Attentional dynamics of infant visual foraging.
Young infants actively gather information about their world through visual foraging, but the dynamics of this important behavior is poorly understood, partly because developmental scientists have often equated its essential components, looking and attending. Here we describe a method for simultaneously tracking spatial attention to fixated and nonfixated locations during free looking in 12-week-old infants using steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs). Using this method, we found that the sequence of locations an infant inspects during free looking reflects a momentary bias away from locations that were recently the target of covert attention, quickly followed by the redirection of attention--in advance of gaze--to the next target of fixation. The result is a pattern of visual foraging that is likely to support efficient exploration of complex environments by facilitating the inspection of new locations in real time.
Robertson, SS; Watamura, SE; Wilbourn, MP
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