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Self- and Social-RegulationExploring the Relations Between Social Interaction, Social Understanding, and the Development of Executive Functions$
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Bryan Sokol, Ulrich Muller, Jeremy Carpendale, Arlene Young, and Grace Iarocci

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327694

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327694.001.0001

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Do Early Social Cognition and Executive Function Predict Individual Differences in Preschoolers' Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior?

Do Early Social Cognition and Executive Function Predict Individual Differences in Preschoolers' Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior?

Chapter:
(p.418) 17 Do Early Social Cognition and Executive Function Predict Individual Differences in Preschoolers' Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior?
Source:
Self- and Social-Regulation
Author(s):

Claire Hughes

Rosie Ensor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327694.003.0017

Family socio-economic status is a robust predictor of individual differences in early executive function (EF) (e.g., Hughes and Ensor, 2005), but it is not known whether variation in family environment predict developmental trajectories for EF. To address this challenge, we examined data from comprehensive EF assessments and from multiple measures of family life for a socially diverse sample of 125 British children seen at ages 2 and 4. Our longitudinal results supported three distinct models of social influence. Specifically, while unrelated to observational measures of general positive parenting, EF trajectories were positively related to individual differences in: (i) deliberate maternal scaffolding; (ii) children's opportunities for incidental observational learning (assessed via a naturalistic EF task for mothers); and negatively related to (iii) indicators of disorganised and inconsistent parenting. Together, these findings indicate that families can, unintentionally, both help and hinder young children's EF development.

Keywords:   executive function, preschoolers, longitudinal, family environment, scaffolding, observational learning

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