|Monday, April 11th|
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Maternal speech—how mothers talk to their infants— significantly influences language development, readiness for school, and later academic success. Maternal speech affects language growth by providing a stream of information for word-learning mechanisms. Many demographic and social factors shape how a mother speaks to her child. Past literature has focused on two such factors: infant sex and socioeconomic status (SES). While the research has investigated both factors separately, a gap remains regarding the intersectionality between sex and SES. We explore the interaction between infant sex and SES as it pertains to maternal speech in order to better understand how these variables contribute to the academic achievement gap in later childhood.
9:15 AM - 9:30 AM
Our presentation focuses on the effectiveness of second-language learning at a young age compared with formal language instruction in higher education. Participants in our research include children ages 7-9 who have been enrolled in a bilingual or dual language program at their school for three or more years and students (ages 18-25) who have completed at least two semesters of a second language exclusively at a liberal arts college. Participants are timed as they name a series of simple pictures in English and in their second language as quickly as they can. We compare response speed between the two ages for each language as well as between English and the second language within each age group. Based on previous research, we predict the younger sample is faster than the college students at rapid naming in the second language, at least relative to their rapid naming in English.
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
In July 2015, Washington state implemented a law requiring all school districts to cover in their curriculum the history, culture and governance of the state’s Native American tribes. Washington’s superintendent of instruction and 29 federally recognized tribes recommend the Since Time Immemorial curriculum, which emphasizes tribal perspectives and a more accurate representation of history. Our presentation examines the effects of such history lessons on children’s racial attitudes. In our research, participants ages 7 to 11 are asked to complete measures of racial attitudes before and after three 20-minute interactive history lessons based on the Since Time Immemorial curriculum. Following each lesson, participants’ empathy, racial guilt and moral disengagement are also measured. We hypothesize that participants’ racial attitudes are more positive after the lessons, and that greater improvement is related to higher levels of self-esteem, empathy and collective guilt, and to lower levels of moral disengagement.
9:45 AM - 12:00 AM
Approximately 22 percent of children in the United States live in poverty. Developmental differences in visual attention and motor development between children of low and high socioeconomic status are observed as early at six months of age and may lead to the well-known achievement gap when children enter grade school. In our study, we implemented an intervention to improve motor development in low- SES infants ages 6 months to 12 months. The intervention consisted of two weeks of daily play sessions between mothers and infants in which the mother demonstrated different exploratory techniques with a rattle, and the infant replicated the behaviors. At the end of the intervention, improvements in both visual attention and object exploration are expected. Our study will be used to inform future interventions to improve cognition in low-SES infants.