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    Visual disengagement in young infants in relation to age, sex, SES, developmental level and adaptive functioning

    Siqueiros Sanchez, M. and Ronald, Angelica and Mason, Luke and Jones, Emily J.H. and Bolte, S. and Falck-Ytter, T. (2021) Visual disengagement in young infants in relation to age, sex, SES, developmental level and adaptive functioning. Infant Behavior and Development 63 , ISSN 0163-6383.

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    Visual attention plays a key role in infants’ interaction with the environment, and shapes their behavioral and brain development. As such, early problems with flexibly switching gaze from one stimulus to another (visual disengagement) have been hypothesized to lead to developmental difficulties (e.g. joint attention and social skills) over time. This study aimed to identify cross-sectional associations between performance in the Gap task (gaze shift latencies and visual attention disengagement) and measures of development and adaptive behavior in conjunction to any sex or socioeconomic status effects in infancy. We measured visual attention disengagement in 436 5-month-old infants and calculated its association with cognitive developmental level, adaptive behaviours, socioeconomic status (SES) and biological sex. In the Gap task, participants must redirect their gaze from a central stimulus to an appearing peripheral stimulus. The three experimental conditions of the task (Gap, Baseline and Overlap) differ on the timepoint when the central stimuli disappears in relation to the appearance of the peripheral stimulus: 200 ms before the peripheral stimulus appears (Gap), simultaneously to its appearance (Baseline), or with peripheral stimulus offset (Overlap). The data from the experimental conditions showed the expected pattern, with average latencies being the shortest in the Gap and longest in the Overlap condition. Females were faster (p = .004) than males in the Gap condition, which could indicate that arousal-related effects differ as a function of biological sex. Infants from higher SES were slower (p = .031) in the Overlap condition compared to lower SES infants. This suggests that basic visual attention may differ by socio-cultural background, and should be considered when studying visual attention and its developmental correlates. We observed no significant association to concurrent developmental level or adaptive function. Given its large sample size, this study provides a useful reference for future studies of visual disengagement in early infancy.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Angelica Ronald
    Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2021 10:22
    Last Modified: 13 Jun 2021 03:28


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