Cydney Stein

Year: Senior

Major(s):  Psychology, Anthropology

Mentor: Kannass, Kathleen

Department: Psychology

Project Title: Infant Cognitive Development and PsychoPhysiological Measures

Project Abstract: The goal of this study is to investigate developmental changes in how infants prioritize their attention at specific ages when different attention systems are guiding attention control. I am interested in studying how the onset on increased endogenous (internal) attention affects infants ability to allocate and prioritize their attention by comparing the resistance of the 6-7 month old (e.g. prior to the onset of endogenous attention development) and 10-11 month old (e.g. after the onset of endogenous attention development) infants. Endogenous, or internal, voluntary attention control slowly begins to emerge at approximately 9 months of age. The project will include two features in the distractibility paradigm, targets and distracters. This project will manipulate the predictability of the distracters; for half of the infants the distracters will be predictable in terms of where it appears (e.g., alternating between two computer screens in a predictable way) and for the other half it will unpredictable (e.g., alternating between two computer screens in an unpredictable way). The project will measure infant attention including the infant’s degree of concentration on the target stimuli, length of looking to the target toy, and the length of looking at the distracter. Heart rate measurements will also be recorded to more precisely measure infant attention. Attention is a fundamental component of understanding how humans complete goals and attain information throughout life.