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Psychol Sci. 2014 Jul;25(7):1362-70. doi: 10.1177/0956797614533801. Epub 2014 May 21.

Visual environment, attention allocation, and learning in young children: when too much of a good thing may be bad.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology fisher49@andrew.cmu.edu.
2
Department of Psychology.
3
Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University.

Abstract

A large body of evidence supports the importance of focused attention for encoding and task performance. Yet young children with immature regulation of focused attention are often placed in elementary-school classrooms containing many displays that are not relevant to ongoing instruction. We investigated whether such displays can affect children's ability to maintain focused attention during instruction and to learn the lesson content. We placed kindergarten children in a laboratory classroom for six introductory science lessons, and we experimentally manipulated the visual environment in the classroom. Children were more distracted by the visual environment, spent more time off task, and demonstrated smaller learning gains when the walls were highly decorated than when the decorations were removed.

KEYWORDS:

attention; cognitive development; educational psychology; learning; open data; self-control

PMID:
24855019
DOI:
10.1177/0956797614533801
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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