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Priyanka Ramesh, Lynne Kiorpes; Endogenous Attention in Visually-Typical Children. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1257. doi: 10.1167/18.10.1257.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The development of attentional skills is crucial for successfully navigating normal daily life. At any given time, we have to attend to what is most relevant to us. This type of voluntary attention, endogenous attention, is known to improve performance on a wide range of visual tasks in adults. However, relatively little is known about how and when this ability develops. In this study, we examined covert endogenous attention in visually-typical 6-10 year old children – an age range when various visual and cognitive functions are approaching maturity. The aim of the study was to assess voluntary spatial attention in children using a classic spatial cueing paradigm. Four different shapes were simultaneously presented on a touch-sensitive display screen for a brief interval (400ms) while the child maintained fixation monocularly on a central cross; the non-fixating eye was patched. Following a short delay, a response cue appeared to indicate which of the 4 locations the child must report on. The task was to select the shape that had appeared at the indicated location. Attention was manipulated by preceding stimulus presentation by a brief informative cue that accurately predicted the location of the upcoming target on half of the trials; other trials were preceded by a neutral, uninformative cue. If endogneous attention is adult-like, accuracy will be higher and response latency shorter on valid cue trials. The results showed that children as young as 6 benefit from attentional cuing: they performed significantly better on trials with a valid cue than with the neutral, uninformative cue. Response latencies were also significantly shorter for the valid cue condition. No difference was found between performance with the dominant or non-dominant eye. The results showed the typical adult pattern for covert spatial attention, suggesting that efficient deployment of voluntary attention is intact in young children.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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