Publications by authors named "Karen Wynn"

47 Publications

Do Children and Adults Take Social Relationship Into Account When Evaluating People's Actions?

Child Dev 2020 09 12;91(5):e1082-e1100. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Yale University.

Two studies examined whether children (5- and 6-year-olds; 8- and 9-year-olds, n = 214) and adults (n = 72) consider social relationship when evaluating unhelpful or helpful actions. Participants learned about a person-in-need who was (or was not) helped by someone they knew (a friend) and someone they did not know (a stranger). Older children and adults judged an unhelpful friend as meaner than an unhelpful stranger, and judged a helpful stranger as nicer than a helpful friend. Younger children did not judge an unhelpful friend as any meaner than an unhelpful stranger, and they judged a helpful friend as nicer than a helpful stranger. These findings suggest that a mature appreciation of how social relationship matters for evaluation emerges relatively late in development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13390DOI Listing
September 2020

The development of corporal third-party punishment.

Cognition 2019 09 23;190:221-229. Epub 2019 May 23.

Yale University, United States.

Previous research has demonstrated that toddlers are willing to punish those who harm others. This work, however, has predominantly focused on punishment in the form of resource reduction-taking away a resource or withholding access to a resource from an antisocial other. Here, in two studies, we examined whether 4- to 7-year-old children (N = 141) engage in direct, corporal punishment against antisocial others in third-party contexts. Children were given the opportunity to press buttons so that antisocial and prosocial puppets would be hit with a hammer. In Study 1, younger children (∼4-year-olds) hit the antisocial and prosocial puppets indiscriminately, whereas older children (∼7-year-olds) tended to preferentially hit the antisocial puppet. In Study 2, we tested a larger sample of 4- to 7-year-olds, and found that none of the children engaged in corporal punishment. Collapsing across both Studies 1 and 2 also indicated a null effect-children did not engage in third-party corporal punishment. We observed these findings even though children evaluated the antisocial puppet as mean and understood that pressing the hit button hurt the puppets. These findings suggest that children lack a strong desire to corporally punish third-party social wrongdoers. Our results illustrate the importance of considering different types of punishment in assessing the development of third-party punishment, and raise questions about the development of corporal third-party punishment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.04.029DOI Listing
September 2019

Can I eat that too? 18-month-olds generalize social information about edibility to similar looking plants.

Appetite 2019 07 27;138:127-135. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT, 06520-8205, USA.

Learning what to eat is a critical problem that humans must solve over the course of ontogeny. Recent research underscores the importance of social learning processes to the development of food preferences in infancy and early childhood, but research investigating how (and whether) learned edibility information is generalized remains inconclusive. Here we investigate whether 18-month-olds generalize socially learned information about plant edibility. Across two experiments, infants watched an adult eat fruit from one type of plant and then were presented with a choice between two new plants: one was the same type of plant the adult had eaten from, and the other was a different type of plant. Infants' reaching and eating behavior was assessed during the choice phase. The results showed that 18-month-olds generalize edibility to the same type of plant. These findings provide new insights into the nature of human food learning processes early in development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2019.02.013DOI Listing
July 2019

Not Noble Savages after all: Limits to early altruism.

Curr Dir Psychol Sci 2018 Feb 22;27(1):3-8. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Department of Psychology, Yale University.

Many scholars draw on evidence from evolutionary biology, behavioral economics, and infant research to argue that humans are "noble savages", endowed with indiscriminate kindness. We believe this is mistaken. While there is evidence for an early-emerging moral sense - even infants recognize and favor instances of fairness and kindness amongst third parties - altruistic behaviors are selective from the start. Babies and young children favor those who have been kind to them in the past, and favor familiar individuals over strangers. They hold strong biases for ingroup over outgroup and for self over other, and indeed are more unequivocally selfish than older children and adults. Much of what is most impressive about adult morality arises not through inborn capacities, but a fraught developmental process that involves exposure to culture and the exercise of rationality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963721417734875DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5921922PMC
February 2018

Categories and Constraints in Causal Perception.

