• Constructs of childhood, generation and heroism in editorials on young people's climate change activism: Their mobilisation and effects

      Raby, Rebecca; Sheppard, Lindsay C. (Wiley, 2021)
      We analyse the effects of constructions and mobilisations of childhood, generation and girl heroism in 30 Canadian editorials written in response to 2019 climate change protests. We discuss how the editorials strategically position—and sometimes dismiss—young activists through discourses of childhood innocence, becoming and social participation. Second, we focus on how the editorials mobilise generation to emphasise either generational division or cross‐generational solidarity. Finally, we problematise the editorials' concentration on individualised girl heroism. We thus contextualise and deconstruct truth statements around age, generation and heroism, emphasising instead their effects and the potential for certain narratives to better recognise the diversity and solidarity in climate change activism.
    • Developing an understanding of others’ emotional states: Relations among affective theory of mind and empathy measures in early childhood

      Gallant, Caitlyn M. M.; Lavis, Lydia; Mahy, Caitlin (Wiley, 2020)
      Theory of mind (ToM) consists of cognitive and affective components; however, few studies have evaluated the coherence of affective ToM measures and their associations with empathy. This research examined the relations among affective ToM tasks and assessments of empathy, measured directly and via parent reports in 4‐ to 6‐year‐olds. Children (N = 117) completed: an Appearance‐Reality Emotion Task, an adapted Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, an Affective Stories Task, and an empathy task. Parents reported on children’s ToM and empathy, and language was assessed using a Picture Vocabulary Test. Controlling for language, no relationships were found among affective ToM measures and children’s age was only related to the Affective Stories Task. Further, controlling for age, only parent‐reported empathy was associated with the Appearance‐Reality Emotion Task. Once vocabulary and age were controlled, measures of affective ToM are unrelated and different developmental patterns emerged across measures. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject Affective theory of mind is a distinct subcomponent of theory of mind that corresponds to an independent developmental mechanism. However, little research has been conducted on affective ToM, its developmental trajectory during the preschool years, its assessment, and its relationship with related constructs, such as empathy. What the present study adds Children’s performance on affective ToM tasks was unrelated once age and language abilities were accounted for. Thus, there is a need to examine affective ToM and its measurement more extensively to ensure we are effectively capturing this construct. This study was the first to establish a Preschool Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task that uses images of children and pictorial response options and an Affective Stories Task that captures age‐related changes in affective ToM beyond language skills.
    • The development of prospective memory in children: An executive framework

      Mahy, Caitlin; Moses, Louis; Kliegel, Matthias (Elsevier, 2014)
      Existing literature on children's prospective memory has been reviewed. An executive framework for studies on prospective memory development has been suggested. This study proposes a developmental model of prospective memory. Prospective memory (PM), the ability to remember to carry out one's intentions in the future, is critical for children's daily functioning and their ability to become independent from caregivers. This review assesses the current state of research on children's prospective memory. Using an executive functioning framework the literature can be organized into studies examining four factors that influence PM. We discuss studies that have manipulated the nature of the intention, the content or length of the retention interval, the nature of the ongoing task, and the nature of the PM cue. Further, we propose a model that attempts to account for the development of PM across childhood based on advances in executive control. Finally, we suggest promising future directions for research.
    • The development of prospective memory in young schoolchildren: The impact of ongoing task absorption, cue salience, and cue centrality

      Kliegel, Matthias; Mahy, Caitlin E.V.; Voigt, Babett; Henry, Julie D.; Rendell, Peter G.; Aberle, Ingo (Elsevier, 2013)
      •9- and 10-year-olds outperformed 6- to 7-year-olds in event-based prospective memory. •Varying cue centrality, age effects only emerged with cues outside the center of attention. •Findings suggest developing executive control as cognitive mechanism. •Alternative conceptual explications are deeper encoding or changes in meta-memory. This study presents evidence that 9- and 10-year-old children outperform 6- and 7-year-old children on a measure of event-based prospective memory and that retrieval-based factors systematically influence performance and age differences. All experiments revealed significant age effects in prospective memory even after controlling for ongoing task performance. In addition, the provision of a less absorbing ongoing task (Experiment 1), higher cue salience (Experiment 2), and cues appearing in the center of attention (Experiment 3) were each associated with better performance. Of particular developmental importance was an age by cue centrality (in or outside of the center of attention) interaction that emerged in Experiment 3. Thus, age effects were restricted to prospective memory cues appearing outside of the center of attention, suggesting that the development of prospective memory across early school years may be modulated by whether a cue requires overt monitoring beyond the immediate attentional context. Because whether a cue is in or outside of the center of attention might determine the amount of executive control needed in a prospective memory task, findings suggest that developing executive control resources may drive prospective memory development across primary school age.
    • Do verbal reminders improve preschoolers’ prospective memory performance? It depends on age and individual differences

