Human Development & Quantitative Methodology Research Works

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    Students’ Scientific Evaluations of Water Resources
    (MDPI, 2020-07-18) Medrano, Josh; Jaffe, Joshua; Lombardi, Doug; Holzer, Margaret A.; Roemmele, Christopher
    Socially-relevant and controversial topics, such as water issues, are subject to differences in the explanations that scientists and the public (herein, students) find plausible. Students need to be more evaluative of the validity of explanations (e.g., explanatory models) based on evidence when addressing such topics. We compared two activities where students weighed connections between lines of evidence and explanations. In one activity, students were given four evidence statements and two models (one scientific and one non-scientific alternative); in the other, students chose four out of eight evidence statements and three models (two scientific and one non-scientific). Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that both activities engaged students’ evaluations and differentially shifted students’ plausibility judgments and knowledge. A structural equation model suggested that students’ evaluation may influence post-instructional plausibility and knowledge; when students chose their lines of evidence and explanatory models, their evaluations were deeper, with stronger shifts toward a scientific stance and greater levels of post-instructional knowledge. The activities may help to develop students’ critical evaluation skills, a scientific practice that is key to understanding both scientific content and science as a process. Although effect sizes were modest, the results provided critical information for the final development and testing stage of these water resource instructional activities.
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    Risks and Protective Factors of Hispanic Families and Their Young Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (MDPI, 2022-05-27) Cabrera, Natasha; He, Minxuan; Chen, Yu; Reich, Stephanie M.
    This study examines the risk-related factors during the pandemic and protective factors that might reduce its effects on family functioning in a sample of 161 low-income Hispanic parents in the United States, recruited from an ongoing longitudinal intervention study. They were surveyed about family functioning six months into the pandemic. We focused on the associations between social (e.g., exposure to the virus) and economic (e.g., job loss) pandemic-related risks on parental stress, parenting, and children’s socioemotional problems and skills, as well as the degree to which coparenting support, parents’ positivity, economic support, and access to services and information mitigated (protected) the negative effects of these stressors on family functioning. We found that increases in economic risk were associated with more child competence skills, whereas increases in social risk were associated with less parental engagement. Positivity and economic support moderated the effects of economic risk on parental stress and engagement. These findings show that to intervene effectively with low-income Hispanic families, we need to strengthen and support the resources for coping with adversity.
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    Social versus non-social behavioral inhibition: Differential prediction from early childhood of long-term psychosocial outcomes
    (Wiley, 2023-06-22) Tan, Enda; Zeytinoglu, Selin; Morales, Santiago; Buzzell, George A.; Almas, Alisa N.; Degnan, Kathryn A.; Chronis-Tuscano, Andrea; Henderson, Heather; Pine, Daniel S.; Fox, Nathan A.
    Behavioral inhibition (BI) is a temperamental style characterized by cautious and fearful behaviors in novel situations. The present multi-method, longitudinal study examined whether young children's observed and parent-reported BI in social versus non-social contexts predicts different long-term psychosocial outcomes. Participants (N = 279) were drawn from a longitudinal study of socioemotional development. BI in social contexts (“social BI”) was measured via children's observed wariness toward unfamiliar adults and peers at 24 and 36 months and parents’ reports of children's social fear/shyness at 24, 36, and 48 months. BI in non-social contexts (“non-social BI”) was measured via children's observed fearful responses to masks and novel toys, and parents’ reports of children's distress to non-social novelty at 9 months and non-social fear at 48 months. At 15 years, anxiety was assessed via adolescent- and parent-reports, and global internalizing and externalizing problems were assessed via parent-reports. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that a two-factor model fit the BI data significantly better than a single-factor model, providing evidence for the dissociation of BI in social versus non-social contexts. Social BI was uniquely associated with adolescent social anxiety, whereas non-social BI was specifically associated with adolescent separation anxiety. Neither social BI nor non-social BI predicted global internalizing and externalizing problems, providing evidence for the specific relations between BI and anxiety problems. Together, these results suggest that young children's inhibited responses in social versus non-social situations predict different subtypes of anxiety problems in adolescence, highlighting the multifaceted nature of BI and the divergent trajectories of different anxiety problems.
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    “Acquired” Equals Addition? Associating Verbs with Arithmetic Operations Impacts Word Problem Performance
    (Wiley, 2023-03-29) Jaffe, Joshua Benjamin; Gharibani, Troy; Bolger, Donald Joseph
    Successful word problem performance often requires understanding the linguistic relations between characters and objects. However, the keyword method promotes associating specific words with mathematical operations while neglecting the situational context. Research has thoroughly investigated the detrimental effects of individuals associating relational terminology (e.g., “more”) with mathematical operations (e.g., “addition”). The current study expands upon this line of research by examining whether undergraduate students associate verbs with mathematical operations and if verbal associations affect word problem performance. Similar to relational terminology, the participants associated verbs with operations, which significantly impacted performance. The educational implications are discussed.
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    Socioeconomic Status and Reading Development: Moving from “Deficit” to “Adaptation” in Neurobiological Models of Experience-Dependent Learning
    (Wiley, 2023-03-15) Taylor, Ellie K.; Abdurokhmonova, Gavkhar; Romeo, Rachel R.
    Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is one of the strongest predictors of student reading outcomes, and these disparities have persisted for decades. Relatedly, two underlying skills that are required for successful reading—oral language and executive function (EF)—are also the two neurocognitive domains most affected by SES. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on how SES influences the neurobiology of language, EF, and their intersection, including the proximal factors that drive these relationships. We then consider the burgeoning evidence that SES systematically moderates certain brain–behavior relationships for language and EF, underscoring the importance of considering context in investigations of the neurobiological underpinnings of reading development. Finally, we discuss how disparities in reading may be conceptualized as neurobiological adaptations to adversity rather than deficit models. We conclude that by harnessing children's stress-adapted relative strengths to support reading development, we may address opportunity gaps both ethically and efficaciously.