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Cardiac and visual responses to stimuli presented both foveally and peripherally as a function of speed of moving stimuli

Cardiac and visual responses to stimuli presented both foveally and peripherally as a function of speed of moving stimuli

Developmental Psychology 18(5): 692-698

Heart rate and visual fixation responses were measured as indexes of attention getting and attention holding in 15-wk-old infants. The stimulus situation was one in which a brief central stimulus was followed by either a brief peripheral stimulus (attention-getting trials) or a prolonged peripheral stimulus (attention-holding trials). The stimuli for both central and peripheral presentations were moving black and white bar patterns. The speed for the central stimulus was constant over trials and groups (at 6.6.degree./s), whereas the peripheral stimuli were either 6.6.degree./s or 26.degree./s. The results tend to suggest that much of the observed change in heart rate can be accounted for by the attention-getting phase, whereas the attention-holding phase was reflected in the time it took for the cardiac responses to return to prestimulus baseline values. Stimulus speed also affected both attention behaviors; the faster speed produced the greatest change in heart rate response. Latency of 1st fixation and duration of looking measures did not show any discrimination between stimuli of different speed.

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