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Child Development, January/February 2013, Volume 84, Number 1, Pages 154162

Systems and Cascades in Cognitive Development and Academic


Achievement
Marc H. Bornstein and Chun-Shin Hahn Dieter Wolke
University of Warwick, Coventry
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development

A large-scale (N = 552) controlled multivariate prospective 14-year longitudinal study of a developmental


cascade embedded in a developmental system showed that information-processing efficiency in infancy
(4 months), general mental development in toddlerhood (18 months), behavior difficulties in early childhood
(36 months), psychometric intelligence in middle childhood (8 years), and maternal education either directly
or indirectly (or both) contribute to academic achievement in adolescence (14 years).

whats past is prologue; what to come, On the basis of the ecological developmental per-
spective (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), dynamic
In yours and my discharge. systems theory emphasizes the advantages in under-
standing that are gained from simultaneous consider-
Antonio in W. Shakespeares The Tempest, Act 2, ation of the independence and interdependence of
scene 1, lines 247248. multiple organismic and environmental determinants
in predicting development. This study assesses the
Two key considerations in contemporary develop- contributions of an ecologically comprehensive suite
mental science are, one, the trajectory through of determinants in early life to predict adolescent
time of domain-related age-appropriate constructs academic achievement and employs a systems
toward a mature phenotype within that develop- framework that included endogenous (information
mental domain and, two, the relative contributions processing, temperament, behavior difficulties) as
of multiple determinants from different domains to well as exogenous factors both distal (maternal edu-
the expression of a mature phenotype. The first cation) and proximal (e.g., enriched parenting, home
concern is captured in diverse forms of develop- environment) to the child that are believed directly or
mental stability, including cascades, and second in indirectly or both to relate to academic achievement.
developmental systems. In this study, we braid The extant literature concerning endogenous and
these two central considerations and use adolescent exogenous sources of influence on cognitive devel-
academic achievement as their convergent pheno- opment is rich. However, few research efforts have
typic endpoint. incorporated factors from multiple domains simulta-
neously to identify their independent and inter-
dependent effects. Thus, the unique and combined
We thank the families who took part in the ALSPAC; the contributions that each source may make to develop-
midwives for their cooperation and help; J. C. Bell, J. Golding, C. ment are essentially unexplored, and the overlap of
Padilla, D. Putnick, and A. Slater; and the UK Medical Research
Council and the Wellcome Trust (Grant 092731) and the Univer- different factors vis-a-vis unique contribution of any
sity of Bristol for core support for ALSPAC. The ALSPAC Study one remains unknown. Herein, we evaluated a sys-
Team comprises interviewers, computer and laboratory techni- tems model of hypothesized relations among factors
cians, clerical workers, research scientists, volunteers, and man-
agers. This research was supported in part by the Intramural deriving from the child, the mother, and the context.
Research Program of the NIH, NICHD. Marc H. Bornstein and Embedded in our systems model was a developmen-
Chun-Shin Hahn, Child and Family Research, Eunice Kennedy tal cascade of cognitive functions per se. Develop-
Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Develop-
ment. Dieter Wolke, Department of Psychology and Health Sci- mental cascades consider that early determinants
ence Research Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry (UK).
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Marc H. Bornstein, Child and Family Research, Eunice Kennedy
Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Develop-  2012 The Authors
ment, National Institutes of Health, Rockledge 1, Suite 8030, 6705 Child Development  2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Rockledge Drive, MSC 7971, Bethesda, MD 20892-7971. Elec- All rights reserved. 0009-3920/2013/8401-0013
tronic mail may be sent to Marc_H_Bornstein@nih.gov. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01849.x
Systems and Cascades in Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement 155

