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ERIC Number: EJ939710
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Dropping the Other U: An Alternative Approach to U-Shaped Developmental Functions
Brainerd, C. J.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v5 n1 p81-88 2004
The aim of this article is to introduce readers to an alternative way of applying U-shaped functions to understand development, especially cognitive development. In classical developmental applications, age is the abscissa; that is, in the fundamental equation B = f(A), some behavioral variable (B) plots as a U-shaped or inverted U-shaped function of chronological age across some age range. Although a U-shaped trend is always a surprising outcome, examples are reasonably thick on the ground--including infant face perception (Cashon & Cohen, 2004), symbolic gestures (Namy, Campbell, & Tomasello, 2004), and motor coordination and language (Gershkoff-Stowe & Thelen, 2004). These nonmonotonic trends are sufficiently numerous that some contend that a theoretical reorientation along dynamical systems lines is in order. There is a second "behavioral U" that figures in adult experimental psychology. It remains largely unknown in developmental work, but it could be employed to great advantage in research and theory. This article describes the other family of behavioral Us, shows how to apply it in developmental work, and sketches what can be learned from such applications. (Contains 3 figures.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A