      Mahy, Caitlin; Mazachowsky, Tessa R.; Pagobo, Jacqueline R. (Elsevier, 2018)
      We examined the effect of verbal reminders on 4- to 6-year-olds’ prospective memory (PM). Reminder type interacted with age to affect PM performance. Children with better retrospective memory had better PM in the retrospective reminder condition. Children with better executive control had better PM in the executive reminder condition. Prospective memory (PM) involves both a retrospective memory component (i.e., remembering the content of a future intention) and a prospective component (i.e., detecting the appropriate cue and carrying out that intention). The current study was the first to test the effect of a single verbal reminder on 4- to 6-year-olds’ PM performance. Children were randomly assigned to: (1) a reminder about the content of an intention (retrospective memory reminder), (2) a reminder to pay attention (executive reminder), or (3) no reminder to test the predictions of the Executive Framework of PM Development (Mahy et al., 2014b) that posit a key role for executive function in PM development once retrospective memory reaches a sufficient level. Children also completed independent measures of retrospective memory and executive control. We predicted that an executive reminder should help children’s PM by increasing cue detection, whereas a retrospective memory reminder should not affect PM because by 4 children should be able to encode and store simple future intentions. Results showed that: (1) PM performance improved with age, (2) age interacted with the reminder condition, and (3) children with better executive functioning had better PM after receiving an executive reminder. These results suggest that age and individual differences play an important role in the impact reminders have on children’s PM performance.
    • Dynamic functional brain network connectivity during pseudoword processing relates to children’s reading skill

      Panda, Erin J.; Kember, Jonah; Emami, Zahra; Nayman, Candace; Valiante, Taufik A.; Pang, Elizabeth W. (Elsevier, 2022)
      Learning to read requires children to link print (orthography) with its corresponding speech sounds (phonology). Yet, most EEG studies of reading development focus on emerging functional specialization (e.g., developing increasingly refined orthographic representations), rather than directly measuring the functional connectivity that links orthography and phonology in real time. In this proof-of-concept study we relate children's reading skill to both orthographic specialization for print (via the N170, also called the N1, event related potential, ERP) and orthographic-phonological integration (via dynamic/event-related EEG phase synchronization – an index of functional brain network connectivity). Typically developing English speaking children (n = 24; 4–14 years) and control adults (n = 20; 18–35 years) viewed pseudowords, consonants and unfamiliar false fonts during a 1-back memory task while 64-channel EEG was recorded. Orthographic specialization (larger N170 for pseudowords vs. false fonts) became more left-lateralized with age, but not with reading skill. Conversely, children's reading skill correlated with functional brain network connectivity during pseudoword processing that requires orthography-phonology linking. This was seen during two periods of simultaneous low frequency synchronization/high frequency desynchronization of posterior-occipital brain network activity. Specifically, in stronger readers, left posterior-occipital activity showed more delta (1–3Hz) synchronization around 300–500 ms (simultaneous with gamma 30–80 Hz desynchronization) and more gamma desynchronization around 600–1000 ms (simultaneous with theta 3–7Hz synchronization) during pseudoword vs. false font processing. These effects were significant even when controlling for age (moderate – large effect sizes). Dynamic functional brain network connectivity measures the brain's real-time sound-print linking. It may offer an under-explored, yet sensitive, index of the neural plasticity associated with reading development. Reading requires us to link visual print with speech sound processing. Yet, most EEG reading research explores functional specialization not integration. While children's age relates to ERPs (N170) associated with print specialization. Children's reading skill relates to real-time functional brain network connectivity. EEG phase synchrony = sensitive index of functional integration during reading.
    • Early teen-work assemblages and embedded dependence