initiate spreading effects across a domain that even- with an expected date of delivery between April 1,
tuate in distal phenotypic performance. We see 1991 and December 31, 1992 were eligible, including
value added from melding cascades in systems. > 80% of 14,138 surviving live births from that geo-
Rather than assuming that a given determinant graphic catchment area. Potential participants for this
directly predicts a distal criterion, we believe tests of study were 983 singletons and mothers in the 10%
indirect paths between predictors and criterion are sample who underwent intensive assessment. Elimi-
more sensitive, powerful, and theoretically appropri- nation and attrition occurred for failures to habituate
ate (Shrout & Bolger, 2002). (n = 351), computer or experimenter errors (n = 7),
This multivariate longitudinal study began in and fussiness (n = 19); 20 more infants were excluded
infancy. Contemporary psychological theories con- due to preterm (gestation at delivery < 37 weeks;
ceptualize human beings as information processors, n = 17) or postterm (gestation at delivery > 43 weeks,
and information processing starts at birth in infants n = 3) delivery (both relate to diminished academic
efforts to make sense of their environment and gain achievement; Kavsek & Bornstein, 2010; MacKay,
mastery over it. Individual differences in informa- Smith, Dobbie, & Pell, 2010). From 586 remaining
tion processing account for variation in cognition term infants, 571 who were of normal birth weight
(Davis & Anderson, 2001), and extant longitudinal ( 2500 g) were included. Nineteen additional infants
assessments of infant information processing have were excluded because of diagnoses of developmen-
pointed to its predictive value for intelligence test tal problems during the 14 years (e.g., autism, cere-
performance and academic achievement (Bornstein, bral palsy). The final sample consisted of 552 term (M
1985a, 1998; Colombo, 2004; Kavsek, 2004). One way gestation = 39.85 weeks, SD = 1.21), healthy, and
to access information processing in infants is through normal birth weight (M = 3539.50 g, SD = 460.44)
habituation (Bornstein, 1985b). In addition, scoring infants, 243 girls and 309 boys. All participated in the
well on mental tests in childhood and achieving aca- habituation procedures, did not fuss, and achieved
demically in adolescence reflect temperament and habituation. Table 1 presents their sociodemographic
personality (Palisin, 1986; Sternberg, Grigorenko, & characteristics. Ethical approval for the study was
Bundy, 2001; Zigler, Abelson, & Seitz, 1973), and obtained from the ALSPAC Ethics and Law Commit-
behavior difficulties undermine childrens testing, tee and the Local Research Ethics Committees.
cognition, and achievement (Masten et al., 2005;
Moffitt et al., 2011; Odgers et al., 2008). Effective and
System and Cascade Constituents
consistent features of the environment also exert
positive influences over cognition and achievement: Testers and coders at each wave were blind to
Maternal education is a robust predictor of child cog- childrens performance and other data at other
nitive functioning and school outcome (Hoff & Tian, waves.
2005; Schneider, Wolke, Schlagmuller, & Meyer,
2004; Walker, Greenwood, Hart, & Carta, 1994), Table 1
enriched parenting contributes to cognitive develop- Sociodemographic Characteristics of the Sample
ment (Bornstein, 1985a), and the home environment
relates to later achievement (Bradley & Caldwell, N M (SD)
1984; Tong, Baghurst, Vimpani, & McMichael, 2007).
Child age at data collection
In a nutshell, we tested a systems model that
Habituation (4 months) 552 3.83 (0.19)
included information processing, personological, Griffiths Mental Development 444 18.35 (0.35)
social, and environmental factors. A large-scale Scales (18 months)
multivariate longitudinal study is positioned to Wechsler Intelligence Scale for 360 8.63 (0.19)
unveil complex developmental patterns that predict ChildrenUK (8 years)
academic achievement. Key Stage 3 (14 years) 413 14.12 (0.37)
Child gender (% girls) 552 44.0%
Maternal age at childs birth (years) 552 28.90 (4.81)
Method Maternal education 525
No qualifications 69 13.1%
Participants Vocational school 54 10.3%
O level (secondary school completed) 192 36.6%
This investigation was conducted as part of the
A level (college preparatory completed) 135 25.7%
Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children College degree 75 14.3%
(Golding, Pembrey, Jones, & ALSPAC Study Team,
2001). All births in the former Avon Health Authority Note. N represents number of available observations.
156 Bornstein, Hahn, and Wolke

