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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

Infants from low-SES homes who engaged selective attention (IOR) during encoding had reliably higher memory scores relative to infants from similarly low-SES homes who encoded targets in the Facilitation/Baseline conditions.
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Figure 3: Infants from low-SES homes who engaged selective attention (IOR) during encoding had reliably higher memory scores relative to infants from similarly low-SES homes who encoded targets in the Facilitation/Baseline conditions.

Mentions: The previous results suggest that engaging spatial selective attention (IOR) during encoding boosted recognition memory among infants from low-SES backgrounds. We conducted additional group analyses to further examine this possibility. We dichotomized each attention orienting condition into a group of infants from low-SES homes and a group of infants from high-SES homes (Facilitation/Baseline condition SES 50th percentile = −.18; IOR condition SES 50th percentile = −.14), yielding four groups of interest (Facilitation – low-SES, Facilitation – high-SES, IOR – low-SES, IOR – high-SES: Fig. 3). Post-hoc comparisons indicated that memory performance was reliably higher for low-SES infants in the IOR condition (M = 0.26, SD = 0.80) relative to low-SES infants in the Facilitation/Baseline condition (M = −0.16, SD = 0.82; t(66) = 2.09, p = .04). This further supports the conclusion that engaging spatial selective attention during encoding supported more effective learning for low-SES infants in the IOR the condition; without this added benefit, infants from similar low-SES backgrounds performed reliably worse on the recognition memory task. In contrast, there was no difference in memory performance across the Facilitation/Baseline and IOR conditions when infants were from high-SES backgrounds (MFac = 0.23, SD = 0.83;MIOR = 0.27, SD = 0.84; t(65) = 0.21, p = 0.837). This suggests that infants in the Facilitation/Baseline condition who already benefitted from high-SES backgrounds learned effectively without the additional support of spatial selective attention engagement during encoding.


Selective attention neutralizes the adverse effects of low socioeconomic status on memory in 9-month-old infants
Infants from low-SES homes who engaged selective attention (IOR) during encoding had reliably higher memory scores relative to infants from similarly low-SES homes who encoded targets in the Facilitation/Baseline conditions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: Infants from low-SES homes who engaged selective attention (IOR) during encoding had reliably higher memory scores relative to infants from similarly low-SES homes who encoded targets in the Facilitation/Baseline conditions.
Mentions: The previous results suggest that engaging spatial selective attention (IOR) during encoding boosted recognition memory among infants from low-SES backgrounds. We conducted additional group analyses to further examine this possibility. We dichotomized each attention orienting condition into a group of infants from low-SES homes and a group of infants from high-SES homes (Facilitation/Baseline condition SES 50th percentile = −.18; IOR condition SES 50th percentile = −.14), yielding four groups of interest (Facilitation – low-SES, Facilitation – high-SES, IOR – low-SES, IOR – high-SES: Fig. 3). Post-hoc comparisons indicated that memory performance was reliably higher for low-SES infants in the IOR condition (M = 0.26, SD = 0.80) relative to low-SES infants in the Facilitation/Baseline condition (M = −0.16, SD = 0.82; t(66) = 2.09, p = .04). This further supports the conclusion that engaging spatial selective attention during encoding supported more effective learning for low-SES infants in the IOR the condition; without this added benefit, infants from similar low-SES backgrounds performed reliably worse on the recognition memory task. In contrast, there was no difference in memory performance across the Facilitation/Baseline and IOR conditions when infants were from high-SES backgrounds (MFac = 0.23, SD = 0.83;MIOR = 0.27, SD = 0.84; t(65) = 0.21, p = 0.837). This suggests that infants in the Facilitation/Baseline condition who already benefitted from high-SES backgrounds learned effectively without the additional support of spatial selective attention engagement during encoding.

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