Psychol Sci 2017 Nov 28;28(11):1649-1662. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

4 Department of Psychology, Yale University.

When object A moves adjacent to a stationary object, B, and in that instant A stops moving and B starts moving, people irresistibly see this as an event in which A causes B to move. Real-world causal collisions are subject to Newtonian constraints on the relative speed of B following the collision, but here we show that perceptual constraints on the relative speed of B (which align imprecisely with Newtonian principles) define two categories of causal events in perception. Using performance-based tasks, we show that triggering events, in which B moves noticeably faster than A, are treated as being categorically different from launching events, in which B does not move noticeably faster than A, and that these categories are unique to causal events (Experiments 1 and 2). Furthermore, we show that 7- to 9-month-old infants are sensitive to this distinction, which suggests that this boundary may be an early-developing component of causal perception (Experiment 3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797617719930DOI Listing
November 2017

Three-month-old human infants use vocal cues of body size.

Proc Biol Sci 2017 Jun;284(1856)

Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA.

Differences in vocal fundamental () and average formant () frequencies covary with body size in most terrestrial mammals, such that larger organisms tend to produce lower frequency sounds than smaller organisms, both between species and also across different sex and life-stage morphs within species. Here we examined whether three-month-old human infants are sensitive to the relationship between body size and sound frequencies. Using a violation-of-expectation paradigm, we found that infants looked longer at stimuli inconsistent with the relationship-that is, a smaller organism producing lower frequency sounds, and a larger organism producing higher frequency sounds-than at stimuli that were consistent with it. This effect was stronger for fundamental frequency than it was for average formant frequency. These results suggest that by three months of age, human infants are already sensitive to the biologically relevant covariation between vocalization frequencies and visual cues to body size. This ability may be a consequence of developmental adaptations for building a phenotype capable of identifying and representing an organism's size, sex and life-stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.0656DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5474077PMC
June 2017

Children's decision making: When self-interest and moral considerations conflict.

J Exp Child Psychol 2017 09 4;161:195-201. Epub 2017 May 4.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

When children's self-interests are at odds with their moral considerations, what do they do? In the current study of 5- and 6-year-olds (N=160), we asked (a) whether children would select the offering of a do-gooder over a neutral individual at a personal cost, (b) whether they would reject the offering of a wrongdoer over a neutral individual at a personal cost, and (c) whether these two types of decisions involve comparable levels of conflict. In the absence of material considerations, children preferred a nice character to a neutral one, but this preference was easily overcome for material gain; children accepted a larger offering from a neutral source over a smaller offering from a nice source. In contrast, children's aversion to negative characters was largely unaffected by the same material consideration; they rejected a larger offering from a mean source in favor of a smaller offering from a neutral source. In addition, children's response times indicated that deciding whether or not to "sell out" to a wrongdoer for personal gain engenders conflict but that deciding whether to take a lesser gain from a do-gooder does not. These findings indicate that children weigh both their own material interests and others' social behaviors when selecting social partners and, importantly, that an aversion to wrongdoers is a more powerful influence on these choices than an attraction to do-gooders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.03.008DOI Listing
September 2017

Natriuretic peptide C receptor in the developing sheep lung: role in perinatal transition.

Pediatr Res 2017 08 31;82(2):349-355. Epub 2017 May 31.

Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

Background: At birth, the release of surfactant from alveolar type II cells (ATIIs) is stimulated by increased activity of the beta-adrenergic/adenylyl cyclase/cyclic 3'-5' adenosine monophosphate-signaling cascade. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) stimulates surfactant secretion through natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPR-A). ANP inhibits adenylyl cyclase activity through its binding to NPR-C. We wished to further understand the role of the NPR-C in perinatal transition. Methods: We studied ATII expression of NPR-C in fetal and newborn sheep using immunohistochemistry, and surfactant secretion in isolated ATIIs by measuring [H] choline release into the media. Results: ANP induced surfactant secretion, and, at higher doses, it inhibits the stimulatory effect of the secretagogue terbutaline. ATII NPR-C expression decreased significantly after birth. Premature delivery also markedly decreased ANP and NPR-C in ATIIs. Co-incubation of terbutaline (10 M) with ANP (10 M) significantly decreased [H] choline release from isolated newborn ATII cells when compared with terbutaline alone; this inhibitory effect was mimicked by the specific NPR-C agonist, C-ANP (10 M). Conclusion: ANP may act as an important epithelial-derived inhibitor of surfactant release in the fetal lung, and downregulation of ANP and NPR-C following birth may sensitize ATII cells to the effects of circulating catecholamines, thus facilitating surfactant secretion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/pr.2017.40DOI Listing
August 2017