4 months: Habituation efficiency. Infants partici- games with their children on a 3-point scale (often
pated in an infant-controlled habituation: Each trial to hardly ever). Item scores (reverse coded) were
began when the infant looked at the stimulus and summed to create an enriched parenting score.
ended when the infant looked away for at least 2 s 6 months: Home environment. Cognitive environ-
continuously, and the infant was judged to have ment of the home was measured with modified
habituated (achieved criterion) when the duration forms of the Home Observation for Measurement
of looking on any two successive trials (after Trial of the Environment (HOME; Bradley, 2009), includ-
2) was less than one half the total duration of any ing subscales: maternal responsivity, acceptance of
two previous successive trials. The habituation child, organization of the environment, provision of
stimulus was a black-on-white geometric pattern of appropriate play materials, involvement with child,
four diamonds subtending 26 (height) 20 variety of stimulation in the home, language stimu-
(width). Each infant who habituated then saw four lation, and encouragement of social maturity. Inter-
paired test trials, each continuing until 10 s of look- nal consistency is .89 for the total HOME (Bradley
ing had accumulated. On test trials, the habituation & Caldwell, 1984).
stimulus was paired with a same-size novel stimu- 18 months: Griffiths. Trained psychologists admin-
lus, a random polygon; the two were equidistant istered the standardized Griffiths (1984) Mental
from the center. Identical novel prehabituation and Development Scales to assess five major areas of
posttest stimuli sandwiched the habituation test development: locomotor, personal-social, hearing
sequence. and speech, hand and eye coordination, and perfor-
The final sample of 552 infants was categorized mance. Total scores for each subscale show internal
as completers (n = 370), infants who habituated to consistency (corrected split-half method), ranging
criterion and then amassed 40 s of looking on the from .91 to .97 (http://www.hogrefe.co.uk/). Scores
test, and part-completers (n = 182), infants who were age adjusted and averaged to form an indi-
habituated but ended the session before the test vidual General Developmental Quotient (GQ).
was completed. Experimental controls ruled out 36 months: Behavior difficulties. The Strengths and
alternative response fatigue and sensory adaptation Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; Goodman, 1997,
interpretations of habituation: Infants who com- 2001; Van Roy, Veenstra, & Clench-Aas, 2008)
pleted all procedures showed a novelty response to assessed child behavior difficulties. The average
the new versus the habituation stimulus in the test, internal consistency reliability estimate is .73, and
t(360) = 25.54, p < .001, d = 1.34, and looked equally testretest reliability (46 months) is .62 (Goodman,
at the prehabituation and posttest stimuli, t(368) = 2001). A total behavior difficulties score was
1.11, p = .27, d = 0.06. obtained by summing Hyperactivity, Emotional
Habituation efficiency (total looking time to Symptoms, Conduct Problems, and Peer Problems
reach habituation criterion )1) was used as the scale scores (http://www.sdqinfo.org).
outcome measure because it was available for both 8 years: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).
completers and part-completers. A subgroup of this Trained testers administered the WISCIIIUK
sample has given evidence of 2-week reliability of (Wechsler, Golombok, & Rust, 1992), an assessment
habituation efficiency (Bell, Slater, & ALSPAC of psychometric intelligence standardized on a
Study Team, 2002), r = .43, p < .05, 95% CI = [.08, sample of 2,200 children aged 616 years. Average
1.00]; see also Colombo, Shaddy, Richman, Maik- internal consistency reliability coefficients and test
ranz, and Blaga (2004). retest stability coefficients are > .95 for Full Scale
6 months: Temperament. The Infant Temperament Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ; Wechsler, 1991).
Questionnaire (ITQ; Carey & McDevitt, 1978) 14 years: Academic achievement. In the United
assessed infant temperament. The average internal Kingdom, the National Curriculum is defined in
consistency reliability for the ITQ is .83, and test five key stages. At the end of Key Stage 3 (covering
retest reliability (1647 days) is .86. A principal axis the first 3 years of secondary school), standardized
factoring score was computed using Rhythmicity, tests in English, mathematics, and science are car-
Approach, Adaptivity, Intensity, and Mood on the ried out nationally. Data were retrieved from the
ITQ following Carey and McDevitts (1978) diag- National Pupil Database of the Department for
nostic cluster of difficult temperament. Children, Schools, and Families via record linkage.
6 months: Enriched parenting. Mothers reported Total scores were used as measures of adolescent
their parenting practices in terms of how often, for academic achievement in each subject.
example, they read a story or showed pictures Maternal education. Mothers provided informa-
in books and played with toys and imitation tion on their educational qualifications.
Systems and Cascades in Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement 157

