Although much research has examined the development of orienting to social directional cues (e.g., eye gaze), little is known about the development of orienting to nonsocial directional cues, such as arrows. Arrow cues have been used in numerous studies as a means to study attentional orienting, but the development of children's understanding of such cues has not previously been examined. It remains unclear to what extent the social nature of a cue is important for directing attention; further, it is unknown whether symbolic understanding is necessary for young children to be cued by symbols such as arrows. The present investigation explored when and how arrows cue children's attention. Our results suggest that children younger than 5 years of age orient their attention using the perceptual properties of arrows, and it is not until sometime after 5 years of age that children use the conceptual meaning of arrows to orient their attention. Understanding of the directional meaning of arrows may develop through both exogenous and endogenous orienting; we discuss possible contributions of the compression-based and selection-based learning systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health