Attention trajectories, mechanisms and outcomes: at the interface between developing cognition and environment.
Attentional processes play a crucial role in prioritizing information for further processing and they therefore sit at the interface between internal goals and the challenges presented by the environment. How does attentional control interact with the changing constraints imposed by the developing cognitive system? Emerging work in this area has employed a range of complementary techniques, from increasingly refined neurocognitive measures in typically developing individuals, to the investigation of risk or protective factors influencing attention trajectories in developmental disorders. A growing corpus of data suggests that, while attentional biases for specific input characteristics (e.g. suddenly appearing stimuli, emotional expressions) are in place from infancy, it is the interplay between these predispositions, genetic and environmental factors that drives attention development over time. With the advent of multidisciplinary approaches to the developmental cognitive neuroscience of attention, unravelling these complex dynamics from infancy and their outcome on learning is increasingly within reach.