LaMarsh Talk

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September 12, 2014 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Room 280N York Lanes
York University
4700 Keele St, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3
Irene Backhouse
416-736-2100, ext 55528

Dr. Annie Bernier, University of Montreal is our guest speaker.  The title of her talk is: "Parenting and young children's executive function development"

Executive functioning (EF) is a set of higher-order cognitive processes that underlie flexible goal-directed behaviours, such as inhibitory control, working memory, planning, and set-shifting. EF develops rapidly during the preschool years, and individual differences in child executive performance are related to a host of cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. The origins of these individual differences are, however, still ill-understood. One of the primary aims of our program of research is to investigate the antecedents of child EF. This talk will cover some of our recent findings, pertaining mostly to the direct and moderated links between the quality of parent-child relationships (maternal behaviour during mother-infant interactions, paternal behaviour during father-infant interactions, mother-child attachment security) and children’s subsequent EF. Overall, findings suggest that infants exposed to higher-quality parenting, and those more securely attached to their mother, perform better on EF tasks between ages 18 months and 3 years. Findings also suggest, however, that these links are moderated by family socio-economic status (SES) and child temperament, such that more vulnerable children (i.e., from lower-SES families and/or with more difficult temperaments) appear to be more affected by the quality of their relationships with their parents – consistent with the differential susceptibility hypothesis (Belsky & Pluess, 2009).
Annie Bernier joined the faculty of the University of Montreal in 2002, where she is currently a professor at the Department of Psychology. Her scientific interests include parent-child relationships, infant and adult attachment, sleep regulation, brain development, theory of mind, and executive functioning in young children. She is currently running a longitudinal study aiming to investigate the prospective relations between quality of the early caregiving environment and individual differences in several spheres of children’s development, with particular interest in sleep regulation and executive functioning.

Please RSVP your attendance to by September 8, 2014