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Why does infant attention predict adolescent intelligence?

Authors
Journal
Infant Behavior and Development
0163-6383
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
20
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0163-6383(97)90016-3
Keywords
  • Infant Attention
  • Intelligence
  • Maternal Vocalizations
Disciplines
  • Law

Abstract

Abstract Ninety-three 18-year-olds were tested with measures thought to tap information processing, sustained attention, executive function, and intelligence. The visual fixation patterns and home rearing conditions of these adolescents, born preterm, had been observed in early infancy. Infant fixation durations were negatively associated with information processing, executive function, and intelligence scores but did not predict ability to sustain attention. Continuity between infant attention and adolescent intelligence was moderated by qualities of the home environment so that “short-looking infants” whose caregivers vocalized a great deal had mean intelligence quotients that were 20 points higher than “long-looking infants” with less vocal caregivers. The results suggest that at least some of the continuity between infant attention and adolescent intelligence stems from infant capacities to process information efficiently and to inhibit prepotent responses and that this continuity is affected by caregiver responsiveness.

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