University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) Lunchtime Seminars 2014-2015 > Learning in infancy: mother-child interaction and executive function from 1 to 2 years old

Learning in infancy: mother-child interaction and executive function from 1 to 2 years old

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Executive function (EF) refers to the regulation of cognition and the management of cognitive resources in a goal-directed manner. Working memory, planning skills, inhibitory control and attentional control are commonly listed as central components of EF, and all of these abilities undergo significant development in infancy and early childhood and are correlated with school performance and academic outcomes. However,measuring EF in infancy is very challenging and consequently most research has looked at EF development from 2 years and over. My PhD research has involved the development of measures for EF from 12 to 24 months, and the use of these measures on a sample of 35 children in a longitudinal design. Mother-child interaction in two contexts was also observed at each time point, in order to assess whether certain elements of interaction and parental instructional behaviours predict children’s early EF development.

I will begin my presentation with an overview of what we know of EF in infancy and a description of the measures of EF included in my study, followed by a discussion of mother-infant interaction. I will conclude with some preliminary and tentative results. My presentation will include many videos of infants engaged in tasks and interaction with their parents.

This talk is part of the Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) Lunchtime Seminars 2014-2015 series.

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