New Content From Current Directions in Psychological Science

Beyond the Core-Deficit Hypothesis in Developmental Disorders
Duncan E. Astle and Sue Fletcher-Watson

Astle and Fletcher-Watson propose that research about developmental disorders and children’s learning difficulties go beyond the hypothesis that they are due to core deficits—the view that all deficits within a diagnostic category emerge from a shared mechanistic impairment (e.g., impaired theory of mind explaining all profiles of autism). The authors suggest that this reductionist view persists because of the methodologies researchers use to study developmental deficits, including highly selective samples. Thus, researchers should rethink the way they design, collect, and analyze developmental data.

Regret and Decision-Making: A Developmental Perspective
Teresa McCormack, Aidan Feeney, and Sarah R. Beck

How does the development of regret in childhood affect children’s decisions? By around 6 years, most children can experience regret, and the intensity of these emotions will increase until adolescence. Children who regret a choice are more likely to make a better choice next time, compared to children who don’t feel regret. Moreover, regret also seems to help children delay gratification and behave more prosocially. McCormack and colleagues suggest that understanding the development of regret and its impact on decision-making can inform interventions to improve decision-making in children and adolescents.

Feel Good or Do Good? A Valence–Function Framework for Understanding Emotions
Smadar Cohen-Chen, Ruthie Pliskin, and Amit Goldenberg

Cohen-Chen and colleagues propose that the study of emotions should include not only how emotions make someone feel (i.e., subjective feelings) but also what they make someone do (i.e., outcomes). In the authors’ proposed framework, dimensions can be categorized along two orthogonal dimensions—”feel good” versus “feel bad” and “do good” versus “do bad.” The same emotion may have different categorizations, depending on the context. The authors use the example of violent intergroup conflicts as a complex context in which emotions that feel good can sustain violence whereas unpleasant emotions can promote conflict resolution.

Children’s Language Skills Can Be Improved: Lessons From Psychological Science for Educational Policy
Charles Hulme, Margaret J. Snowling, Gillian West, Arne Lervåg, and Monica Melby-Lervåg

Hulme and colleagues review recent research indicating that some language interventions may improve children’s oral language as well as their reading comprehension. The effects of language interventions aimed at improving children’s vocabulary and narrative skills, among others, are not large, but they are significant, especially when the interventions are high quality and implemented in small groups rather than in whole classrooms. Although the authors recognize the need for further research examining the long-term effects of these interventions, they highlight the implications of these findings for education, as poor language skills likely create educational disadvantages.

The Dynamic-Processing Model of Working Memory
Nathan S. Rose

Rose proposes a dynamic-processing model of working memory (WM) that accounts for recent evidence of dynamic short-term retention processes in WM. Evidence for these processes comes from transcranial magnetic stimulation “pinging” of brain areas to reactivate latent information in WM and affect memory performance. Because these effects cannot be explained by more traditional WM models, which posit that information is always retained in WM by sustained neural activity in buffers, Rose argues that WM depends on both sustained and selective (transient and periodic) processes and neural activity.

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