Individual Differences in Infant Visual Attention: Are Short Lookers Faster Processors or Feature Processors?

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infants, habituation, language development, sensory discrimination, cognition, child development, visual stimulation, neonatal screening, child development centers


Individual differences in the duration of infants' visual fixations are reliable and stable and have been linked to differential cognitive performance; short-looking infants typically perform better than long-looking infants. 4 experiments tested the possibility of whether short lookers' superiority on perceptual-cognitive tasks is attributable to attention to the featural details of visual stimuli, or simply to differences in the speed or efficiency of visual processing. To do this, the performance of long- and short-looking 4-month-olds was examined on separate discrimination tasks that could be solved only by processing either featural or global information. The global task was easier than the featural task, but as the amount of time allotted for infants to solve either type of task was decreased, short lookers' performance was superior to that of long lookers. These results thus lend support to a speed or efficiency of stimulus processing interpretation of infant fixation duration.

Recommended Citation

Colombo, John, D. Wayne Mitchell, Jeffrey T. Coldren, and Laura J. Freeseman. "Individual differences in infant visual attention: Are short lookers faster processors or feature processors?." Child development 62, no. 6 (1991): 1247-1257.

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