School-aged children and adults performed two speeded classification tasks designed to examine the relation between selective and integrative aspects of visual attention. Stimuli consisted of two parentheses (Experiment 1) or two arrows (Experiment 2) separated by 0.5 to 16° visual angle. In a selective attention task, observers classified stimuli on the basis of one of the two elements. Younger children experienced more interference when the elements were closely spaced than older children and adults. In an integrative attention task, stimuli were classified on the basis of both of the elements. Here age differences were most pronounced when elements were separated by large visual angles. These findings suggest that the ability to contract and expand the size of the attentional "spotlight" improves with age in the school years.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology