Development of gaze aversion as disengagement from visual information

G. Doherty-Sneddon, V. Bruce, L. Bonner, S Longbotham, C Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Older children, but not younger children, were found to look away more from the face of an interlocutor when answering difficult as opposed to easy questions. Similar results were found in earlier work with adults, who often avert their gaze during cognitively difficult tasks (A. M. Glenberg, J. L. Schroeder, & D. A. Robertson, 1998). Twenty-five 8-year-olds and 26 5-year-olds answered verbal reasoning and arithmetic questions of varying difficulty. The older children increased gaze aversion from the face of the adult questioner in response to both difficult verbal reasoning questions and difficult arithmetic questions. In contrast, younger children (5-year-olds) responded less consistently to cognitive difficulty. It is concluded that adultlike patterns of gaze aversion in response to cognitive difficulty are certainly acquired by 8 years of age. The implications of appropriate gaze aversion for children's management of cognitive processing resources are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-455
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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