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April 08, 2021 Thursday 04:11:14 PM IST

Development of Attention in Infants

Teacher Insights

How are babies or infants able to focus their attention on a moving object when their brains are underdeveloped? Scientists at the University of Yale conducted fMRI to scan the brains of babies when they were awake and found that the frontal cortex was utilised to focus attention. It was previously considered to be immature in babies. In a series of tests on babies aged 3-12 months, the participants were shown a screen on which a target would appear on either the left or right side. In each case, these appearances were preceded by one of three visual cues signaling where the target would appear. The cues helped babies to move their eyes to the target and brain scans revealed that the anterior cingulate cortex and middle frontal gyrus were activated in the process. This insight may help in improving early-childhood education and reveal the roots of neuro-developmental disorders.