      Raby, Rebecca; Lehmann, Wolfgang (Brill, 2021)
      This chapter aims to trouble the common linkage often made between work, independence and adulthood by emphasizing how young workers are embedded in human and non-human collectivities of interwoven dependences. We focus on two 16-year-old participants from conventional interview and photo elicitation interview data with 32 Canadian young people discussing their first part-time jobs, to we recognize how our participants, and indeed all of us, are embedded ‘in the midst of an open-ended swirl of extensions and supplementations’ (Lee 2001, 115). These entangled dependences can activate privilege; they also bolster the illusion of individual independence and autonomy. The intent of this chapter is to work with ideas from Actor Network Theorist Nick Lee and from Deleuze and Guattari to reveal this illusion, for we are all enmeshed in dependency. We particularly focus on four components of teen-work assemblages: family; time, space and bodies; tools/machinery, practices and roles; and capitals/money.
    • The effect of episodic future simulation and motivation on young children’s induced-state episodic foresight

      Mahy, Caitlin; Masson, Chelsey; Krause, Amanda M.; Mazachowsky, Tessa (Elsevier, 2020)
      Examined the impact of episodic simulation and motivation on children’s episodic foresight. Thirst was induced and children were asked to make future choices. 3- to 5-year-olds completed the pretzel task under 4 different experimental conditions. Children’s future predictions were most accurate in the motivation condition. A novel and motivating food item, a cupcake, helped children overcome their current state of thirst. Future simulation and motivation are two strategies that might help children improve their induced-state episodic foresight. In Study 1, 3- to 5-year-old children (N = 96) consumed pretzels (to induce thirst) and were asked what they would prefer the next day, pretzels or water. Children were randomly assigned to an experimental condition: (1) a standard thirsty condition, (2) an episodic simulation condition where they imagined being hungry the next day, (3) a motivation condition where children chose between a cupcake and water, or (4) a control condition (thirst was not induced). Future preferences did not differ by age and children were less likely to choose water (vs. a cupcake) in the motivation condition compared to the standard thirsty condition. Study 2 found that 3- to 5-year-old children (N = 22) were also less likely to choose water for right now versus a cupcake when thirst was induced.
    • The effect of psychological distance on young children's future predictions

      Mazachowsky, Tessa R.; Koktavy, Christine; Mahy, Caitlin (John Wiley and Sons, 2019)
      The current study examined the impact of psychological distance on children's performance on the pretzel task. In this task, children eat pretzels (inducing thirst) and then are asked to reason about future preferences (pretzels or water). Children typically perform poorly on this task, indicating a future preference for water over pretzels, potentially due to conflicting current and future states. Given past work showing that children's future reasoning is more accurate for another person, we asked 90 thirsty 3‐ to 7‐year‐olds to reason about their own and an experimenter's future preference. Results showed that thirsty children had more difficulty predicting their own future preference compared with the experimenter's. Thirstier children were more likely to predict a future preference for water. Thirst interacted with age when making a future choice for the experimenter. How psychological distance might boost episodic foresight and possible reasons for children's poor pretzel task performance are discussed. Does psychological distancing improve children's ability to make accurate future predictions when current and future states conflict? Using the Pretzel task, thirsty children were less accurate when predicting their own future preferences compared with the future preferences of another person. Psychological distancing may help children overcome their current state to reason more accurately about the future.
    • Emerging themes in the development of prospective memory during childhood

      Mahy, Caitlin; Kliegel, Matthias; Marcovitch, Stuart (Elsevier, 2014)
      Six years ago, Kvavilashvili, Kyle, and Messer (2008) called for more research in the area of chil dren’s prospective memory (PM), defined as the ability to remember to carry out delayed intentions (Einstein & McDaniel, 1990). At that time, the literature on PM in children was scant, although a few well-developed paradigms were available to measure PM in preschool-age children (Kvavilashvili, Messer, & Ebdon, 2001) and older children during middle childhood (Kerns, 2000). Although there is still much work to be done, the last few years have seen a steep rise in the number of studies on the topic of PM during childhood examining children as young as 2 years using a wide variety of time- and event-based PM paradigms. This recent increase in research activity in children’s PM was reflected in the high number of initial submissions for this special issue (20 manuscripts). The current special issue on the development of PM during childhood offers an overview of this burgeoning area of research, studying children from toddlerhood to adolescence, who are typically and atypically developing, using a wide variety of methods, including naturalistic tasks, experimental tasks, and parent report measures. In what follows, we first discuss the four sections of this special issue: PM research during early childhood, PM and episodic future thinking, PM in clinical populations, and PM during adolescence. We then highlight some emerging themes in this collection of articles that cut across these sections and highlight the contribution such topics will make to the field of PM.
    • Executive functioning and prospective memory in young children

