A social-cognitive model of monitoring and its relationship to behaviour in a naturalistic observation : development and individual differences
Murphy, Wendy E.
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years 8 months) and 24 older (M == 7 years 4 months) children. A Monitoring Process Model (MPM) was developed and tested in order to ascertain at which component process ofthe MPM age differences would emerge. The MPM had four components: (1) assessment; (2) evaluation; (3) planning; and (4) behavioural control. The MPM was assessed directly using a referential communication task in which the children were asked to make a series of five Lego buildings (a baseline condition and one building for each MPM component). Children listened to instructions from one experimenter while a second experimenter in the room (a confederate) intetjected varying levels ofverbal feedback in order to assist the children and control the component ofthe MPM. This design allowed us to determine at which "stage" ofprocessing children would most likely have difficulty monitoring themselves in this social-cognitive task. Developmental differences were obselVed for the evaluation, planning and behavioural control components suggesting that older children were able to be more successful with the more explicit metacomponents. Interestingly, however, there was no age difference in terms ofLego task success in the baseline condition suggesting that without the intelVention ofthe confederate younger children monitored the task about as well as older children. This pattern ofresults indicates that the younger children were disrupted by the feedback rather than helped. On the other hand, the older children were able to incorporate the feedback offered by the confederate into a plan ofaction. Another aim ofthis study was to assess similar processing components to those investigated by the MPM Lego task in a more naturalistic observation. Together the use ofthe Lego Task ( a social cognitive task) and the naturalistic social interaction allowed for the appraisal of cross-domain continuities and discontinuities in monitoring behaviours. In this vein, analyses were undertaken in order to ascertain whether or not successful performance in the MPM Lego Task would predict cross-domain competence in the more naturalistic social interchange. Indeed, success in the two latter components ofthe MPM (planning and behavioural control) was related to overall competence in the naturalistic task. However, this cross-domain prediction was not evident for all levels ofthe naturalistic interchange suggesting that the nature ofthe feedback a child receives is an important determinant ofresponse competency. Individual difference measures reflecting the children's general cognitive capacity (Working Memory and Digit Span) and verbal ability (vocabulary) were also taken in an effort to account for more variance in the prediction oftask success. However, these individual difference measures did not serve to enhance the prediction oftask performance in either the Lego Task or the naturalistic task. Similarly, parental responses to questionnaires pertaining to their child's temperament and social experience also failed to increase prediction oftask performance. On-line measures ofthe children's engagement, positive affect and anxiety also failed to predict competence ratings.