Individual Differences in Attention

Holly Alliger Ruff and Mary Klevjord Rothbart

in Attention in Early Development

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195136326
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894031 | DOI:
Individual Differences in Attention

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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

Chapter.  12491 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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