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Selective attention neutralizes the adverse effects of low socioeconomic status on memory in 9-month-old infants

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Socioeconomic status (SES) has a documented impact on brain and cognitive development. We demonstrate that engaging spatial selective attention mechanisms may counteract this negative influence of impoverished environments on early learning. We previously used a spatial cueing task to compare target object encoding in the context of basic orienting (“facilitation”) versus a spatial selective attention orienting mechanism that engages distractor suppression (“IOR”). This work showed that object encoding in the context of IOR boosted 9-month-old infants’ recognition memory relative to facilitation (Markant and Amso, 2013). Here we asked whether this attention-memory links further interacted with SES in infancy. Results indicated that SES was related to memory but not attention orienting efficacy. However, the correlation between SES and memory performance was moderated by the attention mechanism engaged during encoding. SES predicted memory performance when objects were encoded with basic orienting processes, with infants from low-SES environments showing poorer memory than those from high-SES environments. However, SES did not predict memory performance among infants who engaged selective attention during encoding. Spatial selective attention engagement mitigated the effects of SES on memory and may offer an effective mechanism for promoting learning among infants at risk for poor cognitive outcomes related to SES.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

An example of task trials presented to infants. (A) In the Facilitation spatial cueing condition, target objects were presented in the cued location. (B) In the IOR condition, the cued location is suppressed and the attention bias shifts to the noncued location. (C) Test trials included objects that were familiar to encoding objects along color and texture dimensions as well as completely novel objects for comparison. Object examples taken from Markant and Amso (2013).
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Figure 1: An example of task trials presented to infants. (A) In the Facilitation spatial cueing condition, target objects were presented in the cued location. (B) In the IOR condition, the cued location is suppressed and the attention bias shifts to the noncued location. (C) Test trials included objects that were familiar to encoding objects along color and texture dimensions as well as completely novel objects for comparison. Object examples taken from Markant and Amso (2013).

Mentions: We capitalized on the spatial cueing task (Posner, 1980) to study the role of these spatial selective attention dynamics in early learning and memory. In this task, attention is engaged at a central location while a cue appears in the periphery. After a delay, a target appears in the cued location or in the opposite, noncued location (Fig. 1). When the cue-target delay is short (<250 ms), orienting is facilitated to the previously cued location (Posner and Cohen, 1984; Posner, 1980). However, a longer cue-target delay (>250 ms) elicits suppression at the cued location and biases orienting to the non-cued location, an effect known as inhibition of return (IOR; Posner et al., 1985). This task can thus be used to compare orienting mechanisms that differentially engage the suppression component of selective attention. Both facilitation and IOR elicit attention at a target location, but only IOR involves both attention at the target location and suppression at the previously cued location.


Selective attention neutralizes the adverse effects of low socioeconomic status on memory in 9-month-old infants
An example of task trials presented to infants. (A) In the Facilitation spatial cueing condition, target objects were presented in the cued location. (B) In the IOR condition, the cued location is suppressed and the attention bias shifts to the noncued location. (C) Test trials included objects that were familiar to encoding objects along color and texture dimensions as well as completely novel objects for comparison. Object examples taken from Markant and Amso (2013).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4834267&req=5

Figure 1: An example of task trials presented to infants. (A) In the Facilitation spatial cueing condition, target objects were presented in the cued location. (B) In the IOR condition, the cued location is suppressed and the attention bias shifts to the noncued location. (C) Test trials included objects that were familiar to encoding objects along color and texture dimensions as well as completely novel objects for comparison. Object examples taken from Markant and Amso (2013).
Mentions: We capitalized on the spatial cueing task (Posner, 1980) to study the role of these spatial selective attention dynamics in early learning and memory. In this task, attention is engaged at a central location while a cue appears in the periphery. After a delay, a target appears in the cued location or in the opposite, noncued location (Fig. 1). When the cue-target delay is short (<250 ms), orienting is facilitated to the previously cued location (Posner and Cohen, 1984; Posner, 1980). However, a longer cue-target delay (>250 ms) elicits suppression at the cued location and biases orienting to the non-cued location, an effect known as inhibition of return (IOR; Posner et al., 1985). This task can thus be used to compare orienting mechanisms that differentially engage the suppression component of selective attention. Both facilitation and IOR elicit attention at a target location, but only IOR involves both attention at the target location and suppression at the previously cued location.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Socioeconomic status (SES) has a documented impact on brain and cognitive development. We demonstrate that engaging spatial selective attention mechanisms may counteract this negative influence of impoverished environments on early learning. We previously used a spatial cueing task to compare target object encoding in the context of basic orienting (&ldquo;facilitation&rdquo;) versus a spatial selective attention orienting mechanism that engages distractor suppression (&ldquo;IOR&rdquo;). This work showed that object encoding in the context of IOR boosted 9-month-old infants&rsquo; recognition memory relative to facilitation (Markant and Amso, 2013). Here we asked whether this attention-memory links further interacted with SES in infancy. Results indicated that SES was related to memory but not attention orienting efficacy. However, the correlation between SES and memory performance was moderated by the attention mechanism engaged during encoding. SES predicted memory performance when objects were encoded with basic orienting processes, with infants from low-SES environments showing poorer memory than those from high-SES environments. However, SES did not predict memory performance among infants who engaged selective attention during encoding. Spatial selective attention engagement mitigated the effects of SES on memory and may offer an effective mechanism for promoting learning among infants at risk for poor cognitive outcomes related to SES.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus