Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 2017 (2) en-us Copyright 2017 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:37:56 +0300 Editorial Methods for Identifying Cognitively Gifted Children A small percentage of children shows outstanding cognitive abilities and perform at much higher levels than their same age peers. Psychological science has absorbed knowledge from different spheres such as psychometrics, mathematics, statistics, and psychology to develop methods for identifying cognitively gifted children. The study of intelligence has a long history and has been influenced by social environment, wars, education systems and revolutions. In this paper we focus on two main techniques of identifying cognitively gifted children (a) intelligence testing and (b) domain specific exams called Olympiads (e.g., math and physics). We provide a short historical perspective of the evolution of intelligence testing in Europe and the USA and domain specific Olympiads in Russia. We discuss advantages and limitations of both techniques. Moreover, we highlight that cognitive neuroscientists have been trying to understand the brain mechanisms that may drive cognitive abilities in highly performing children using neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We summarize the knowledge we gained to date from fMRI studies and show that the majority of studies examine mathematically gifted male adolescents with mental rotation tasks. Despite critical advances there is still a lot to be done in understanding the semantic brain-behavior relations in cognitively gifted children. Silent Reading in Russian Primary Schoolchildren: an Eye Tracking Study The study investigates silent reading in the Russian language during the early stages of acquiring this skill by employing the method of eye tracking. For this purpose we developed the corpus  consisting of 30 sentences with target words with controlled length and frequency. Second grade pupils (n = 37; average age is 8.6 ± 0.33 years old) participated in the study. In addition to reading tasks, all the children passed neuropsychological assessment, adapted for 6-9 years olds. The analysis of eye movements was carried out in comparison with a similar study conducted in the German language (Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015). Results show that during reading Russian children made more single fixations and skips than German children. However effects of frequency and length were similar in the both languages. Based on neuropsychological scores we distinguished three groups of children: (1) with the weakness of visual and visual-spatial information processing, (2) with the weakness of kinesthetic and auditory information processing and (3) without these weaknesses. The comparison of eye tracking indices for the three groups showed that children with low scores on visual and visual-spatial processing  generated more and longer fixations than the children of the two other groups. The obtained data do not contradict the dual route models of word recognition, but require for their specification new researches. Infants’ Use of Intonation to Interpret Ambiguous Reference We investigated infants’ ability to use intonation to interpret ambiguous requests for objects. In Experiment 1, two experimenters took turns playing with infants each with her own ball. When both balls were present, one of the experimenters made an ambiguous request "Do you see it? Can you give it to me?” in either an excited or a neutral way. Twenty-month-olds were more likely to select the new than the familiar ball for the experimenter in response to the excited request. In the neutral condition, however, they did not show a significant preference for any balls. Sixteen-month-olds selected new and familiar balls at chance in both conditions. In Experiment 2, the experimenter played with 20-month-olds with an object and displayed high excitement toward it. At test, she saw a similar object and a new object, and asked infants in an excited way “Can you give it to me?” In this case excitement could be interpreted as directed toward the object similar to the one the experimenter played with before. Nevertheless, infants selected the new object at above chance levels. These findings suggest that at 20 months, infants consistently interpret excitement as indicating new things. Sensitivity to Communication Context in 3-4-Year Old Children during New Word Learning This research tests the hypothesis that 3- and 4-year-olds can use characteristics of a social context created by adults to learn new words. One of the strategies that a child can use in multi-party conversations is to decide to whom a message (and a new word) is addressed. The ability to do so may simplify word learning situations by making the learning selective and by reducing the amount of perceived words. In the current experiment we test children's ability to learn a new word from a natural conversation when the communicative context is kept constant and when it is altered by adding a new game partner. We predicted that children will differentially interpret verbal messages containing a new word as addressed to them or to the new person, and this will affect their ability to remember the new word. Children