Visual Attention

Patricia E. Spencer, M. Virginia Swisher and Robyn P. Waxman

in The World of Deaf Infants

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780195147902
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893775 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives on Deafness

Visual Attention

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  • Developmental Psychology


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Throughout infancy, “eye contact,” or gaze between infant and caregiver, plays a meaningful role in interactions and, therefore, in social and emotional development. Vision and visual attention also play a critical role in cognitive and linguistic development by giving infants a way to learn about persons, objects and events. This chapter begins with a brief summary of existing information about the development of visual attention by hearing children with hearing parents, on whom most studies have focused. This is followed by a summary of available information about the development of visual attention by deaf children. The chapter then presents the analyses of results from the longitudinal observational study of visual attention of infants in the four groups addressed in this book—and the maternal behaviors which appear to support the development of visual behaviors by infants who are deaf or have deaf mothers. Because of the differing hearing status in dyads, the results suggest the degree to which interactive experiences, in addition to infant hearing status, influence attention development.

Keywords: visual attention; infancy; gaze; eye contact; emotional development

Chapter.  8762 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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