Developmental Psychology

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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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Babies' first motor skills – how early they learn to reach for things and explore them – are related to their later abilities, both motor skills (such as crawling and walking) and skills in other domains, such as their vocabulary.

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The British Journal of Developmental Psychology (BJDP) have published a Special Issue on Action Mirroring that is free to access online.

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Governments on both sides of the Atlantic have made training in 'grit' a priority in schools.

Some psychologists suspect the hype around it is getting out of hand.

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A US academic who spent 16 months embedded in three American psychology baby labs reports that he observed numerous examples of researchers cutting corners and bending the rules of science.

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The British Psychological Society welcomes Children’s Mental Health Week (8 to 15 February) and the opportunities it provides to highlight the importance of prevention of and early intervention with children experiencing psychological difficulties.

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There's a simple and fun way to test a toddler's self-awareness. You make a red mark (or place a red sticker) on their forehead discreetly, and then you see what happens when they look in a mirror.

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