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Baby Lab

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A developmental study of timing behavior in 4 1/2- and 7 year-old children

Investigated effects of age and instructions on temporal regulations of behavior in children. In Exp I, 6 4 1/2 - and 6 7-yr-old Ss were trained with a differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL) 5-sec and a DRL 10-sec schedule. Results demonstrate that age and timing performance are related: Seven year olds were more efficient than the 4 1/2 -yr-olds. A striking decline in th 4 1/2 -yr-olds' capacity to space responses was observed in the DRL 10-sec schedule as compared to the DRL 5-sec schedule. In Exp II, instructions to wait between operant responses were given to 6 4 1/2 -yr-olds at the beginning of a DRL 5-sec and a DRL 10-sec schedule. Results show that these instructions enhance DRL performance. By directing the Ss' attention to the temporal requirements of the task, instructions led to efficient performance and accurate timing of responses to the DRL schedule. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)