Friday, April 15, 2016

Center on the Developing Adolescent: Tuesday, April 15-Cheryl Sisk

Adolescent Maturation of Social Behaviors:  Multi-tasking by Testosterone

Adolescent development includes maturation of social cognition, which involves the perception of social cues and selection of a context-appropriate behavioral response. Social reward and the incentive salience of social cues are necessarily revised during adolescence as the social hub switches from family to peers.  Social proficiency is acquired via behavioral adaptations to social experience.  Using male Syrian hamsters to study underlying neuroendocrine mechanisms, we found that adult, but not juvenile, males form a conditioned place preference (CPP) to female chemosensory stimuli, indicating that this social cue is not rewarding prior to puberty.  Testosterone-treated juvenile males do form a CPP to female odors, and this CPP is prevented by the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol.  We next identified an example of social proficiency in adult hamsters, i.e., a decrease in misdirected mounts with repeated sexual experience.  Male hamsters deprived of testosterone during adolescence do not show this behavioral adaptation, even after testosterone replacement in adulthood.  Over-expression of the transcription factor FosB into the ventral prefrontal cortex of these males restores the ability to reduce misdirected mounts with sexual experience.  Our studies thus show that 1) the perception of female odors as rewarding is activated during puberty by testosterone via a dopamine receptor-dependent mechanism, and 2) the ability to acquire social proficiency is organized by pubertal testosterone, likely involving structural reorganization of the prefrontal cortex.

This talk will be held on Tuesday, April 19 in 3105 Tolman, 2:00-3:30pm/

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Center on the Developing Adolescent: Tuesday, March 15-Gamification Panel

The next event for the Center on the Developing Adolescent will be a Gamification Panel with Melina Uncampher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Stanford University, Elizabeth Ozer is a Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF, Sandi McCoy is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Raluca Buzdugan is a Research Scientist in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.   A description of Gamification and the participants' bios are described below.  

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, March 15 from 2:00-3:30pm in 3105 Tolman. 

Gamification Panel Description
Gamification, the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, maximizes adolescents’ desire for arousing experiences in social contexts. Gamification creatively modifies positive attitudes towards activities that individuals are unmotivated to undertake by embedding them in game-like environments.  Many components of gamification draw upon developmentally informed behavior change strategies. Specifically, gamified interventions leverage adolescents’ sensitivity to social context by involving collaboration and/or competition among players and their enhanced reward processing by awarding points, prizes or other rewards for targeted outcomes. Games also provide a virtual context for novel learning so adolescents have the opportunity to test out some decision making trajectories and learn from experiencing positive or negative outcomes. Drawing on self-determination theory, external rewards used in gamification (i.e., points, badges, leaderboard position) become internalized and motivate people by leveraging their basic needs for autonomy, cooperation, competition. Gamification has been used to address a range of adolescent health topics including sexual health, classroom behavior, substance use and violence prevention, and depression. In partnership with an exciting team of panelists, Ron Dahl will discuss the unique opportunities for applying gamification principles in interventions and programs for adolescents.

Raluca Buzdugan is a Research Scientist in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She as a growing interest in applications of innovative behavior change strategies –such as gamification– to health interventions, with a focus on HIV prevention and reproductive and maternal health.  She is currently applying gamification principles in low-resource settings, including Mexico and Zimbabwe.

Sandi McCoy is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her research focuses on HIV and STIs with a specific emphasis on food insecurity, health disparities, economic empowerment and impact evaluation. She has become interest in how gamification principles can be integrated into interventions.

Elizabeth Ozer is a Professor of Pediatrics, the Co-Director of the Fellows Research Training in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, and the Director of Research & Evaluation for the Office of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF. She is interested in using interactive technology and gamification in preventive interventions to promote competence and healthy behavior in adolescents.

Melina Uncampher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Stanford University. She investigates whether technology and media are associated with cognitive and neural differences and using fMRI and behavioral assessment of media use and cognitive functioning.

IHD/Developmental Seminar: March 14, Alison Miller Singley

Mathematical Reasoning from an Eye-Tracker’s Perspective
Relational reasoning supports learning in many domains of knowledge, as integrating sets of relations allows one to make new inferences and understand broader conceptual systems. In the domain of fractions, the traditional notation is inherently relational, and comparing fractions is especially so, requiring the evaluation of relations both within and between fractions. The first study explored whether and how relational reasoning is associated with performance on a fraction comparison task in a group of children just learning fractions. A second study delved deeper into adults’ mathematical problem-solving approaches, as revealed by gaze patterns. Findings support existing theories that both relational reasoning and domain-specific knowledge are critical to mathematical reasoning.