heard a new word in one of two conditions: when a communicative context shared with an adult was kept constant and when it has changed (a new adult joined the conversation). We found that 3-year-olds could learn new words only when the communicative context was constant, but 4-year-olds could learn new words in both conditions. A control condition revealed that these findings cannot be explained by task difficulty. Empathic Responding in Toddlers: The Role of Experience and Observation of Comforting Behavior Although human empathy has genetic background, numerous studies revealed the great power of social contributors in empathy development. Researchers found a positive correlation between number of factors in mother-child relationship, between level of socialization and the level of empathic development in toddlerhood.  This study is designed to enrich the understanding of the social factors, which assist in acquisition of complex behavioral repertoire for empathic responding. We examined whether the similarity of negative experience and familiar behavioral model of comforting facilitate empathic acts (e.g. comforting or sharing) of toddlers. We measured empathic responses to other’s frustration in children who have previously experienced a similar frustrating event (did not find a toy) vs. those who have not such experience, and in those subjects who have been exposed to an adult's model of comforting behavior vs. have been not. We also recorded participants' emotional reactions to experimental events. Results showed that the similarity of the negative emotional experience did not significantly influence on the empathic behavior of toddlers, while the familiar model of comforting act promoted more frequent empathic acts. The results were discussed in relation to the existing data on the role of similar experience in empathic behavior and on the association between parental style, social competence and prosocial development. On a Problem of Relationships of General, Special and Creative Abilities on Example of Mathematical Giftedness The article examines the problem of relationships between general, special and creative abilities. We analyzed theoretical views on the problem of general and special abilities and described the discussion between V.A. Krutetskii and S.L. Rubinstein. As the result, it was shown that special abilities are actually reduced to the general ones. The final solution of this problem was suggested by V.D. Shadrikov in his theory of abilities as the properties of the functional systems and special abilities as the general ones that acquired efficiency under the influence of the demands of activities; thus a contradiction is removed and the question of the nature of special abilities is answered. The problem of relationships between general and creative abilities is nowadays the most pressing abroad (B. Sriraman, D. Pitta-Pantazi, M. Kattou, R. Leikin, etc.). In some ways, V.D. Shadrikov problematizes it. He describes abilities at three levels - individual (natural abilities), the subject of activity (special abilities) and personality (including the moral field). Abilities on a personal level are considered as giftedness that can develop into creativity. Further we speak about creative abilities as the ability to develop activity on one’s own initiative, which is the development of the process-activity approach by S.L. Rubinstein. We examine the relationship of different types of abilities by an example of mathematical giftedness. The participants were students and graduates in mathematics (including PhD) from the best Russian universities (n = 83). Creative abilities and giftedness were measured with mathematical material that was developed in the framework of "Creative Field". The results are compared with the intellectual and personal tests. It was shown that the general abilities provide the acquirement of mathematical material. The most important for creativity and giftedness is cognitive attitude, which is expressed in development of activities on one’s own initiative. Appraisal of Psychological Well-Being as Decision Making Process: Specificity of Subjective Criteria in Mental Illness (in Non-Psychotic Depression and a First Psychotic Episode in Youth) Subjective appraisal of quality of life, satisfaction and happiness is considered as a result of the decision making process, which could have different subjective criteria both in normative sample and in mental illnesses. We use concepts “satisfaction with life”, “happiness” and “quality of life” as concrete aspects of integrative “psychological well-being” developing in different approaches. Using Quality of Life and Enjoyment Questionnaire (version for mental illnesses, Ritsner et al., 2005) and Lyubomirsky’s Happiness Scale we compared in moderation analysis the contribution of the quality of life in different domains to the general appraisal of life satisfaction and subjective happiness in the three groups of young men (17-28 years old): non-psychotic depressive patients (n1 = 76), patients developing remission after the first psychotic episode (n2 = 90) and respondents without mental illness (n3 = 185). Although all domains are important in different degrees for the general appraisal of satisfaction and happiness, in