      Mahy, Caitlin E.V.; Moses, Louis J. (Elsevier, 2011)
      The current study examined the role of executive functioning (EF) in children's prospective memory (PM) by assessing the effect of delay and number of intentions to-be-remembered on PM, as well as relations between PM and EF. Ninety-six 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds completed a PM task and two executive function tasks. The PM task required children to interrupt an ongoing card game to perform one action (single intention) or two actions (dual intention) with target cards after a short delay (1 min) or a long delay (5 min). There was no main effect of number of intentions or delay on the PM task. However, performance improved with age, and age and delay interacted such that 4-year-olds’ performance remained the same after a long delay whereas 5-year-olds’ performance improved after a long delay. We suggest that the age by delay interaction is a product of age differences in cognitive monitoring. Working memory but not inhibitory control predicted PM with age controlled. We argue that an executive function framework permits an integrative understanding of many processes involved in young children's prospective memory.
    • How and where: Theory-of-mind in the brain

      Mahy, Caitlin; Moses, Louis J.; Pfeifer, Jennifer H. (Elsevier, 2014)
      Neuroscience has the potential to address accounts of theory-of-mind acquisition. Review of the research on the neural basis of theory-of-mind in adults and children. Future research directions include microgenetic and training fMRI studies. Theory of mind (ToM) is a core topic in both social neuroscience and developmental psychology, yet theory and data from each field have only minimally constrained thinking in the other. The two fields might be fruitfully integrated, however, if social neuroscientists sought evidence directly relevant to current accounts of ToM development: modularity, simulation, executive, and theory theory accounts. Here we extend the distinct predictions made by each theory to the neural level, describe neuroimaging evidence that in principle would be relevant to testing each account, and discuss such evidence where it exists. We propose that it would be mutually beneficial for both fields if ToM neuroimaging studies focused more on integrating developmental accounts of ToM acquisition with neuroimaging approaches, and suggest ways this might be achieved.
    • How executive functions are associated with event-based and time based prospective memory during childhood

      Zuber, Sascha; Mahy, Caitlin; Kliegel, Matthias (Elsevier, 2018)
      Age does not explain prospective memory performance above and beyond executive resources. Updating represents a general resource deployed by different PM tasks. Inhibition is particularly required to perform focal and non-focal event-based tasks. Shifting is specifically deployed by non-focal event-based time-based PM tasks. Time-monitoring is essential to succeed at time-based prospective memory tasks. A key developmental task of childhood is to gain autonomy and independence from parents and caregivers. Critical to this individualization process is the development of prospective memory (PM), the capacity to remember to carry out future intentions. In recent studies, children's PM performance has been associated with executive functions (EF). A closer inspection of the literature, however, suggests a differential impact of the three EF (updating, inhibition, and shifting) across different PM task types. The current study examined EF and PM capacities of 212 6- to 11-year-old children, examining for the first time both focal and non-focal event-based PM tasks as well as a time-based PM task in a single sample. Results show that age-differences did not persist above and beyond age differences in children's executive resources. Specifically, updating predicted children's performance on all PM tasks, inhibition predicted performance on both event-based PM tasks, whereas shifting was specifically deployed by the non-focal event-based task. Supplementary analyses of the time-based PM task illustrate how children monitor the progression of time and how preparatory processes support PM task performance. In sum, the current study presents the first comprehensive look at the specific role of age and three core EF in school-aged children's PM performance.
    • The impact of age, ongoing task difficulty, and cue salience on preschoolers’ prospective memory performance: The role of executive function

