Age and individual differences in infant visual attention and oral exploration during an object examination task

Squires, Susan E. G. (2003) Age and individual differences in infant visual attention and oral exploration during an object examination task. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The primary purpose of the present study was to investigate age and individual differences in visual attention and oral exploration in 6- and 11-month old infants. An infant-controlled habituation procedure with an object examination task was used to assess visual attention and oral exploration. This task yields the visual components of casual looking (a passive form of attention) and examining (an active form of visual information processing), and a measure of oral exploration, active mouthing. In addition, use of the object examination task allowed infants to be categorized as long or short lookers based on a median split of their peak examining times on the habituation trials. Performance on the object examination task was then compared to performance on the Fagan Test of Recognition Memory. Results revealed that long lookers scored lower than short lookers on the Fagan test, indicating that the individual differences in examining may influence performance on other visual attention tasks. In addition: (1) long lookers took longer to habituate than short lookers, (2) 6-month-olds engaged in more casual looking but less examining than 11-month-olds during habituation, (3) long lookers spent more time in casual looking and examining than did short lookers during habituation, (4) 6-month-olds engaged in significantly more active mouthing followed by examining than 11-month-olds. Therefore, younger infants do not appear to engage in as much active visual processing as older infants, but may use oral behaviour as a means of exploration. Furthermore, short lookers did not engage in as much examining as long lookers, which may be a reflection of their more efficient visual processing ability. These findings are important as they indicate that measures of active information processing such as examining and active mouthing should be considered when assessing the developing cognitive capabilities of young infants.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6983
Item ID: 6983
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 67-79.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 2003
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Visual perception in infants; Attention in infants; Recognition (Psychology)

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