This talk will be held on Monday, March 14 in 3105 Tolman, 12:00-1:30.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Developmental/IHD Seminar: March 7, Adrienne Wente

Desire as a constraint on young children’s reasoning

This talk will explore how desires constrain young children’s reasoning.  Three studies will be discussed. The first explores overoptimism in children, the second explores the relationship between children’s beliefs about free will and self-control, and the thirdlooks at how culture influences children’s concept of choice.  Taken together, these studies suggest that desires initially constrain young children’s reasoning, and this constraint is counteracted through culturally variable experience.

This talk will be held in  3105 Tolman, 12:00-1:30pm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Center on the Developing Adolescent Spring 2016 Speaker Series

All talks are held in 3105 Tolman, 2:00-3:30.

February 16     David Kirp, UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy Cancelled

March 1       Thao Ha, Arizona State University Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research

March 15     Gamification Panel: Raluca Buzdugan (UC Berkeley School of Public Health), Sandi McCoy (UC Berkeley School of Public Health), Elizabeth Ozer (UCSF Pediatrics and Division of Adolescent Medicine), Melina Uncampher (UCSF Sandler Neuroscience Center)

April 19    Cheryl Sisk, Michigan State University Behavioral Neuroscience Program

April 26     Chris Monk, University of Michigan Translational & Developmental Neuroscience

May 3     Jennifer Skeem, UC Berkeley School of Social Work and Goldman School of Public Policy  Cancelled

Monday, January 25, 2016

Developmental Psychology & IHD Seminar Series, Spring 2016

All talks are held in 3105 Tolman, 12:00-1:30pm


2/1       Prof. Stella Christie, Dept. of Psychology, Swarthmore College
Title: Learning by Alignment
Abstract: Comparison is ubiquitous, but to learn something useful from a comparison you have to align. In this talk I discuss the process of alignment and its results for learning. First, I show that alignment produces learning of new relational concepts whereas simply seeing two exemplars does not. Second, young children take alignment into account when learning from others—they prefer to learn from people who use informative alignment. Third, alignment plays a role in social cognition—young learners engage in an alignment process to decide whom they want to socially imitate.

(2/8)    TBD

2/15 – President’s day holiday

2/22    Ariel Starr (Postdoctoral fellow, UCB)
Title: From Magnitudes to Math: Developmental Precursors of Quantitative Reasoning 
Abstract: The uniquely human mathematical mind sets us apart from all other animals. How does this powerful capacity emerge over development? Although humans typically think about number symbolically, we also possess nonverbal representations of quantity that are present at birth and shared with many other animal species. These primitive numerical representations are thought to arise from an evolutionarily ancient system termed the Approximate Number System (ANS). My research aims to determine how these preverbal representations of quantity may serve as the foundation for more complex quantitative reasoning abilities through two primary lines of research: 1) How do representations of number relate to representations of other quantities in infancy and early childhood? 2) How do these representations support the acquisition of symbolic math skills? Taken together, this research suggests that number is a salient feature of the environment throughout early childhood and demonstrates that approximate number representations can be used as building blocks for the acquisition of symbolic math skills.

2/29    Daniel Dukes (Visiting graduate student, University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Title: Affective Social Learning and the Role of Interest
Abstract: Newcomers to any culture have not only to learn about the nature of the different components of their environment (semantic knowledge) and about how to use those components  (procedural knowledge), they also have to understand how the members of their new cultural group value those objects (Clément & Dukes, 2013). This, we argue, is accomplished through Affective Social Learning (ASL) - an umbrella term coined to organize concepts such as social referencing and social appraisal, which highlight the use of other people's affective expressions to learn about the environment, in terms of the necessary ostensive input of the 'teacher' (Clément & Dukes, under review).  
In this presentation, this term will be introduced and the (understudied) emotion of interest will be investigated as a candidate for being the 'oil in the ASL machine'. For example, in one study, while 12 month olds choose an object significantly more often than chance that had previously been looked at with interest by a third-party, 15 month olds chose the other object significantly more often than chance which had been previously looked at with disinterest. These findings, and others, will be discussed within the context of ASL, as I reach the final months before my doctoral thesis deadline.

3/7       Adrienne Wente (student presentation)

3/14    Alison Miller Singly (student presentation)

3/21 – Spring break holiday

3/28    Shaun O’Grady &  Ruthe Foushee  (First or Second-year presentations)

4/4       Katie Kimura & Mariel Goddu (First or Second-year presentations)

4/11) TBD

4/18  Frances Nkara & Sophia Sanborn (First or Second-year presentations)

4/25  Exit talk (Zi Lin Sim)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Institute of Human Development & Developmental Seminar Series Fall 2015

Talks are held in 3105 Tolman, 12:00-1:30 unless otherwise noted.

