This study examined the effect of attention on 3- to 6-month-olds responses to briefly exposed visual stimuli. In Study I, stimuli presented at 2.5 or 5.0 s resulted in a familiarity preference in a subsequent paired-comparison procedure. A novelty preference was found with 10.0- or 20.0-s exposure durations. In Study 2, a Sesame Street movie elicited heart-rate-defined attention phases and stimuli replaced Sesame Street during sustained attention, attention termination, or 5.0 s following attention termination. For 20 and 26-week-olds. Stimuli presented for 5.0 s during sustained attention resulted in a novelty preference similar to that found when exposure time was 20.0 s. The duration of stimulus exposure during sustained attention in the familiarization phase was positively correlated with the preference for the novel stimulus in the paired-comparison procedure. Thus, processing of briefly presented visual stimuli differs depending on the type of attention in which the infant is currently engaged.