Individual differences in infant fixation duration relate to attention and behavioral control in childhood

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Papageorgiou, Kostas A. ; Smith, Tim J. ; Wu, Rachel ; Johnson, Mark H. ; Kirkham, Natasha Z. ; Ronald, Angelica (2014)

Individual differences in fixation duration are considered a reliable measure of attentional control in adults. However, the degree to which individual differences in fixation duration in infancy (0–12 months) relate to temperament and behavior in childhood is largely unknown. In the present study, data were examined from 120 infants (mean age = 7.69 months, SD = 1.90) who previously participated in an eye-tracking study. At follow-up, parents completed age-appropriate questionnaires about their child’s temperament and behavior (mean age of children = 41.59 months, SD = 9.83). Mean fixation duration in infancy was positively associated with effortful control (β = 0.20, R2 = .02, p = .04) and negatively with surgency (β = −0.37, R2 = .07, p = .003) and hyperactivity-inattention (β = −0.35, R2 = .06, p = .005) in childhood. These findings suggest that individual differences in mean fixation duration in infancy are linked to attentional and behavioral control in childhood.
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