Sustained visual attention is more than seeing

Yuan, Lei, Xu, Tian Linger, Yu, Chen and Smith, Linda (2019) Sustained visual attention is more than seeing. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 179. pp. 324-336. ISSN 0022-0965

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Sustained visual attention is a well-studied cognitive capacity that is relevant to many developmental outcomes. The development of visual attention is often construed as an increased capacity to exert top-down internal control. We demonstrate that sustained visual attention, measured in terms of momentary eye gaze, emerges from and is tightly tied to sensory-motor coordination. Specifically, we examined whether and how changes in manual behavior alter toddlers’ eye gaze during toy play. We manipulated manual behavior by giving one group of children heavy toys that were hard to pick up and giving another group of children perceptually identical toys that were lighter and easy to pick up and hold. We found a tight temporal coupling of visual attention with the duration of manual activities on the objects, a relation that cannot be explained by interest alone. Toddlers in the heavy-object condition looked at objects as much as toddlers in the light-object condition but did so through many brief glances, whereas looks to the same objects were longer and sustained in the light-object condition. We explain the results based on the mechanism of hand–eye coordination and discuss its implications for the development of visual attention.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2019 15:30
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 00:00
DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2018.11.020


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