Costly rejection of wrongdoers by infants and children.

Cognition 2016 Jun 17;151:76-79. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Yale University, United States.

How unappealing are individuals who behave badly towards others? We show here that children and even infants, although motivated by material rewards, are nonetheless willing to incur costs to avoid "doing business" with a wrongdoer. When given the choice to accept a smaller offering from a do-gooder or a larger offering from a wrongdoer, children and infants chose to accept the smaller offering. It was only when the difference between the offerings was very large that their aversion to the wrongdoer was overcome by personal incentives. These findings show that a willingness to forgo self-interests when faced with wrongdoers is a fundamental aspect of human nature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.03.004DOI Listing
June 2016

Origins of Value Conflict: Babies Do Not Agree to Disagree.

Authors:
Karen Wynn

Trends Cogn Sci 2016 Jan;20(1):3-5

Department of Psychology, Yale University, Box 208205, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. Electronic address:

It is human nature to like those who are like us. Even babies prefer individuals who share their tastes, and dislike those with contrasting views. However, our pluralistic society requires accepting differences and tolerating those who disagree. Can findings in infant research inform strategies to encourage acceptance of diversity?
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.08.018DOI Listing
January 2016

Do-gooder derogation in children: the social costs of generosity.

Front Psychol 2015 21;6:1036. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

Department of Psychology, Yale University , New Haven, CT, USA.

Generosity is greatly valued and admired, but can it sometimes be unappealing? The current study investigated 8- to 10-year-old children's (N = 128) preference for generous individuals, and the effects of social comparison on their preferences. In Experiment 1, children showed a strong preference for a generous to a stingy child; however, this preference was significantly reduced in a situation that afforded children a comparison of their own (lesser) generosity to that of another child. In Experiment 2, children's liking for a generous individual was not reduced when that individual was an adult, suggesting that similarity in age influences whether a child engages in social comparison. These findings indicate that, by middle childhood, coming up short in comparison with a peer can decrease one's liking for a generous individual.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508481PMC
August 2015

Selective social learning of plant edibility in 6- and 18-month-old infants.

Psychol Sci 2014 Apr 29;25(4):874-82. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Yale University.

Recent research underscores the importance of social learning to the development of food preferences. Here, we explore whether social information about edibility--an adult placing something in his or her mouth--can be selectively tied to certain types of entities. Given that humans have relied on gathered plant resources across evolutionary time, and given the costs of trial-and-error learning, we predicted that human infants may possess selective social learning strategies that rapidly identify edible plants. Evidence from studies with 6- and 18-month-olds demonstrated that infants selectively identify plants, over artifacts, as food sources after seeing the same food-relevant social information applied to both object types. These findings are the first evidence for content-specific social learning mechanisms that facilitate the identification of edible plant resources. Evolved learning mechanisms such as these have enabled humans to survive and thrive in varied and changing environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797613516145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345201PMC
April 2014

Anti-equality: social comparison in young children.

Cognition 2014 Feb 28;130(2):152-6. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Psychology Department, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven, CT 06511, United States.

Young children dislike getting less than others, which might suggest a general preference for equal outcomes. However, young children are typically not averse to others receiving less than themselves. These results are consistent with two alternatives: young children might not have any preferences about others receiving less than themselves, or they might have preferences for others receiving less than themselves. We test these alternatives with 5- to 10-year-old children. We replicate previous findings that children will take a cost to avoid being at a relative disadvantage, but also find that 5- and 6-year-olds will spitefully take a cost to ensure that another's welfare falls below their own. This result suggests that the development of fairness includes overcoming an initial social comparison preference for others to get less relative to oneself.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.10.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880565PMC
February 2014

Thyme to touch: infants possess strategies that protect them from dangers posed by plants.

