Development of Selectivity

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:
Development of Selectivity

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  7972 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.