      Mahy, Caitlin; Moses, Louis; Kliegel, Matthias (Elsevier, 2014)
      5-year-old children had better prospective memory than 4-year-olds.•Children had better prospective memory performance for salient compared to non-salient cues.•Prospective memory performance was not affected by ongoing task difficulty.•Prospective memory suffered most when cues were non-salient and the ongoing task was difficult.•Inhibition fully mediated the relation between age and prospective memory performance. The current study examined the impact of age, ongoing task (OT) difficulty, and cue salience on 4- and 5-year-old children’s prospective memory (PM) and also explored the relation between individual differences in executive function (working memory, inhibition, and shifting) and PM. OT difficulty and cue salience are predicted to affect the detection of PM cues based on the multiprocess framework, yet neither has been thoroughly investigated in young children. OT difficulty was manipulated by requiring children to sort cards according to the size of pictured items (easy) or by opposite size (difficult), and cue salience was manipulated by placing a red border around half of the target cues (salient) and no border around the other cues (non-salient). The 5-year-olds outperformed the 4-year-olds on the PM task, and salient PM cues resulted in better PM cues compared with non-salient cues. There was no main effect of OT difficulty, and the interaction between cue salience and OT difficulty was not significant. However, a planned comparison revealed that the combination of non-salient cues and a difficult OT resulted in significantly worse PM performance than that in all of the other conditions. Inhibition accounted for significant variance in PM performance for non-salient cues and for marginally significant variance for salient cues. Furthermore, individual differences in inhibition fully mediated the effect of age on PM performance. Results are discussed in the context of the multiprocess framework and with reference to preschoolers’ difficulty with the executive demands of dividing attention between the OT and PM task.
    • “I’ll be more prepared than most people”: Very young Canadian workers talking about their first jobs

      Raby, Rebecca; Lehmann, Wolfgang; Easterbrook, Riley; Helleiner, Jane (Sage Publications, 2018)
      We report on interviews with very young Canadian workers regarding their first jobs, with a focus on why they started working, the rewards and risks of their work, and their familial supports. Our participants were largely positive about their early work experiences, although they also raised concerns, e.g. about safety. We reflect on three inter-related themes emerging from their accounts: competence and vulnerability, independence and dependence, and protection and under-protection.
    • “I’ll remember everything no matter what!”: The role of metacognitive abilities in the development of young children’s prospective memory

      Lavis, Lydia; Mahy, Caitlin (Elsevier, 2021)
      Young children made prospective and retrospective memory predictions and postdictions. Children’s prospective memory postdictions were influenced by task difficulty. Children’s metacognitive monitoring was related to prospective memory predictions. With age, children’s metamemory judgements became more accurate. Overall, 4- to 6-year-olds are optimistic in their memory predictions and postdictions. Prospective memory (PM), the ability to remember to carry out future intentions, is a critical skill for children’s daily activities. Despite this, little is known about young children’s awareness of their PM ability (metamemory), how metamemory is affected by PM task difficulty, and how metacognitive abilities might be related to metamemory. The current study examined the effect of task difficulty on children’s PM predictions, actual performance, and postdictions and relations among episodic memory metamemory, metacognitive control, and executive functioning. Children aged 4 to 6 years (N = 131) made PM predictions, completed an easy or difficult PM task, and then made PM postdictions. Children also made predictions and postdictions for their performance on an episodic recall task and then completed an independent measure of metacognitive control and two measures of executive function (working memory and inhibition). Results showed that (a) children’s PM increased with age and was worse in the difficult PM task condition, (b) PM predictions and postdictions did not increase with age and only PM postdictions were affected by PM task difficulty; (c) children’s PM and episodic recall predictions and postdictions were more accurate with age, (d) children’s PM postdictions best predicted PM performance, whereas predictions best predicted episodic recall task performance, and (e) children with better metacognitive control had better PM and more accurate PM predictions. These results are discussed in terms of young children’s optimism surrounding their memory performance and the emergence of early metacognitive abilities.
    • Navigating babysitting as liminal, gendered, and undervalued work

