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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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Development of Selectivity

Development of Selectivity

(p.75) 5 Development of Selectivity
Attention in Early Development

Holly Alliger Ruff

Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the processes that determine what is selected for attention and how changing selection reflects developmental transitions. Although what is selected depends on the developing capacity of the receptors, a number of inhibitory mechanisms also ensure that, after 2 to 3 months, attention is more strongly influenced by experience. Novelty is especially important from 3 to 9 months when the orienting/investigative system is dominant. However, selectivity also changes as a result of emotional and social development, with fear of strangers, for example, and its attentional concomitants, becoming evident around 9 months. With the development of the second, high-level system of attention, the older infant and toddler becomes increasingly sensitive to the others' line of regard and more skilled at directing the attention of others.

Keywords:   visual preferences, novelty, habituation, inhibitory mechanisms, social attention

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