Cognition 2014 Jan 24;130(1):44-9. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA. Electronic address:

Plants have been central to human life as sources of food and raw materials for artifact construction over evolutionary time. But plants also have chemical and physical defenses (such as harmful toxins and thorns) that provide protection from herbivores. The presence of these defenses has shaped the behavioral strategies of non-human animals. Here we report evidence that human infants possess strategies that would serve to protect them from dangers posed by plants. Across two experiments, infants as young as eight months exhibit greater reluctance to manually explore plants compared to other entities. These results expand the growing literature showing that infants are sensitive to certain ancestrally recurrent dangers, and provide a basis for further exploration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.09.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3896079PMC
January 2014

Not like me = bad: infants prefer those who harm dissimilar others.

Psychol Sci 2013 Apr 4;24(4):589-94. Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Adults tend to like individuals who are similar to themselves, and a growing body of recent research suggests that even infants and young children prefer individuals who share their attributes or personal tastes over those who do not. In this study, we examined the nature and development of attitudes toward similar and dissimilar others in human infancy. Across two experiments with combined samples of more than 200 infant participants, we found that 9- and 14-month-old infants prefer individuals who treat similar others well and treat dissimilar others poorly. A developmental trend was observed, such that 14-month-olds' responses were more robust than were 9-month-olds'. These findings suggest that the identification of common and contrasting personal attributes influences social attitudes and judgments in powerful ways, even very early in life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797612457785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4374623PMC
April 2013

Origins of "us" versus "them": prelinguistic infants prefer similar others.

Cognition 2012 Aug 4;124(2):227-33. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Department of Psychology, Temple University, 580 Meetinghouse Rd., Ambler, PA 19002, USA.

A central feature of human psychology is our pervasive tendency to divide the social world into "us" and "them". We prefer to associate with those who are similar to us over those who are different, preferentially allocate resources to similar others, and hold more positive beliefs about similar others. Here we investigate the developmental origins of these biases, asking if preference for similar others occurs prior to language and extensive exposure to cultural norms. We demonstrate that, like adults, prelinguistic infants prefer those who share even trivial similarities with themselves, and these preferences appear to reflect a cognitive comparison process ("like me"/"not like me"). However, unlike adults, infants do not appear to prefer others with an utterly arbitrary similarity to themselves. Together, these findings suggest that the phenomena of ingroup bias, and enhanced interpersonal attraction toward those who resemble ourselves, may be rooted in an inherent preference for similarity to self, which itself may be enhanced during development by the influence of cultural values.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2012.05.003DOI Listing
August 2012

How infants and toddlers react to antisocial others.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Dec 28;108(50):19931-6. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.

Although adults generally prefer helpful behaviors and those who perform them, there are situations (in particular, when the target of an action is disliked) in which overt antisocial acts are seen as appropriate, and those who perform them are viewed positively. The current studies explore the developmental origins of this capacity for selective social evaluation. We find that although 5-mo-old infants uniformly prefer individuals who act positively toward others regardless of the status of the target, 8-mo-old infants selectively prefer characters who act positively toward prosocial individuals and characters who act negatively toward antisocial individuals. Additionally, young toddlers direct positive behaviors toward prosocial others and negative behaviors toward antisocial others. These findings constitute evidence that the nuanced social judgments and actions readily observable in human adults have their foundations in early developing cognitive mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1110306108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3250174PMC
December 2011

Young infants prefer prosocial to antisocial others.

Cogn Dev 2011 Jan;26(1):30-39

University of British Columbia.

