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Child Dev. 1988 Aug;59(4):1125-35.

The influence of adult intervention on infants' level of attention.

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  • 1Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY 10461.


The effects of adult intervention on infants' level of attention to objects were studied with 10-month-old infants. After a baseline measure of spontaneous attention was obtained, infants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions (low, medium, high intervention, or no-intervention control). Level of intervention was controlled by systematically varying the manner and frequency with which objects were presented, the extent to which the experimenter talked to the infant, and physical proximity. Infant attention was defined as duration of time spent examining objects. The overall duration of infant attention increased during medium intervention when compared to the control group. Baseline attention was then used to separate low and high attenders. Low attending infants attended more in medium and high intervention than in the low condition, while high attending infants were unaffected by intervention. The results show that level of intervention interacts with the child's spontaneous tendency to focus attention on objects.

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