conducted a follow-up analysis that corrected


Preliminary Analyses and Analytic Plan
observed correlations for attenuation due to ran-
Univariate distributions for all variables were dom measurement error. The correction for attenu-
examined for nonnormality and outliers (Fox, 1997). ation due to unreliability used Spearmans (1904)
To approximate normality and reduce the number attenuation formula. The reliability estimates to
and influence of outliers, habituation efficiency was compute the attenuation-corrected coefficients were:
reexpressed using a log10 transformation, the Grif- .43 for habituation efficiency (Bell et al., 2002), .83
fiths GQ was raised to the fourth power, and the for the ITQ (Carey & McDevitt, 1978), .89 for the
child behavior difficulties score was reexpressed modified HOME score (Bradley & Caldwell, 1984),
using a cube root. Bivariate plots based on pairwise .94 for Griffiths (http://www.hogrefe.co.uk/), .73
deletion procedures confirmed that all variables for SDQ (Goodman, 2001), and .95 for the WISC
were linearly related. Missing data points (24.43% of IIIUK (Wechsler, 1991). As reliability estimates were
the total data in the total sample) were imputed not available for maternal enriched parenting and
using a two-stage expectation-maximization estima- education, or the UK Key Stage 3 national stan-
tion of the structured model and the maximum like- dardized tests, the attenuation-corrected covariance
lihood function (Jamshidian & Bentler, 1999). matrix for SEM input was not corrected for these
We used structural equation modeling to assess variables. We used imputed estimates of sample
unique relations among habituation efficiency, covariance matrix based on the structured model
child socioemotional functioning, enriched parent- from EQS (Bentler, 1995; Bentler & Wu, 1995) out-
ing, home environment, maternal education, child put to compute the attenuation-corrected coeffi-
cognitive development, and adolescent achieve- cients. This attenuation-corrected covariance matrix
ment controlling for other predictors in the model. was then used as the input for SEM analysis. (The
Guided by the literature, we expected that more uncorrected pairwise covariance matrices and the
efficient habituation in infancy would eventuate in corrected imputed covariance matrices for the total
more advanced academic achievement in adoles- sample and completers are available from the first
cence through a developmental cascade of inter- author.)
vening cognitive functions. To evaluate the Models were evaluated in both the total sample
significance of regression coefficients in the final (completers and part-completers, N = 552) and
models, we report the standardized coefficients completers (n = 370), and similar results were
and appraise their probabilities using the critical obtained. Reported results are based on the total
ratios associated with the robust standard errors sample.
for the unstandardized coefficients (one-tailed
tests). Model fit was assessed using the robust
Yuan-Bentler scaled chi-square statistic, robust
Results
comparative fit index (CFI), the standardized root
mean square residual (SRMR; Browne & Cudeck, Table 2 lists the means, standard deviations, and
1993), and the root mean square error of approxi- numbers of observations for all measures. The
mation (RMSEA) and its 90% confidence interval. resulting final sample was generally reflective of
Cutoff values .95 for CFI and .09 and .06 for the population as indicated by standard deviations
SRMR and RMSEA, respectively, are indicative of of the standardized measures.
a relatively good fit between the hypothesized We fit a measurement model of adolescent
model and observed data. To enhance the cross- academic achievement with mathematics as the
validation adequacy of models, the Akaike infor- marker indicator. In a saturated model with 0 df,
mation criterion (Akaike, 1987; Kaplan, 2000) was the factor loadings for English, mathematics, and
monitored for its decreasing value in all nested science on the 14-year academic achievement latent
models. To specify the systems model, direct paths variable were .61, .69, and .46, respectively,
between endogenous and exogenous variables and ps < .001. The error variance of English was later
child cognitive and achievement outcomes were fixed to avoid fitting a just-identified model: A
added to the model, if their associations at the model in which English, mathematics, and science,
zero-order level were significant; nonsignificant all loaded, without covarying errors, on a single
paths were eliminated sequentially based on multi- academic achievement latent variable fit the data
variate Wald statistics. well: Y-B v2(1) = 0.13, p = .72, robust CFI = 1.00,
To provide accurate estimates of true relations SRMR = .01, RMSEA = .00. Factor loadings for
among the underlying constructs measured, we English, mathematics, and science on the 14-year
158 Bornstein, Hahn, and Wolke

