Gaze Behaviors of Preterm and Full‐Term Infants in Nonsocial and Social Contexts of Increasing Dynamics: Visual Recognition, Attention Regulation, and Gaze Synchrony
Although research has demonstrated poor visual skills in premature infants, few studies assessed infants’ gaze behaviors across several domains of functioning in a single study. Thirty premature and 30 full‐term 3‐month‐old infants were tested in three social and nonsocial tasks of increasing complexity and their gaze behavior was micro‐coded. In a one‐trial version of the visual recognition paradigm, where novel stimuli were paired with familiar stimuli, preterm infants showed longer first looks to novel stimuli. In the behavior response paradigm, which presented infants with 17 stimuli of increasing complexity in a predetermined “on‐off” sequence, premature infants tended to look away from toys more during presentation. Finally, during mother–infant face‐to‐face interaction, the most dynamic interpersonal context, preterm infants and their mothers displayed short, frequent episodes of gaze synchrony, and lag‐sequential analysis indicated that both mother and infant broke moments of mutual gaze within 2 sec of its initiation. The propotion of look away during the behavior response paradigm was related to lower gaze synchrony and more gaze breaks during mother–infant interactions. Results are discussed in terms of the unique and adaptive gaze patterns typical of low‐risk premature infants.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
10.1111/j.1532-7078.2010.00037.x About DOI