Bulletin of the Centre for
Research in Human Development



Volume 5 Issue 4, Winter-Spring, 2013

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Celebrating the CRDH Student Success

Success at every Corner and through every Lens 
By Shireen Abuhatoum and Melanie Mulligan

The CRDH Welcomes a New Post-doctoral Fellow
By: Jacqueline Legacy

Giving research to the ‘real world’ - CRDH Students Succeed at the Three-Minute Thesis Competition
By Matthew T. Keough

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dialogue-CRDH is a periodical web bulletin produced by the Centre for Research in Human Development.



The CRDH Welcomes a New Post-Doctoral Fellow
by Jacqueline Legacy

The CRDH recently welcomed Post-Doctoral Fellow, and Montréal native, Dr. Patricia Brosseau-Liard.  Dr. Brosseau-Liard received both her M.A. and PhD from the University of British Columbia where she studied selective learning in preschoolers.  Under the supervision of Dr. Susan Birch, Dr. Brosseau-Liard, examined whether young children are able to attend to cues that indicate discrepancies in an individual’s knowledge base, and how attending to these cues might impact how children choose to learn from others.

(pic: Dr. Patricia Brosseau-Liard)

Specifically, Dr. Brosseau-Liard looked at whether preschoolers monitor others’ prior accuracy.  She found that 5 year-olds but not 4 year-olds are able to predict another’s knowledge of words and facts based on the individual’s knowledge base and prior accuracy.  She also examined whether 4 and 5 year-olds were able to refer to and differentiate between situation-specific (i.e. visual access) and person-specific (i.e. previous accuracy) knowledge cues when learning new information.  She found that 4 and 5 year olds are in fact able to differentiate between these cues and that they are able to utilize these cues appropriately depending on the learning context.  This suggests that preschoolers are able to flexibly evaluate the informativeness of cues when assessing others’ knowledge.

While selective learning in young children has become a major focus of the field of developmental psychology over the past few years, much of this research has looked at learning in preschoolers and young children (3 years +).  Several studies have now investigated why young children choose to learn from some individuals and not others, and how a variety of factors, including accuracy and confidence, might impact whom they choose to learn from.  However, relatively little is known about when exactly children begin to pick up on cues that might be important in a learning context.  Dr. Brosseau-Liard hopes to answer this question and build upon her previous research by examining selective learning in infants.

When asked about her shift from working with preschoolers to working with infants, Dr. Brosseau-Liard said, “Researchers in this field often assume that children’s preference to learn from better informants is an important aspect of early learning, however this phenomenon has primarily been studied in preschoolers (3 years and up), and a lot of learning happens before age 3!”  In collaboration with Dr. Diane Poulin-Dubois, Dr. Brosseau-Liard plans on examining how contextual cues like confidence and accuracy might have an impact on 14 month-olds’ learning.  By looking at whom infants choose to learn from, we can determine which cues they attend to when trying to determine whether an individual is trustworthy or not.  This has tremendous implications for our understanding of how infants and young children learn about the world around them.

In addition to her work on selective learning, Dr. Brosseau-Liard also actively studies methodological developments in structural equation modeling, investigating the performance of different estimation methods and fit indices with non-ideal data.



Kiran Vadaga

Associate Editors

Rami Nijjar
Shireen Abuhatoum



Jackie Legacy
Matthew T. Keough
Melanie Mulligan-Pittarelli
Shireen Abuhatoum




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