academic achievement latent variable were .59, .70, parenting, and the modified HOME score were
and .46, respectively, ps < .001. omitted from the model because they did not
relate to any of the outcome measures when
evaluated simultaneously with other predictors in
Developmental Systems and Cascades
the model. This final model fit the data well: Y-B
Figure 1 shows the final cascade and systems v2(16) = 26.87, p = .04, robust CFI = 1.00, SRMR =
model. Child difficult temperament, maternal .05. RMSEA = .00, 90% CI = [.00, .02]. Controlling
for other predictors in the model, the developmen-
tal cascade showed that children who habituated
Table 2
more efficiently at 4 months and scored higher on
Descriptive Statistics for Predictor and Outcome Variables
the Griffiths at 18 months had higher IQs at 8 years
N M SD and academic achievement scores at 14 years. The
indirect effects of habituation efficiency and interim
Habituation (s) 552 39.61 40.15 cognitive measures on the 14-year English, mathe-
Griffiths Mental Development Scales 429 108.70 8.30
matics, and science tests were all significant at
General Developmental Quotienta
p < .05 or better. Children who scored lower on the
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for ChildrenUK 352 104.03 16.38
Full Scale Intelligence Quotientb
Griffiths at 18 months had more behavioral difficul-
Key Stage 3 Englishc 391 46.95 16.29 ties at 36 months, and behavior difficulties had
Key Stage 3 Mathematicsd 399 84.01 21.83 unique negative direct effects on IQ at 8 years and
Key Stage 3 Sciencee 404 100.93 24.33 academic achievement at 14 years. Maternal educa-
Infant Temperament Questionnairef 511 0.00 0.90 tion had unique positive direct effects on Griffiths
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaireg 285 5.90 5.84 at 18 months, IQ at 8 years, and academic achieve-
Mother Parenting Scoreh 523 10.49 1.50 ment at 14 years. IQ at 8 years uniquely predicted
HOME Scalei 524 8.37 2.10 14-year academic achievement.
Note. Untransformed data. Analyses were conducted on trans-
formed data. Total, Direct, and Indirect Effects
a
The GQ has M = 100.1, SD = 12.8 (Griffiths, 1984).
b
The standard score has M = 100, SD = 15. Figure 2 summarizes the relative effects of cogni-
c
Total score range = 0100.
d
Total score range = 0150. tive domain predictors, child behavior difficulties,
e
Total score range = 0180. and maternal education on adolescent academic
f
Principal axis factoring score. achievement. The total effects on adolescent
g
Total difficulties score range = 040.
h
Total score range = 014. academic achievement were for habituation effi-
i
Total score range = 012. ciency: the .03 (p < .01) indirect effect through the

Total Sample, N = 552

Behavior Difficulties .92*** (.88***)


36 Months
-.21***
(-.25***)
Maternal
Education -.22**
(-.27***)
.25*** (.24***)
.21***
(.23***) .32***
(.32***)

-.29***
(-.35***)
.13** .24*** Academic Achievement
Habituation Efficiency Griffiths IQ .64*** .28*** (.24***)
4 Months (.
( 21***) 18 Months ( )
(.23***) 8 Years ( 64***)
(. 14 Years

.64*** .41***
.70*** (.40***)
.94*** .73*** (.70***) (.64***)
(.90***) (.69***)
English Math Science

.52*** .59*** .84***


(.51***) (.59***) (.84***)

** p < .01; *** p < .001.

Figure 1. Standardized solution for cascade and systems model (N = 552).


Note. Numbers associated with single-headed arrows are standardized path coefficients; numbers associated with double-headed
arrows are standardized covariance estimates; numbers associated with dependent variables are error variances or disturbance, the
amount of variance not accounted for by paths in the model; numbers in parentheses are attenuation-corrected coefficients.
Systems and Cascades in Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement 159

Direct Eect Indirect Eect ligence has long been believed to be the best single
1 predictor of many criteria of success in life (Hunter
0.9
0.8 & Hunter, 1984; Schmidt, Ones, & Hunter, 1992),
Eect Es maate

