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Open AccessArticle

Attentional Flexibility Predicts A-Not-B Task Performance in 14-Month-Old-Infants: A Head-Mounted Eye Tracking Study

1
Department of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Utrecht University, 3584CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
2
Department of Health, Medical, and Neuropsychology, Leiden University, 2333AK Leiden, The Netherlands
3
Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, 3584CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(5), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10050279
Received: 10 January 2020 / Revised: 23 April 2020 / Accepted: 30 April 2020 / Published: 5 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Study of Eye Movements in Infancy)
Early individual differences in executive functions (EFs) are predictive of a range of developmental outcomes. However, despite the importance of EFs, little is known about the processes underlying these early individual differences. Therefore, we investigated the association between 14-month-old infants’ attention on a reaching version of the A-not-B task and task success. We hypothesized that both strategic focused attention (measured as percentage looking time towards the correct location during delay) and attentional flexibility (measured as number of looks per second to available stimuli during delay) would relate positively to task performance. Infants performed the A-not-B task wearing a head-mounted eye tracker (N = 24). Results were trial-dependent and partially supported the hypotheses: (1) infants who were better able to flexibly shift attention between available stimuli on the first pre-switch trial showed better task performance overall; and (2) strategic focused attention to the hiding location during the first switch trial was positively related to performance on that particular trial only (trend-level effect). Thus, the study shows preliminary evidence that particularly attentional flexibility is a key factor underlying EF performance in young children. Advantages and challenges of working with head-mounted eye tracking in infants are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: looking behavior; infancy; executive function; attention; head-mounted eye tracking; A-not-B task looking behavior; infancy; executive function; attention; head-mounted eye tracking; A-not-B task
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Mulder, H.; Van Houdt, C.A.; J. M. Van der Ham, I.; Van der Stigchel, S.; Oudgenoeg-Paz, O. Attentional Flexibility Predicts A-Not-B Task Performance in 14-Month-Old-Infants: A Head-Mounted Eye Tracking Study. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 279.

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