The current study replicates and extends the finding (Hamlin, Wynn & Bloom, 2007) that infants prefer individuals who act prosocially toward unrelated third parties over those who act antisocially. Using different stimuli from those used by Hamlin, Wynn & Bloom (2007), somewhat younger subjects, and 2 additional social scenarios, we replicated the findings that (a) infants prefer those who behave prosocially versus antisocially, and (b) these preferences are based on the social nature of the actions. The generality of infants' responses across multiple examples of prosocial and antisocial actions supports the claim that social evaluation is fundamental to perceiving the world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2010.09.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3076932PMC
January 2011

Tracking and quantifying objects and non-cohesive substances.

Dev Sci 2011 May 11;14(3):502-15. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA.

The present study tested infants' ability to assess and compare quantities of a food substance. Contrary to previous findings, the results suggest that by 10 months of age infants can quantify non-cohesive substances, and that this ability is different in important ways from their ability to quantify discrete objects: (1) In contrast to even much younger infants' ability to discriminate discrete quantities that differ by a 1:2 ratio, infants here required a 1:4 ratio in order to reliably select the larger of two substance quantities. And (2), unlike with objects, infants required multiple cues in order to determine which of two quantities of substance was larger. Moreover, (3) although 14.5-month-olds were able to compare amounts of substance in memory, 10- to 12-month-olds were limited to comparing visible amounts of substance. These findings are discussed in light of the mechanisms that may underlie infants' quantification of objects and substances.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.00998.xDOI Listing
May 2011

Three-month-olds show a negativity bias in their social evaluations.

Dev Sci 2010 Nov;13(6):923-9

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.

Previous research has shown that 6-month-olds evaluate others on the basis of their social behaviors--they are attracted to prosocial individuals, and avoid antisocial individuals (Hamlin, Wynn & Bloom, 2007). The current studies investigate these capacities prior to 6 months of age. Results from two experiments indicate that even 3-month-old infants evaluate others based on their social behavior towards third parties, and that negative social information is developmentally privileged.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.00951.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2966030PMC
November 2010

Early understandings of the link between agents and order.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Oct 20;107(40):17140-5. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

The world around us presents two fundamentally different forms of patterns: those that appear random and those that appear ordered. As adults we appreciate that these two types of patterns tend to arise from very different sorts of causal processes. Typically, we expect that, whereas agents can increase the orderliness of a system, inanimate objects can cause only increased disorder. Thus, one major division in the world of causal entities is between those that are capable of "reversing local entropy" and those that are not. In the present studies we find that sensitivity to the unique link between agents and order emerges quite early in development. Results from three experiments suggest that by 12 mo of age infants associate agents with the creation of order and inanimate objects with the creation of disorder. Such expectations appear to be robust into children's preschool years and are hypothesized to result from a more general understanding that agents causally intervene on the world in fundamentally different ways from inanimate objects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0914056107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951444PMC
October 2010

Exposure to supplemental oxygen and its effects on oxidative stress and antioxidant enzyme activity in term newborn lambs.

Pediatr Res 2010 Jan;67(1):66-71

Department of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.

The optimal oxygen concentration for the resuscitation of term infants remains controversial. We studied the effects of 21 versus 100% oxygen immediately after birth, and also exposure for 24 h to 100% oxygen, on oxidant lung injury and lung antioxidant enzyme (AOE) activities in term newborn lambs. Lambs at 139 d gestation were delivered and ventilated with 21% (RAR) or 100% (OXR) for 30 min. A third group of newborn lambs were ventilated with 100% O2 for 24 h (OX24). Oxidized glutathione levels in whole blood were significantly different among the groups with lower values in the RAR group, and these values correlated highly with partial pressure of arterial oxygen (Pao2). The reduced to oxidized glutathione ratio was significantly different among the groups, the ratio decreasing with increasing oxygen exposure. Lipid hydroperoxide (LPO) activity was significantly higher in the OXR and OX24 groups. AOE activity was higher in the whole lung and in red cell lysate in the OX24 group. Increased myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, percent neutrophils, and proteins in lung lavage suggested inflammation in the OX24 group after maximal oxygen exposure. We conclude that even relatively brief exposure of the lung to 100% oxygen increases systemic oxidative stress and lung oxidant injury in ventilated term newborn lambs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1203/PDR.0b013e3181bf587fDOI Listing
January 2010

Eight-Month-Old Infants Infer Unfulfilled Goals, Despite Ambiguous Physical Evidence.