non-psychotic depression health, emotional sphere and functioning during the day are more important to their lives, compared with the two other groups. Patients developing remission after psychotic episode are less oriented to the emotional and social domains as well as financial well-being than participants from other two groups. The results are discussed in terms of the cognitive approach to understanding and psychotherapy for mental illnesses with an emphasis on the importance of taking into account subjective criteria and process of appraisal of general well-being in patients. Old Age as a Psychological and Cultural Phenomenon The article views the old age in the author’s framework of “cultures of human life”. The author suggests distinguishing “culture of childhood”, “culture of adolescence and youth”, and several “cultures of an adult”. Each culture of human life is characterized by the specifics of functioning and worldview (consciousness), as well as by the specifics of socialization. A brief description of each culture of life is presented. Then the problems of old age are analyzed (parting with the habitual way of life, illnesses, loss of meaning of life, etc.), as well as traditional ways for old people to combat these problems. The author hypothesizes that the essence of the culture of old age is building the concept of old age and then its realization. In its turn, realization suggests, on the one side, changing of reality and finding meaning of life, and on the other side, renewal of life in new circumstances. By the example of understanding human’s health and place that it should take in the old age, the conditions of realization of this hypothesis are discussed. Health of a human, as the author believes, is better to understand not as an absence of illnesses or an illusory well-being, but, in the first place, as human’s work and quality, specifics of life that develops under the influence of such work. Its main components are following: (1) building of a personal conception of health (and in the last stage of life – a conception of old age); (2) inclusion of social demands in it (simultaneously one needs to develop critical attitude toward services that the state or medical business offer, and make corrections on the basis of one’s personal conception of health); (3) minimization of illnesses with the usage of both personal capacities (healthy lifestyle, work with personal values, etc.), and all other means that society provides; (4) formation of a position to renew life and health, which suggests change of behavior and attitudes to one’s health with the age; (5) ability to work and deal with own problems and stressors; (6) submission of all the described work to the general scenario of the proper life. The article finishes with the discussion of 3 conditions to reproduce old age as culture. Firstly, this culture is supported by society, giving it special conditions and institutions. Secondly, the biological nature itself works to reproduce old age – people age, become sick, advance to their end. Thirdly, the combined work of human and culture – human creates individual conceptions of the old age and realizes them, and culture develops various semiotics of the old age, which people use. The Origin and Development of the Rudiments of Speech in Babies during First Weeks And Months of Their Life (0-12) The research project is presented that marks out the origin of the meaningful word in babies from the moment of their birth. The reactions of babies were viewed as the elements of their adaptive behavior. The database of the systematic video and audio recordings of behavior of the 5 babies from 0 to 12 months was formed, i.e. in the period that precedes the emergence of the child words – in a so-called “preverbal” period. A special method of analysis of the recordings was developed: 3 types of voice manifestations and 4 types of cognitive-active reactions were distinguished, as well as some other manifestations. In the process of observation the structure of reactions showed up, which includes at least 2 subsystems – vocal and cognitive-active. The diagrams, presented in the article, show the difference in the directions of development of the vocal and semantic subsystems. The author schematically showed the history of emergence of each of them. The early origins of the child speech are connected with the formation of this whole system, while its development starts from the birth of the baby. The author developed the theoretic conception of the origins and development of semantic (subjective) component of baby speech in the first months of life, emergence of rudimentary forms of meaningfulness, and showed the role of operant conditioning in production of first child words. Resources of a “Conversation Partner” in a Dialogical I-Other Relationship Authors develop a new approach to the study of one’s relationships with others, which focuses on the conditions and the effects of the dialogical nature of a person. Theoretical modeling, hermeneutics, qualitative and quantitative methods have been applied. The solution for identifying prerequisites of self-development and social positioning of a person that are rooted in dialogical I-Other relationships has been suggested. The originality of