Journal Article

Looking Without Listening: Is Audition a Prerequisite for Normal Development of Visual Attention During Infancy?

Patricia Elizabeth Spencer

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 5, issue 4, pages 291-302
Published in print September 2000 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online September 2000 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/5.4.291
Looking Without Listening: Is Audition a Prerequisite for Normal Development of Visual Attention During Infancy?

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Potential effects of auditory and other communicative experience on development of visual attention were investigated for four groups of infants at 9, 12, and 18 months of age. Participants included 20 deaf infants with deaf mothers, 19 deaf infants with hearing mothers, 21 hearing infants with hearing mothers, and 20 hearing infants with deaf mothers. Infants’ hearing status alone did not associate with patterns of visual attention. Deaf infants with deaf mothers showed significantly longer times in the most advanced attention state (coordinated joint) than did deaf infants with hearing mothers. However, other aspects of experience were associated with group differences. Both deaf and hearing children with deaf mothers who signed spent more time onlooking (or watching) their mothers than did children (deaf or hearing) with hearing mothers. Hearing children with hearing mothers spent more time looking at objects than did children with deaf mothers. Despite these differences in time in various attention states, the general trajectory of development of each of the attention states was similar across groups. Results indicate that early visual attention is associated with and potentially influenced by a complex interaction of maturation, communicative experiences, and other developing skills.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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