Learning to Individuate: The Specificity of Labels Differentially Impacts Infant Visual Attention

Charisse B. Pickron, Arjun Iyer, Eswen Fava, Lisa S. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study examined differences in visual attention as a function of label learning from 6 to 9 months of age. Before and after 3 months of parent-directed storybook training with computer-generated novel objects, event-related potentials and visual fixations were recorded while infants viewed trained and untrained images (n = 23). Relative to a pretraining, a no-training control group (n = 11), and to infants trained with category-level labels (e.g., all labeled “Hitchel”), infants trained with individual-level labels (e.g., “Boris,” “Jamar”) displayed increased visual attention and neural differentiation of objects after training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-710
Number of pages13
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided to Lisa Scott by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (BCS-1056805; BCS-1560810). We would like to thank Bryan Nguyen (University of California Los Angeles, UCLA Baby Lab) and Sam Hutten (SR Research, UK) for technical support, programming, testing, and analysis consultation; Dr. Gwyneth Rost (UMASS Amherst, Department of Communication Disorders) and Dr. David Shein-berg (Brown University, Department of Neuroscience) for contributing to stimulus development and design; The Center for Research on Families (UMass Amherst) and Hillary Hadley (Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst) for statistical consultation; and M. Andrade, E. Arnold, L. Banach, R. Barry-Anwar, M. Buyukozer-Dawkins, E. Glater, H. Hadley, K. Nakayassu, and A. Sabol for testing support and relevant discussion.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Child Development © 2017 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.


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