Keynote Speaker


Panel Convention
Developmental Psychology

25. Tagung
03. — 05. September 2023
Harnack-Haus Berlin

25th Meeting
September 03 — 05, 2023
Harnack House Berlin

Rachel Barr

Department of Psychology
Georgetown University, Washington

Growing up in a Digital World: Theoretical and practical implications for young children

Young children are growing up in an increasingly complicated digital world. With the advent of mobile and steaming media media use can occur anywhere and at any time. The COVID pandemic further changed media exposure for many young children. Yet most studies include global imprecise measures and conclude that more screen time will equal poor child outcomes. Furthermore, most models of learning in the digital age show that it is cognitively demanding for young children to process and transfer information presented on screens. Multiple explanations for this cognitive challenge have been proposed, including representational flexibility and symbolic understanding. While there have been attempts to integrate theories there is no comprehensive theory that accounts for the growing evidence base. In this talk, I will discuss a theoretical model that integrates and reframes prior theoretical explanations for learning from media alongside updated comprehensive measures of family media ecology focusing and the content and context of media exposure and methods to assess the convergence of findings between laboratory and real-world conditions.

Catherine Tamis-Lemonda

Department of Psychology
New York University

Infants’ Behaviors Over Time & Space Generate Feedback Loops for Learning

Infant learning has long intrigued developmental scientists. Lucky for us, the study of learning continues to inspire lively theoretical debates. Are babies equipped with core capacities that guide learning, or do they construct knowledge from the bottom up? Are environments impoverished at one extreme, too complex at the other, or rich with regularities that channel learning? Should theories of language learning (a key developmental domain) underscore the importance of child-directed, contingent social input, and/or champion children’s impressive capacities to learn through observation and overheard conversations? Notably, addressing such questions requires transparency in one’s theoretical orientation. I personally view learning to be an active, bottom-up process that is embedded in a richly informative and socially contingent environment. And so, in this talk, I present studies of infants’ everyday behaviors in the everyday home environment. I illustrate how exuberant behaviors across domains of object play, walking, and talking generate perceptual and social feedback loops that are vital to learning: Behaviors in the moment affect subsequent behaviors within and across domains, elicit prompt, multimodal inputs from caregivers, and cascade to learning in real time and over age. I conclude with the importance of studying infant learning in ecologically valid settings to preserve and document the richness of behaviors over time and space.

Claudia Buß

Institute for Medical Psychology
Charité - Universitätsmedizin, Berlin

Intergenerational transmission of maternal stress – the role of the intrauterine period and implications for offspring neurodevelopment

The origins of alterations in brain anatomy and connectivity, that may underlie cognitive impairment and mental illness, can be traced back to the fetal period of life when the developing embryo/fetus responds to suboptimal conditions during critical periods of brain development (“Fetal Programming”). Maternal stress is one such condition that can alter fetal brain development via stress-associated changes in maternal-placental-fetal endocrine and immune stress biology. Data from prospective longitudinal studies of pregnant mothers and their children will be presented. Mothers’ stress experiences were assessed in early, mid and late pregnancy and their offspring’s brain development was characterized using multimodal magnetic resonance imaging, age-appropriate cognitive tests as well as screening instruments for the emergence of behavioral problems. Evidence will be presented in support of maternal stress during pregnancy as well as stress she experienced during her own childhood being associated with alterations in her offspring’s brain anatomy and connectivity. Associations between elevated maternal cortisol and interleukin-6 concentrations during pregnancy and offspring brain development suggest them being likely biological mediators that provide cues about these maternal conditions to the fetus with the potential of altering the developmental trajectory of its brain. Advances in theory and methodology now afford an unprecedented opportunity to gain new and valuable insights into early life environmental conditions affecting brain plasticity and to develop targeted interventions to support healthy neurodevelopment.