07
0.7 educational achievement among them (Brody, 1997;
0.6
0.5 Ceci & Williams, 1997; Sternberg et al., 2001). As
0.4
0.3
we found herein general cognitive ability, captured
0.2 by childhood IQ, is strongly linked with academic
0.1
0 achievement in the humanities and sciences during
4 Months 18 Months 36 Months Maternal 8 Years IQ adolescence (Cronbach & Snow, 1977). In the Fels
Habitua on Griths Behavior Educa on
Eciency Dicul es longitudinal study, too, IQs between 3 and 18 years
Cascade and Systems Predictors of age predicted attained education and occupa-
tional status after 26 years of age (McCall, 1977).
Figure 2. Total effects, direct plus indirect effects, of cognitive
Four age-appropriate cognitive constructs relate
domain predictors, child behavior difficulties, and maternal
education on adolescent academic achievement in the final uniquely from one to the next across time from
systems model (N = 552). infancy into adolescence. This cascade revealed sig-
Note. Effect estimates are uncorrected standardized coefficients nificant (if modest) consistency in human mental
from the final model (Figure 1) and are in absolute values. development even when controlled for other per-
sonal proclivities in children (difficult temperament
cognitive cascade; for the Griffiths: the .25 (p < .001) and behavior difficulties) as well as relevant proxi-
indirect effect mediated by IQ at 8 years, and by mal and distal factors exogenous to children
behavior difficulties; for child behavior difficulties: (maternal education, enriched parenting, and the
the ).21 (p < .001) direct plus indirect effects medi- home environment). Specifically, information-pro-
ated by IQ at 8 years = ).14 (p < .01); for maternal cessing efficiency in infancy predicted a small but
education: the .25 (p < .001) direct plus indirect significant degree of cognitive status across child-
effects mediated by the Griffiths and through the hood and academic achievement in adolescence,
cognitive cascade, and by IQ at 8 years = .26 and this predictive connection appeared to reside
(p < .001); and for IQ at 8 years: the .64 (p < .001) in children themselves. The findings are consistent
direct effect. with a model of development where early emerg-
Follow-up analysis with attenuation-corrected ing cognitive abilities constitute a foundation and
coefficients indicated that the total effects on ado- monophthongal building blocks for successive steps
lescent academic achievement were for habituation of functioning. To our knowledge, only two other
efficiency: the .06 indirect effect through the cogni- studies of the predictive ability of information pro-
tive cascade; for the Griffiths: the .29 indirect effect cessing have begun so early or extended so long,
mediated by IQ at 8 years and by behavior difficul- and both arrived at similar conclusions (Fagan,
ties; for child behavior difficulties: the ).25 direct Holland, & Wheeler, 2007; Sigman, Cohen, & Beck-
plus indirect effects mediated by IQ at 8 years = with, 1997).
).17; for maternal education: the .24 direct plus Behavior difficulties at 3 years undermined aca-
indirect effects mediated by Griffiths and through demic achievement even after other factors were
the cognitive cascade, and by IQ at 8 years = .27 taken into account. Externalizing is associated with
(all ps < .001); and for IQ at 8 years: the .64 direct poorer cognitive functioning and school attainment
effect. (Odgers et al., 2008). This finding articulates with a
lack-of-control factor that Moffitt et al. (2011) iden-
tified at 3 years of age in the Dunedin sample that
also turned out to be a negative predictor of
Discussion
academics as well as health, wealth, and public
Many endogenous and exogenous factors influence safety. Some variation in human intelligence and
cognitive development and academic achievement. achievement may be attributable to genetic factors
We identified direct and indirect effects of cognitive (Posthuma et al., 2005), which we did not measure.
predictors as well as intrapersonal noncognitive In this regard, however, it is noteworthy that tem-
characteristics and extrapersonal factors. In our perament assessed at 6 months was not a predictor
resultant systems models, IQ had the largest of later academic achievement controlling for other
(total) effect on adolescent academic achievement, predictors in our systems model. Among factors
followed by maternal education, child behavior dif- extrapersonal to the children, maternal education
ficulties, Griffiths, and habituation efficiency. Intel- (reflecting, presumably, both social and genetic
160 Bornstein, Hahn, and Wolke

transmission of cognitive ability) held some predic- Key designs in developmental science are longi-
tive value for toddler general mental development, tudinal because only they can address stability and
child intelligence, and adolescent academic achieve- continuity and systemic because only they can docu-
ment. ment the independent and interdependent influ-
Piaget (1953) theorized that infant mental life ences of multiple characteristics and experiences. In
stands discontinuously apart, an assertion that this study, we combined the two and learned that
Bayley (1949) buttressed with empirical data. infant abilities, proclivities, and experiences shape
Together, these two 20th-century developmentalists toddler and child cognitive development, which in
fortified certain views of intelligence, infancy, and turn influence adolescent academic achievement.
developmentthat intelligence at different stages Developmental science carries three burdens of
of life qualitatively varies, that infant mental life description (hard), explanation (difficult), and pre-
stands apart from mental life in the balance of the diction (nearly impossible). Herein, we attempted to
life course, and that development is unstable. Our render the impossible merely difficult.
large-N, normative, prospective, long-term, longitu-
dinal, multivariate study demonstrates quantitative
stability in intelligence and that individual differ-
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