Research ArticleDEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE

Infants tailor their attention to maximize learning

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Science Advances  23 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 39, eabb5053
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb5053
  • Fig. 1 A trial of the learning task.

    The cue looms in the center of the screen. After 750 ms, the target rotates in one of the four quadrants. ITI, intertrial interval; ISI, interstimulus interval.

  • Fig. 2 The ideal learner model.

    At the beginning of a sequence, the ideal learner has no expectations on where the target will appear. The four locations (A, B, C, and D) are equally probable. At each following trial, probabilities are updated depending on the observed target location. The ideal learner then estimates surprise, predictability, and learning progress.

  • Fig. 3 Results of the generalized additive model.

    Surprise (A), predictability (B), and learning progress (C) independently affected infant’s probability of looking away. Probability of looking away is expressed in terms of hazard. The effect of time was controlled while estimating the effects of the three information-theoretic variables. Model comparison showed that the full model with all regressors had a statistically better model fit than any other partial model (table S1). A follow-up generalized linear model (GLM) returned beta coefficients and effect sizes for each regressor (table S2).

  • Fig. 4 Results of the GLMs for saccadic latency and looking time.

    Saccadic latency correlates with surprise and predictability (A), while looking time correlates with the learning progress (B). On the y axis, the size of beta coefficients for the three variables of interest (surprise, predictability, and learning progress) is given. Time was added as covariate to both models. Its effect was small but significant (see tables S4 and S5). Also, saccadic latency was added as covariate when estimating the effects of information-theoretic constructs on looking time (see Materials and Methods). *P < 0.05.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    Infants tailor their attention to maximize learning

    F. Poli, G. Serino, R. B. Mars, S. Hunnius

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    The PDF file includes:

    • Tables S1 to S5
    • Legend for movie S1

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