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Cognitive scientists use ‘I spy’ to show spoken language helps direct children’s eyes

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Posted April 18, 2014
IU cognitive scientists use 'I spy' to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes
A 3-year-old participant searches for objects on a screen with and without a spoken word preceding her search. Credit: Indiana University
In a new study, Indiana University cognitive scientists Catarina Vales and Linda Smith demonstrate that children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images.

Language, the study suggests, is transformative: More so than images, spoken language taps into children’s cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study, published last week in the journal Developmental Science, opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.

In the experiment, children played a series of “I spy” games, widely used to study attention and memory in adults. Asked to look for one image in a crowded scene on a computer screen, the children were shown a picture of the object they needed to find—a bed, for example, hidden in a group of couches.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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