Infancy 2009 Sep 1;14(5):579-590. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Yale University.

In this study, we tested whether 8-month-old infants could infer an actor's unfulfilled goal, despite some physical information present in the displays being inconsistent with the attempted goal. Infants saw a human hand holding a ring repeatedly approach the top of a plastic cone in an apparent failed attempt to place the ring on the cone. The hand and ring then bounced away from the top of the cone toward the floor. Thus, some information presented was relevant to the goal (the motion toward the goal, the afforded relationship between the ring and the cone, and the repeated attempt), but some of it was irrelevant to the goal (the movement away from the goal). Infants were presented with 2 test events: 1 that was consistent with all the trajectory information but inconsistent with the goal, and 1 that was consistent with the goal. Eight-month-olds looked longer to the trajectory-consistent event, suggesting they were able to infer the goal despite the physical ambiguity. Infants who had not been habituated to the failed attempt or who saw a matched inanimate control did not show this pattern, suggesting that infants in the first year of life actively and selectively analyze the unfulfilled goal-directed behavior of others.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15250000903144215DOI Listing
September 2009

Continuity in social cognition from infancy to childhood.

Dev Sci 2009 Sep;12(5):746-52

Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Research examining the development of social cognition has largely been divided into two areas: infant perception of intentional agents, and preschoolers' understanding of others' mental states and beliefs (theory of mind). Many researchers have suggested that there is continuity in social cognitive development such that the abilities observed in infancy are related to later preschool ability, yet little empirical evidence exists for this claim. Here, we present preliminary evidence that capacities specific to the social domain contribute to performance in social cognition tasks both during infancy and in early childhood. Specifically, looking time patterns in an infant social cognition task correlated with preschool theory of mind; however, no such relationship was found for infants in a nonsocial cognition task.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00813.xDOI Listing
September 2009

Oxygen concentration and pulmonary hemodynamics in newborn lambs with pulmonary hypertension.

Pediatr Res 2009 Nov;66(5):539-44

Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.

The effect of oxygen concentration on lowering pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) during resuscitation in a model of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is not known. PPHN was induced in fetal lambs by ductal ligation 9 d before delivery. After delivery by cesarean section, resuscitation of PPHN lambs with 21%, 50%, or 100% O2 (n = 6 each) for 30 min produced similar decreases in PVR. Lambs were then ventilated with 50% O2 for 60 min and exposed to inhaled nitric oxide (iNO, 20 ppm). Initial resuscitation with 100% O2 significantly impaired the subsequent response to iNO compared with 21% O2 (42 +/- 9% vs 22 +/- 4% decrease from baseline PVR). Finally, each lamb was randomly and sequentially ventilated with 10%, 21%, 50%, or 100% O2. PVR decreased with increased concentrations of inhaled O2 up to 50%, there being no additional decrease in PVR with 100% O2. When PVR was correlated with Pao2, the maximal change in PVR was achieved at Pao2 values <60 mm Hg. We conclude that resuscitation with 100% O2 does not enhance pulmonary vasodilation compared with 21% and 50% O2, but impairs the subsequent response to iNO in PPHN lambs. Hypoxia increases PVR but hyperoxia does not confer significant additional pulmonary vasodilation in lambs with PPHN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1203/PDR.0b013e3181bab0c7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782958PMC
November 2009

Constraints on natural altruism.

Authors:
Karen Wynn

Br J Psychol 2009 Aug 16;100(Pt 3):481-5; discussion 487-90. Epub 2009 May 16.

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

This article is a commentary on 'The roots of human altruism' (Warneken & Tomasello, 2009).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712609X441312DOI Listing
August 2009

Exposure to supplemental oxygen downregulates antioxidant enzymes and increases pulmonary arterial contractility in premature lambs.

