Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
  Building & construction
  Coal & steel
  Industrial processes & robotics
  Materials & products
  Nanotechnology
  Standards, measures & testing
  Other
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Indonesia
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malaysia
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Panama
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Thailand
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States
  Vietnam


   Industrial research

Last Update: 08-03-2012  
Related category(ies):
Information society  |  Health & life sciences  |  Industrial research  |  Research policy

 

Add to PDF "basket"

Infant eye movement and cognition

Interactions between infants and their environment are limited because of the infants' poor motor abilities. So investigating infant cognition is no easy task. Which sensory event is the result of the infant's own motor action and which one is not? Researchers from the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and from Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt am Main in Germany may have found the answer. Their research was funded in part by the IM-CLEVER ('Intrinsically motivated cumulative learning versatile robots') project, which is supported under the 'Information and communications technologies' (ICT) Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 5.9 million.

Babies © Shutterstock
Babies
©  Shhutterstock

Despite the limitations in the study of infant cognition, eye movements can be used because they reach high accuracy early. In this latest study, presented in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers used real-time eye tracking to put six- and eight-month-old infants in direct control of their visual surroundings. This allowed the team to evaluate the problem of discovery of agency, what experts define as the ability to infer that some sensory events are triggered by one's own actions.

Their results show that infants quickly learn to perform eye movements to produce the appearance of new stimuli. Infants, therefore, have the capacity to discover new ways of controlling their environment.

'In contrast to previous paradigms for studying infant cognition based on looking behaviour, our paradigm gives infants direct control over the physical environment, allowing them to change what is "out there" with their eye movements', the authors of the study write. 'Such gaze-contingent paradigms based on eye-tracking have been explored with adult subjects before, but only recently has it become possible to apply eye tracking to infants. The ability of infants to quickly discover new ways of controlling their environment that we demonstrate here, paves the way for truly interactive new paradigms for studying infant learning and cognition, and may provide a basis for novel training and medical intervention strategies.'

Infants can discover novel forms of agency, according to the team. These babies learn to manipulate their environment by using their eyes in a gaze-contingent paradigm. This occurs when the infants select fixation targets that generate specific sensory outcomes. They also have the ability to quickly anticipate the outcomes of their actions.

'Previous approaches to studying instrumental conditioning in infants were limited by the comparatively crude and stereotyped motor skills that they considered, including sucking and leg kicking,' the authors write. 'The central advantage of the gaze contingent paradigm is that it taps into a large repertoire of discernible actions (eye movements to various objects or locations, or possibly eye blinks) that infants can perform.'

The team says gaze-contingent paradigms based on eye tracking technology could be beneficial in comparison to classic non-eye–tracking paradigms for investigating infant learning and cognition.

The team writes: 'First, they extract very rich and detailed behavioural data. Second, they allow studying various aspects of infant cognition in an interactive fashion, giving young infants, who are very restricted by their language and motor abilities, the possibility to communicate with and act on the outside world. Third, by putting infants in control of their environment, gaze contingent paradigms are likely more engaging and satisfying for the infant.'


Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies
Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt am Main





  Top   Research Information Center