Dimensional experience induces attention shifting in the dimensional change card sort (DCCS) task


The dimensional change card sort (DCCS) task is a model paradigm for studying developmental change attention switching during childhood. In the DCCS, children are asked to sort two-dimensional cards (e.g., blue star) by one dimension and then again by the other. Typically, 3-year-olds fail to switch dimensions, continuing to sort the cards by the first dimension. Four-year-olds readily switch dimensions. The source of this sudden developmental change has been widely debated. A recent proposal is that only older children are able to selectively attend to one dimension, enabling them to flexibly switch the dimension along which they sort. We present results showing that experience matching values along one dimension prior to participating in the DCCS task facilitates 3-year-olds’ ability to switch dimensions. We implemented this experience in a dynamic neural field model of DCCS performance and found that it mimicked developmental change in dimensional attention in the model.

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