the paper is associated with describing the relation to the other as a reflexive I-Other relationship; with an elaborated model that highlights the variety of dimensions of I-Other relationships (between I and Other, I-in-Other, Other-in-Me, I-in-Myself) results in a truly dialogical mode of being; with revealing the potentials of a Conversation Partner in dialogical I-Other relationships (subjective interrelations and significance of Conversation Partners, their activity, fullness of the reflection of significant Conversation Partners); with a description of different hypostases of Conversation Partners (Real, Ideal, Secret, I as Myself) by the means of hermeneutics. The method called “My Conversation Partner” should also be mentioned, as well as the empirical study of existential and social resources of Conversation Partners. Theoretical background of the study was formed by the works of M.M. Bakhtin, M. Buber, M. Heidegger, J.-P. Sartre. E. Levinas, as well as by the works of modern psychologists such as G.M. Kuchinsky, A.V. Rossokhin, E.B. Starovoytenko, C.T. Brown & P.W. Keller, Hubert Hermans, F. Rivetti Ваrbo, etc. Results of the current research have shown that the potential of social adaptivity, affiliation, dominance, positive solitude, joy of solitude, freedom, self-transcendence, existential fulfillment is associated with the richness of one’s Conversation Partners. Aesthetic Endowment and Intelligence The article ponders on two issues: on the existence of general aesthetic endowment and on the relationship between aesthetic endowment and intellectual abilities. An attempt is made to settle these issues via analysis of the data obtained in the approbation of the test for measuring aesthetic endowment in the domain of literary creativity, during which part of the participants was also administered the Visual Aesthetic Sensitivity Test (VAST) and/or intelligence test (Raven’s Matrices), as well as via analysis of the data of a special study in which, except for the test for measuring aesthetic endowment in literary creativity and Raven’s Matrices, three subtests of the Amthauer’s Intelligence Structure Test (Information, Analogies and Generalizations) were used. The results obtained were as follows. The tests for measuring aesthetic endowment in literary creativity and fine art do not correlate, and there is  a divergence in their correlations with the test on general intelligence: while the test for measuring aesthetic endowment in literary creativity does not correlate with the Raven’s Matrices, there is a low but significant correlation between the VAST and Raven’s Matrices. Thus, the conducted analysis did not reveal evidence for existence of general aesthetic endowment. Aesthetic endowment in literary creativity does not correlate with general intelligence, which is proved by the absence of its correlation with both the Raven’s Matrices and the subtest Information, but it does correlate with verbal abilities: there is a low but significant correlation with the subtest Analogies, and a positive correlation with a latent variable formed from the subtests Analogies and Generalizations. The Relation between Emotional Traits and States and Emotional Processing Speed There are a lot of studies by now, aimed at the detection of the link between emotional states and personality traits and processing of the emotionally colored information, but because of the variety of the studied traits, moods and tasks for processing their results are difficult to generalize. More often the effects of congruency are discovered (increase in effectiveness of processing information, which emotional coloring corresponds to emotional states or traits) and complementarity (increase in effectiveness of processing information, opposite in emotional coloring to states or traits). The objective of the present study was to identify the relation between emotional states and personal traits and speed of processing of verbal and non-verbal emotional information of various categories: sadness, fear, anger, joy, neutral stimuli. It was supposed to discover the effects of congruency both for the personal and the situational variables in relation to emotional stimuli of the corresponding content. Emotional state was measured with the PANAS scale. Questionnaires were used that measure happiness, depression, anxiety and aggressiveness as emotional traits. To measure the effectiveness of processing emotional information a computerized procedure was developed, in which the respondents were asked to assess, whether the presented stimulus was emotional or not. The stimuli were the photos of faces, expressing sadness, joy, fear or anger, as well as words, associated with these emotional categories, and the neutral stimuli. No effects of congruency or complementarity either for emotional states or for emotional traits were found in the general sample. The correlation analysis in the extreme groups with various combinations of expression of emotional states and traits found bidirectional effects (of congruency and complementarity, as well as opposite effects). Thus, the acquired results are mixed, which can be explained, in particular, by the measurement in this study of natural emotional states instead of their laboratory induction.