Neonatology 2009 8;96(3):182-92. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

Center for Developmental Biology of the Lung, Department of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14222-2006, USA.

Background: The optimal oxygen concentration for the resuscitation of premature infants remains controversial.

Objectives: We studied the effects of 21 versus 100% oxygen at initial resuscitation and also the effects of 24-hour exposure to 100% oxygen on arterial blood gases, oxidant lung injury, activities of lung antioxidant enzymes (AOEs) and isolated pulmonary artery (PA) contractility in preterm newborn lambs.

Methods: Preterm lambs at 128 days' gestation (term = 145 days) were delivered and ventilated with 21 (RAR; n = 5) or 100% oxygen (OXR; n = 5) for the first 30 min of life. Subsequently, FiO2 was adjusted to maintain an arterial PO2 (PaO2) between 45 and 70 mm Hg for 24 h. A third group of lambs was mechanically ventilated with 100% oxygen for 24 h (OX24; n = 5).

Results: Oxidized glutathione levels in whole blood correlated highly with PaO2. Reduced to oxidized glutathione ratio was significantly different between the groups, the ratio increasing with decreasing oxygen exposure. The OX24 group had significantly higher activities of lipid hydroperoxide and myeloperoxidase and significantly lower activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in the lung at 24 h. Activities of AOEs correlated inversely with alveolar PO2. PA contractility to norepinephrine and KCl was greater with increasing oxygen exposure. Pretreatment with superoxide dismutase and catalase significantly reduced PA contractility in the OXR and OX24 groups, but not in the RAR group.

Conclusions: We conclude that ventilated premature lambs are unable to appropriately increase AOE activity in response to hyperoxia and that increasing exposure to oxygen aggravates systemic oxidant stress, oxidant lung injury and pulmonary arterial contractility in these lambs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000211667DOI Listing
January 2010

Infants' auditory enumeration: evidence for analog magnitudes in the small number range.

Cognition 2009 Jun 25;111(3):302-16. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Vigorous debate surrounds the issue of whether infants use different representational mechanisms to discriminate small and large numbers. We report evidence for ratio-dependent performance in infants' discrimination of small numbers of auditory events, suggesting that infants can use analog magnitudes to represent small values, at least in the auditory domain. Seven-month-old infants in the present study reliably discriminated two from four tones (a 1:2 ratio) in Experiment 1, when melodic and continuous temporal properties of the sequences were controlled, but failed to discriminate two from three tones (a 2:3 ratio) under the same conditions in Experiment 2. A third experiment ruled out the possibility that infants in Experiment 1 were responding to greater melodic variety in the four-tone sequences. The discrimination function obtained here is the same as that found for infants' discrimination of large numbers of visual and auditory items at a similar age, as well as for that obtained for similar-aged infants' duration discriminations, and thus adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that human infants may share with adults and nonhuman animals a mechanism for representing quantities as "noisy" mental magnitudes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.01.011DOI Listing
June 2009

Operational momentum in large-number addition and subtraction by 9-month-olds.

J Exp Child Psychol 2009 Aug 13;103(4):400-8. Epub 2009 Mar 13.

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

Recent studies on nonsymbolic arithmetic have illustrated that under conditions that prevent exact calculation, adults display a systematic tendency to overestimate the answers to addition problems and underestimate the answers to subtraction problems. It has been suggested that this operational momentum results from exposure to a culture-specific practice of representing numbers spatially; alternatively, the mind may represent numbers in spatial terms from early in development. In the current study, we asked whether operational momentum is present during infancy, prior to exposure to culture-specific representations of numbers. Infants (9-month-olds) were shown videos of events involving the addition or subtraction of objects with three different types of outcomes: numerically correct, too large, and too small. Infants looked significantly longer only at those incorrect outcomes that violated the momentum of the arithmetic operation (i.e., at too-large outcomes in subtraction events and too-small outcomes in addition events). The presence of operational momentum during infancy indicates developmental continuity in the underlying mechanisms used when operating over numerical representations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2009.01.013DOI Listing
August 2009
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