The Pre-schooler Attention, Cognition and Social Skills (PACS) Study
As part of the PACS study, we will ask pre-school children aged 3-5 years to take part in computer-based and real-world eye-tracking experimental tasks to help answer the following research questions:
1. Do differences in children’s social and communication skills and prosocial behaviour relate to how they recognise facial expressions?
Past research has attributed emotion recognition difficulties to reduced attention to the eyes. But the factors that drive differences in attention to the eyes are not well understood. We are interested in whether individual differences in endogenous (i.e. voluntary) attention control and social motivation might underlie emotion recognition difficulties.
2. How do anxiety, social and communication skills, screen time and sleep relate to children’s ability to pay attention?
In this study we aim to test how attention control is related to differences in children’s social skills, anxiety, screen time and sleep. One of the ways we measure attention is with a visual search task, where children have to identify the ‘odd-one-out’ such as a red apple among blue apples. We are interested in how children control their attention when the target stands out versus when the target is shown alongside a distractor that is highly attention-grabbing.