and experimental psychological settings.
    WOS© Citations 11Scopus© Citations 11  294  97
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Using guided play to facilitate young children’s exploratory learning
    (Springer, 2022)
    Children often learn about the world through exploratory play. Research shows that adults can either facilitate or impede children’s learning through exploratory play, depending on the manner in which they get involved: For example, directly instructing children what to do when facing a novel artifact may discourage them from further exploration and discovery learning (Bonawitz E, Shafto P, Gweon H, Goodman ND, Spelke E, Schulz L, Cognition 120(3):322–330, 2011. https://doi-org.libproxy.nie.edu.sg/10.1016/j.cognition.2010.10.001), while reframing the instruction into “pedagogical questions” may facilitate exploration (Yu Y, Landrum AR, Bonawitz E, Shafto P, Dev Sci 21(6):e12696, 2018a). How to balance between child-directed play and adult-directed instruction for optimal learning? In this chapter, I discuss the framework of guided play, which combines child autonomy with adult guidance in a playful setting (Weisberg DS, Hirsh-Pasek K, Golinkoff RM, Kittredge AK, Klahr D, Curr Dir Psychol Sci 25(3):177–182, 2016). Empirical studies suggest that guided play is effective in helping children develop numeracy, spatial, language, and literacy skills, as well as the capacity for self-directed learning. In the Singapore context, guided play shares common principles with purposeful play and iTeach recommended by the Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) framework (Ministry of Education, Nurturing early learners: a curriculum framework for kindergartens in Singapore. Ministry of Education, Singapore, 2012). It has the potential to help educators, caregivers, and policy makers create a child-friendly and purposefully designed environment that promotes exploratory learning.
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  • Publication
    Open Access
    Questioning supports effective transmission of knowledge and increased exploratory learning in pre-kindergarten children
    (2018) ;
    Landrum, Asheley R.
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    Bonawitz, Elizabeth
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    Shafto, Patrick
    How can education optimize transmission of knowledge while also fostering further learning? Focusing on children at the cusp of formal schooling (N = 180, age = 4.0 - 6.0 y), we investigate learning after direct instruction by a knowledgeable teacher, after questioning by a knowledgeable teacher, and after questioning by a naïve informant. Consistent with previous findings, instruction by a knowledgeable teacher allows effective information transmission but at the cost of exploration and further learning. Critically, we find a duel benefit for questioning by a knowledgeable teacher: Such pedagogical questioning both effectively transmits knowledge and fosters exploration and further learning, regardless of whether the question was directed to the child or directed to a third party and overheard by the child. These effects are not observed when the same question is asked by a naïve informant. We conclude that a teacher’s choice of pedagogical method may differentially influence learning through their choices of how, and how not, to present evidence, with implications for transmission of knowledge and self-directed discovery.
    WOS© Citations 25Scopus© Citations 28  142  218
  • Publication
    Open Access
    How did COVID-19 impact the lives and perceived well-being of parents? Using the case of Singapore to investigate the mechanisms
    (2020) ;
    Chua, Jallene Jia En
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    ;
    The COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to the lives and well-being of families with underaged children. Although previous studies have documented COVID-related deterioration in well-being and identified protective and risk factors, the mechanisms under which the pandemic leads to worsened well-being remain unclear. In addition, from a policymaker’s perspective, it is important to differentiate between the effects of government-issued infection control measures (such as lockdown) and families’ voluntary responses when facing the coronavirus (such as self-quarantine) on well-being. Using Singapore as an example, we collected retrospective self-reports on the everyday activities, stressors, and well-being of parents and other caregivers at three timepoints: before local transmission (Pre-pandemic), after local transmission but before the “circuit breaker” (Pandemic), and during the “circuit breaker” (Lockdown). We estimated the effects of the pandemic itself and families’ voluntary responses to it by contrasting Pandemic against Pre-pandemic, and we estimated the additional effects of imposed lockdown measures by contrasting Lockdown against Pandemic. Results showed significant changes in jobs and income, childcare arrangement, family dynamics, and parents’ emotional well-being throughout the three timepoints. Both mothers and fathers reported to worry most about the health and safety of family members and self. Mothers’ time spent on housework partially mediated the effect of lockdown on their emotional well-being, and parents’ conflict with other adults in the household partially mediated the effects of both pandemic and lockdown on their emotional well-being. The effects of pandemic and lockdown were also moderated by parents’ age, education level, and fathers’ authoritarian values.
      1245  668