Look at Me! Visual engagement increases attention in Children
As parents, we all tend to direct our children to look into our eyes while talking. Making eye contact as a baby is crucial for development – mostly because they can’t see that far, and they need facial expressions to understand new things and relationships. Eye contact is also a very important non-verbal communication language at any age, not just in young children. So learning how to do it at a young age is beneficial to later years.
In a study held in the University of Texas Health Science Center, it is found that making eye contact has another important aspect of increasing attention among children. There is a stimulation of norepinephrine, a fundamental chemical for brain performance, which is regulated in a brain region called the visual cortex. Norepinephrine is known to be involved in paying attention. "A certain amount of this chemical needs to be released for optimum brain performance and ability to pay attention. When a person makes a movement, such as turning the head to listen to a parent, and that is combined with visual stimulation, then more norepinephrine is released where visual information is processed. This enhances the sensory-specific attention in children.