Be there on time: Spatial-temporal regularities guide young children’s attention in dynamic environments
Nobre, Anna C
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Nir Shalev, Sage Boettcher, Hannah Wilkinson, Gaia Scerif, Anna Nobre. Be there on time: Spatial-temporal regularities guide young children’s attention in dynamic environments . PsyarXiv Preprints
It is believed that children have difficulties in guiding attention while facing distraction. However, developmental accounts of spatial attention rely on traditional search designs using static displays. In real life, dynamic environments can embed regularities that afford anticipation and benefit performance. We developed a dynamic visual-search task to test the ability of children to benefit from spatio-temporal regularities to detect goal-relevant targets appearing within an extended dynamic context amidst irrelevant distracting stimuli. We compared children and adults in detecting predictable vs. unpredictable targets fading in and out among competing distracting stimuli. While overall search performance was poorer in children, both groups detected more predictable targets. This effect was confined to task-relevant information. Additionally, we report how predictions are related to individual differences in attention. Altogether, our results indicate a striking capacity of prediction-led guidance towards task-relevant information in dynamic environments, refining traditional views about poor goal-driven attention in childhood.
Published online at:
- Neuropsychology