Sept. 14  Hyo Gweon, Assistant Professor of Psychology
To give a fish, or teach how to fish? Children's ability to decide what, how, and when to teach others
Humans are remarkable social learners. What we know about the world is heavily mediated by what others know about the world, and in turn, we affect what others know by sharing our own knowledge. Furthermore, as teachers, we have an intuitive grasp of how to help others learn about the world, selecting information that is relevant and helpful for others. What cognitive capacities underlie this ability to teach? Inspired by recent developmental work on children’s abilities as active interpreters of socially transmitted information, I will present a series of recent experiments that highlight children's abilities as active providers of information. These studies suggest that young children can tailor their teaching with respect to the learners’ goals, epistemic states, and expected utility. Even early in life, children can use their understanding of others to not only learn about the world around them, but also to help others learn about the world. These communicative interactions between a provider and a recipient of information provide deeply interesting opportunities to study the inferential processes and the representations that underlie our ability to acquire, share, and accumulate knowledge. 

Oct. 5  Katherine Graf Estes, Assistant Professor of Psychology
           UC Davis
Naturalistic challenges in statistical language learning

Oct. 19- Zi Lin Sim, Graduate Student
             UC Berkeley
Probabilistic Reasoning in ASD Children
Abstract:  Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often show difficulties in learning and generalization. Yet the capacity to make inductive generalizations is a hallmark of human learning. Previous research has demonstrated that typical children make such generalizations with much ease, and recent work with 6- to 12-month-old TD infants has revealed an early emergence of “intuitive statistics” (the idea that a random sample enables one to make predictions about a population and vice versa), which may enable children to engage in inductive learning within the first few years of life. As such, we hypothesized that autistic children would show weaknesses in probabilistic reasoning. In this talk, I discuss preliminary findings from two studies examining probabilistic reasoning in 7- to 12-year-old ASD and TD children (groups were matched in chronological age and IQ).

Oct. 26  Kathryn Humphreys, Postdoctoral Fellow
             Stanford University
 Understanding the impact on early life stress and child psychopathology 

Abstract: Substantial evidence indicates that experiences early in life have an outsized impact on later functioning. In particular, experiences of early adversity (e.g., abuse or neglect) longitudinally predict increased rates of psychopathology. In this talk, using data from children who experienced institutional (orphanage) rearing, a severe form of neglect, I will discuss: (1) the association between adverse early experience and psychopathology, (2) potential mechanisms by which stress gets "under the skin", and (3) factors that mitigate risk. In addition, I will provide evidence challenging traditional conceptualizations that developmental adaptions to early adversity are necessarily maladaptive.

Nov.2  Silvia Bunge, Professor of Psychology
            UC Berkeley
Eyetracking as a window into typical and atypical brain development  
My goal for this talk is to illustrate ways in which eyetracking can be used to gain insights into typical and atypical human brain development. I will present results from a recent study of cognitive control in children with Tourette Syndrome, in which we used pupillary and eyeblink measures to make inferences about neurochemistry as well as the timing of engagement of cognitive control. 

Nov. 9-  Michael Rutter, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology
             King's College, London

Nov.16- Azzurra Ruggieri, Postdoctoral Fellow
              UC Berkeley & Max Planck Institute, Germany
Ecological learning: How children adapt their active learning strategies to achieve efficiency
Abstract: This talk presents the results of recent studies investigating the effectiveness of toddlers and children's active learning strategies. In particular, it will focus on how children adapt their active learning strategies (e.g., question-asking, explorative behavior, free play...) in response to the task characteristics, to the statistical structure of the hypothesis space, and to
the feedback received. Such adaptiveness and flexibility is crucial to achieve efficiency in situations of uncertainty, when testing alternative hypotheses, making decisions, drawing causal inferences and solving categorization tasks.

Nov. 30   Dan Yurovsky, Postdoc Fellow in Psychology
Toward a coordination account of early word learning
Abstract: Early word learning is fast; children produce more than 1000 words by the time they are able to run. This rapid acquisition is puzzling because, while children show early competence in statistical learning, their performance is severely constrained by developing attentional and memory system. I propose resolve to this puzzle by reframing language learning as a coordination problem: Rapid language acquisition emerges from the tight calibration between children’s developing learning mechanisms and parental language input