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Attention in Early DevelopmentThemes and Variations$
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Holly Alliger Ruff and Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195136326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195136326.001.0001

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Individual Differences in Attention

Individual Differences in Attention

(p.174) 10 Individual Differences in Attention
Attention in Early Development

Holly Alliger Ruff

Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses evidence for individual differences in dimensions of attention already identified. It reviews methods for determining whether reliable individual differences exist, and discusses individual differences in reactivity to events, sustained visual orienting, and focused attention. Among newborns, differences are seen in both behavioral and physiological reactivity, but measures of these dimensions do not show stability until after early infancy. Children also differ in the amount of time they spend looking at visual displays, possibly reflecting the amount of time required to encode a display. Older infants show variability in sustained focused attention and the autonomic processes related to it. Lastly, the chapter reviews individual differences in three temperament dimensions that interact with attention: activity level, impulse control, and emotionality. All of these differences have implications for the socialization of children.

Keywords:   individual differences, reactivity, sustained looking, temperament, focused attention, autonomic measures

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