Developmental Psychology

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Babies who are only four months old have a sense of humour, suggests research that was to have been presented to our Developmental Psychology Section's annual conference today.
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Engaging in fantasy play could benefit creative thinking in children suggests a study presented today at the British Psychological Society's Developmental Psychology Section annual conference.

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Children understand the risks of approaching an angry dog but they are unaware that they should show the same caution around frightened dogs says a study presented to the British Psychological Society's Developmental Psychology Section's annual conference today.

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Can we form memories when we are very young? Humans and non-humans alike show an “infantile amnesic period” – we have no memory of anything that happens during this time (usually up to age three or four in humans) which might suggest we can’t form very early memories.

But of course it might be that we can form memories in these early years, it’s just that they are later forgotten. 

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Gossiping is a serious business because it helps us keep track of who to trust and who to avoid.

To count as proper gossip, you have to give someone else new information about a third-party. That’s effectively what’s happening when a friend begins a sentence: “You wouldn’t believe what [insert name] did the other day …” – their anecdote is giving you precious information about the reputations of the people involved. J

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The evolution of children’s rights and the landscape of the child in 20th-century Britain are among the subjects to be discussed at the latest of our popular Stories of Psychology events.

‘With Childhood in Mind’ will take place in London on Thursday 6 October 2016.

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Today is the last chance to take advantage of a discounted rate for our 2016 Developmental Psychology Section annual conference in Belfast (14 to 16 September).

The conference has a high quality programme including lectures from distinguished keynote speakers, oral presentations, symposia, workshops and interactive poster presentations. There are also plenty of opportunities to socialise and enjoy meeting new contacts including a visit to Titanic Belfast for the conference dinner.

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In the 1950s, the American psychologist Harry Harlow famously showed that rhesus monkeys would rather cling to a surrogate wire mother covered in cosy cloth, than to one that provided milk. A loving touch is more important even than food, the findings seemed to show.

Around the same time, the British psychoanalyst John Bowlby documented how human children deprived of motherly contact often go on to develop psychological problems.

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Scientists are still struggling to understand the causes of autism. A difficulty bonding with others represents one of the core symptoms and has been the focus of several theories that try and explain exactly why these deficits come about.

One of the more prominent examples, the “broken mirror hypothesis”, suggests that an impaired development of the mirror neuron system is to blame.

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The key things that 21st century parents need to know about babies’ brain development will be the subject of a free public lecture in Belfast on 13 September by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk.

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Words for colour affect how we see the world. An English-speaking child sees red, orange and pink where a child of the Himba tribe only sees ‘serandu’.

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Pregnant women and new mothers need more expert psychological support across maternity services and mental health settings such as community perinatal teams and inpatient mother and baby units, says a new briefing from the British Psychological Society’s Faculty of Perinatal Psychology.

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Do boys prefer playing with trucks and balls, while girls prefer dolls, because they are socialised from an early age to play this way, or do their play habits reflect innate differences in interests between the sexes? 

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Discussions of visual art as a method to advance observation, critical thinking and communication skills.

Timetable

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Pick up any introductory psychology textbook and under the "developmental" chapter you're bound to find a description of "groundbreaking" research into newborn babies' imitation skills.

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Between 1971 and 2014, the American Freshman Project has asked first-year students, most of them aged 18, about their reasons for going to university.

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There are many reasons for the paucity of women in science and technology careers, but arguably one early contributing factor is the relatively weaker performance of girls in maths at school, compared with boys.

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Many working parents experience guilt about sending their young children off to day nursery, especially in light of research published in the 2000s that suggested that too much early childcare is associated with later behavioural problems.

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To prepare our children to meet the goals of a complex world, we should pull them out of their managed world and plop them in the mermaid’s court.

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Children who develop good sleep habits by age five do better at school according to a study published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology.

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Some pieces of music you can’t escape knowing, and for children in 1960s Britain, God Save the Queen would qualify, according to research published back then.

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New research has shown an alarming rise in the use of anti-depressant drugs among children says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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Teenagers who interact positively with their family, school and friends are far less likely to smoke, binge drink and use cannabis than peers who fail to identify with these social groups, according to research published this week in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.

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Abstract expressionist art in the style of, say, Hans Hofmann or Jackson Pollock, often looks as though it has been thrown at random upon the canvas.

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