Learning (to Learn) from Spatial Attention Cues During Infancy


Human infants develop a variety of attentional mechanisms that allow them to extract relevant information from a cluttered world. We know that both social and non-social cues shift infants’ attention, but not how infants use these cues to learn basic events. With over 450 infants, four extensive eye-tracking studies in this thesis established a controlled paradigm for investigating how attention cues shape early learning. Our results showed that though social cues may temporarily detract attention away from certain learning events in the world, they appear to stimulate infants to display better learning about the cued event than when infants learn with other attention cues or on their own without attention cues.

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