Toddlers Benefit from Labeling on an Executive Function Search Task

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stuart Marcovitch, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Although labeling improves executive function (EF) performance in children older than 3 (e.g., Kirkham, Cruess, & Diamond, 2003), the results from studies with younger children have been equivocal (e.g., Sophian & Wellman, 1983). In the present study, we assessed performance in a computerized multistep multilocation search task with older 2-year-old children. The correct search location was either: (a) not marked by a familiar picture nor given a distinct label, (b) marked by a familiar picture but not given a distinct label (c) marked by a familiar picture and labeled by the experimenter, or (d) marked by a familiar picture and labeled by the participant. The results revealed that accuracy improved across conditions such that children made fewest errors when they generated the label for the hiding location. These findings support the hierarchical competing systems model (Marcovitch & Zelazo, 2006, 2009) that postulates that improved performance can be explained by more powerful representations that guide search behavior.

Additional Information

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108(3), 580-592
Language: English
Date: 2011
executive function, labeling, representation, reflection, cognitive development, toddler search

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