Wiggleometer: Measuring Selective Sustained Attention in Children

AbstractUnderstanding the nuanced relationship between attention and learning in young children is difficult due to the lack of developmentally appropriate measures of attention. Young children are in a measurement gap - they are too old for measures typically employed with infants and toddlers and often too young to produce useful data from more traditional measures used with older children and adults. Due to the paucity of developmentally appropriate measures it is challenging to employ best practices and utilize converging measures of attention. Additionally, existing behavioral observation methods are time consuming and can suffer from poor reliability due to their subjective nature. The present study aims to address these limitations by leveraging affordable technology to create a novel measure of attention, the Wiggleometer. The Wiggleometer is a custom chair that covertly measures body movement as an index of attention. The preliminary results help establish the concurrent validity of the measure and suggest the Wiggleometer can be employed to better predict children’s learning outcomes.

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