Development of selective attention: perceptual load influences early versus late attentional selection in children and adults.

Cynthia L. Huang-Pollock, Thomas H. Carr, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

The moderating effect of perceptual load on visual selective attention was examined in 2 studies. In Study 1, children and young adults searched displays of varying set size flanked by irrelevant distractors. Children's performance was as efficient as adults' under conditions of high but not low loads, suggesting that early selection engages rapidly maturing neural systems and late selection engages later-maturing systems. In Study 2, 4 age groups were tested, and place markers were set at empty locations to examine perceptual grouping effects. Study 1's pattem was replicated in all age groups, with onset of early selection occurring at lower loads for younger children. Overall, children initiated early selection at lower loads to compensate for immature anterior-system interference control processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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