      Easterbrook, Riley; Raby, Rebecca; Lehmann, Wolfgang (Sage Journals, 2020-09-14)
      Babysitting is a common early-work experience in the West, yet there is little research on babysitters. From in-depth, qualitative interviews with 16 babysitters, we explore three themes related to liminality and gender inequality in babysitting. First, babysitting is a skilled job; many babysitters undertook formal and informal training and used it at work. Second, babysitters occupy a liminal position between childhood and adulthood, bringing challenges and opportunities at work. Finally, babysitters thoughtfully negotiate pay, but sometimes experience challenges doing so.
    • The role of subvocal rehearsal in preschool children’s prospective memory

      Mahy, Caitlin; Mohun, Hannah; Muller, Ulrich; Moses, Louis (Elsevier, 2016)
      4-year-olds had worse PM than 5-year-olds.•Children in the verbal interference condition had worse PM compared to children in the standard condition.•PM performance was correlated with verbal working memory and receptive vocabulary in the verbal interference condition only.•Children with better verbal ability were better able to cope with verbal interference to the benefit of their PM performance. The current study examined the impact of a verbal interference manipulation on 4- and 5- year olds’ prospective memory (PM). Children were randomly assigned to either complete a quiet delay activity (standard condition) or answer questions aloud during the delay activity (verbal interference condition). Children then completed a PM task followed by several individual differences measures (verbal working memory, inhibitory control, and receptive vocabulary). Four-year-olds showed worse PM than 5-year-olds, children in the verbal interference condition showed worse PM compared to the standard condition, and there was a marginal interaction between age and condition driven by poor performance of 4-year-olds in the verbal interference condition. PM performance was positively correlated with verbal working memory and receptive vocabulary (but not inhibitory control) in the verbal interference condition only suggesting that children with better verbal abilities were more able to cope with verbal interference to the benefit of their PM.
    • The roles of perspective and language in children’s ability to delay gratification

      Mahy, Caitlin; Moses, Louis; O'Brien, Bronwyn; Castro, Alex W.; Kopp, Leia; Atance, Christina (Elsevier, 2020)
      We manipulated psychological distance in a delay of gratification paradigm. Younger children showed an other-over-self advantage but older children did not. Using “want” vs. “should” did not impact children’s delay of gratification. Increasing psychological distance is an established method for improving children’s performance in a number of self-regulation tasks. For example, using a delay of gratification (DoG) task, Prencipe and Zelazo (Psychological Science, 2005, Vol. 16, pp. 501–505) showed that 3-year-olds delay more for “other” than they do for “self,” whereas 4-year-olds make similar choices for self and other. However, to our knowledge, no work has manipulated language to increase psychological distance in children. In two experiments, we sought to manipulate psychological distance by replicating Prencipe and Zelazo’s age-related findings and extending them to older children (Experiment 1) and also sought to manipulate psychological distance using the auxiliary verbs “want” and “should” to prime more impulsive preference-based decisions or more normative optimal decisions (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, 96 3- to 7-year-olds showed age-related improvements and interactive effects between age and perspective on DoG performance. In Experiment 2, 132 3- to 7-year-olds showed age-related improvements and a marginal interaction between age and perspective on DoG performance, but no effect of auxiliary verbs was detected. Results are discussed in terms of differing developmental trajectories of DoG for self and other due to psychological distancing, and how taking another’s perspective may boost DoG in younger children but not older children.
    • Roots, Rights and Risk: Canada, Childhood and the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

      Ciotti, Sarah; Moore, Shannon A.; Connolly, Maureen; Newmeyer, Trent (2021)
      The COVID-19 global pandemic highlights pre-existing inequities as well as the challenge of ensuring the protection of children’s human rights in countries like Canada that have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. SARS-CoV-2, referred to as the 2019 novel Coronavirus disease or COVID-19, presents a significant threat to public health. Although children are considered to be low risk of contracting, spreading, and serious complications of the disease, are considerably impacted by COVID-19 government-sanctioned distancing measures. COVID-19 is a persistent public health threat, thus, the long-term consequences are largely unknown. This qualitative research study, a content analysis of online Canadian media reports of COVID-19 and children, engaged transdisciplinary social justice methodology, social constructions of childhood at the intersection of race, socio-economic status, gender, and disability. The findings suggest COVID-19 reinforces the impact of social exclusion and economic disparity on equity-seeking young people and families in Canada.