Eye movement patterns and visual attention during scene viewing in 3-to 12-month-olds

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Recently, two attentional modes have been associated with specific eye movement patterns during scene processing. Ambient mode, characterized by short fixations and long saccades during early scene inspection, is associated with localization of objects. Focal mode, characterized by longer fixations, is associated with more detailed object feature processing during later inspection phase. The aim of the present study was to investigate the development of these attentional modes. More specifically, we examined whether indications of ambient and focal attention modes are similar in infants and adults. Therefore, we measured eye movements in 3-to 12-months-old infants while exploring visual scenes. Our results show that both adults and 12-month-olds had shorter fixation durations within the first 1.5 s of scene viewing compared with later time phases (>2.5 s); indicating that there was a transition from ambient to focal processing during image inspection. In younger infants, fixation durations between two viewing phases did not differ. Our results suggest that at the end of the first year of life, infants have developed an adult-like scene viewing behavior. The evidence for the existence of distinct attentional processing mechanisms during early infancy furthermore underlines the importance of the concept of the two modes.


FachzeitschriftVisual neuroscience : an international journal for experimental and theoretical research
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 11 Jan. 2016

Externe IDs

PubMed 28359348
ORCID /0000-0002-6673-9591/work/150883618


ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • Ambient and focal processing, Eye movements, Infants, Scene perception, Visual development