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Title: Time perception in infants : an exploration using eye tracking methodology
Author: Mansfield, Eileen Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 5356
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2012
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Using eye tracking methodology, this thesis investigates if four-month-old infants can perceive short time intervals, as sensitivity to temporal parameters underlies cognitive development. Whilst the thesis draws on theoretical frameworks of understanding how animals and humans perceive short time intervals, it extends the framework, enabling the application of one developmental model of timing to be used with much younger children (four-months-old infants, formerly children aged three years old). Six eye tracking experiments investigated how infants perceive time intervals and the factors that might influence that ability. One hundred and nine typically developing four-month- old infants participated in the experiments, from which six main findings emerged. First, overt behavioural evidence of infants keeping time over several stimulus sequences was obtained by using eye tracking methodology. This is the first time that this ability has been demonstrated using eye tracking which clearly indicates the focus of the infant's attention. Second, using naturalistic stimulus sequences young infants demonstrated a clear ability to perceive a number of different time intervals within one testing session, indicating the importance of using salient stimuli. Third, various influencing factors were observed to facilitate or hinder time perception such as speed of sequence presentation and the simultaneous presentation of both auditory and visual stimulus respectively. Fourth, the use of different information processing strategies to encode the stimuli revealed further differences in time perception. Fifth, and for the first time in these types of experiments, an infant-adapted temporal generalisation task has revealed similar results to children and animals. Sixth, infants demonstrated continued gaze-following over several stimulus sequences after a period of mutual gaze. Several issues concerning the processes underlying infant cognitive development are discussed together with their implications for later learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral