Scene exploration during development : influence of perceptual features and semantic context on visual attention

Abstract : This dissertation investigated developmental mechanism underlying scene exploration. The results showed that ambient and focal attention strategies emerge by 12 months of age. Saliency guided eye movements more in children younger than 6 years compared with older children. Additionally, objects that were semantically inconsistent with the scene context equally attracted the gaze in young children and adults. Children were, however, attracted faster to high salient than to low salient objects. High-producers looked longer to consistent objects than low-producers while both groups looked equally long to inconsistent objects. The N400 ERP component was more pronounced for inconsistent than for consistent scene-word pairs. Low-producers exhibited a later N400 effect over the right frontal recording sites while in high-producers the N400 effect was observed earlier over the left frontal sites. Our results suggest that eye movement control during scene viewing mature from infancy to childhood. Even though ambient and focal modes are present in early infancy, scene exploration is dominated by focal mode. Additionally, young children use scene context, similarly to adults, in guidance of their visual attention. However, during early stages of development saliency has a stronger effect on gaze allocation compared with adults. Visual attention was also influenced by linguistic skills in young children.
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Andrea Helo. Scene exploration during development : influence of perceptual features and semantic context on visual attention. Psychology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCB205⟩. ⟨tel-02016309⟩

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