Poster Session C, Sunday, March 24, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Parental Reflective Functioning and Children’s Emergent Reading Skills: ERP and longitudinal behavioral measures
Airey Lau1,2, Karen Froud2, Kenneth Pugh1,3; 1Haskins Laboratories, Yale University, 2Teachers College, Columbia University, 3University of Connecticut
The conventional approach to education relies on schools to teach children skills that are necessary for future success. However, there is overwhelming evidence that parental involvement is also critical for the development of many cognitive skills crucial for learning. One theory that explores parental influences on learning suggests that parents who have high reflective functioning skills are better able to prepare their children for social and cognitive skills (such as pre-literacy skills) acquisition. This study aims to investigate if parental reflective functioning skills are correlated with children’s pre-literacy skills (e.g. phonological awareness) and reading-related neural development. The current study used the event-related potential (ERP) method to investigate whether young children whose parents have higher reflective functioning exhibit a left-lateralized neural response to a phoneme-discriminating task typically seen in skilled readers. Preliminary results from 17 pre-readers suggest that activation of regions in the left temporal cortex (indicated by the presence of N2 and P2 ERP components during a phoneme-decoding task) is correlated with better phonological awareness and with higher parental reflective functioning skills. In addition, parental reflective functioning skills, along with the children's phonological awareness, are shown to be significant predictors of children's reading ability one year later. This study suggests that parental influence may play a crucial role in children's reading and neural development, thus providing important implications on the need to reform parental leave policies.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging