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Newborns’ attention is driven by the translational movement

By Laila Craighero, Marco Lunghi, Irene Leo, Valentina Ghirardi and Francesca Simion


The present study investigated whether 2-day-old newborns are able to discriminate two translating meaningless Point-Light Displays (PLD) videos, in which the shape of one of them changes compared to that of the other along the trajectory, independently from movement kinematics, and if this ability is present both when stimuli differed at the end or at the beginning of the movement. To manipulate the instant in which along the movement the difference between stimuli was evident, and to maintain every unspecific dissimilarity possibly determining the preference, videos were played in a loop either forward or backwards. In Experiment 1, PLD stimuli moved with natural accelerated-decelerated kinematics; in Experiment 2 they moved at constant velocity. Four groups of newborns were submitted to the preferential looking technique experiments. Results showed that newborns looked longer at natural kinematics and that, irrespective of the type of kinematics, they discriminated the two stimuli only when videos were played forward, that is, only when stimuli differed at the end of the movement. These data suggest that, independently from kinematics, movement translational components induce newborns to allocate attention at the end of the observed movement. Given the strict link between attention and eye movements, we suggest that this effect may bootstrap the system and give rise to proactive gaze, the typical gaze behaviour present during executed and observed goal-directed actions

Topics: Biological motion, Point Light Displays, preferential looking technique, proactive gaze, sensory-motor representations
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13506285.2017.1322651
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