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Title: Rethinking attention in time: expectancy violations reconcile contradictory developmental evidence
Author: Martínez Álvarez, Anna
Sanz-Torrent, Mònica
Pons Gimeno, Ferran
Diego Balaguer, Ruth de
Keywords: Desenvolupament infantil
Assaigs clínics
Child development
Clinical trials
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Temporal expectations critically influence perception and action. Previous research reports contradictory results in children's ability to endogenously orient attention in time as well as the developmental course. To reconcile this seemingly conflicting evidence, we put forward the hypothesis that expectancy violations through the use of invalid trials are the source of the mixed evidence reported in the literature. With the aim of offering new results that could reconcile previous findings, we tested a group of young children (4- to 7-year-olds), an older group (8- to 12-year-olds), and a group of adults. Temporal cues provided expectations about target onset time, and invalid trials were used such that the target appeared at the unexpected time in 25% of the trials. In both experiments, the younger children responded faster in valid trials than in invalid trials, showing that they benefited from the temporal cue. These results show that young children rely on temporal expectations to orient attention in time endogenously. Importantly, younger children exhibited greater validity effects than older children and adults, and these effects correlated positively with participants' performance in the invalid (unexpected) trials. We interpret the reduction of validity effects with age as an index of better adaptation to the invalid (unexpected) condition. By using invalid trials and testing three age groups, we demonstrate that previous findings are not inconsistent. Rather, evidence converges when considering the presence of expectancy violations that require executive control mechanisms, which develop progressively during childhood. We propose a distinction between rigid and flexible mechanisms of temporal orienting to accommodate all findings.
Note: Versió postprint del document publicat a:
It is part of: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2021, vol. 206, num. 105070
Related resource:
ISSN: 0022-0965
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Institut d'lnvestigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL))
Articles publicats en revistes (Institut de Neurociències (UBNeuro))
Articles publicats en revistes (Cognició, Desenvolupament i Psicologia de l'Educació)

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