Utilizing eye-trackers, the researchers measured the eye movements of infants, which the infants were using to control a computer. After they directly looked at a red dot on the screen, with a delay of 0.6 seconds a tone and an alternating animal picture was presented. Six to eight-month-old infants learned very quickly to summon the animal picture by gazing on the red “button”.
Targeted selection: Already at the age of six month babies learn fast to activate the correct virtual button. (Numbers indicate the fixation duration on the marked points in milliseconds)
And they could not get enough: Within a minute the six-month-old infants summoned the image with their eyes about 15 times. This study was performed by a research team from the Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology (BFNT) Frankfurt, the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) and the Goethe University in Frankfurt.
This research provides new insights into early childhood brain development. Up until now, deliberate infant actions were recorded by other movements, such as pointing or by pressing a switch. The fine motor skills of the arms and legs, however, develop only at the age of eight to ten months to the extent that the children can perform such movements. Therefore, investigations were not possible at earlier ages.
The research team led by cognitive scientist Prof. Jochen Triesch (BFNT Frankfurt, FIAS, Goethe-University) and the development psychologist Professor Monika Knopf (Goethe University) has used devices for measuring the eye movements (eye tracker) of the infants, since children are able to precisely control eye movements from the age of about four months. The experiments have shown that the children use these options intentionally: After just a few trials, the children looked at the position of the screen where the new animal picture was expected to appear before it was actually there. Even on a screen with two identical-looking red buttons they soon found out which one makes the animal picture appear and looked specifically towards it – it seems as if they understood this relationship even faster and more accurately than a control group of adult subjects that performed the same test. The research results were published in the online journal "Public Library of Science One" (PLoS One).
Eye tracking enables researchers to study the targeted actions of infants before the development of fine motor skills and language. “With this method the child’s development can be investigated earlier than before,” explains Triesch, who sees prospects for further work on brain development: “Among other things, we want to know if this method is suitable for even younger babies.”
The Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) is a multidisciplinary research institution on the theoretical investigation of complex structures in nature, which was founded by the Goethe-University Frankfurt and is financed by public donors, foundations and private sponsors. In addition to brain research, computer science, biological sciences, chemistry and physics are the focus of their work.
The Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology Frankfurt is part of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience (NNCN) in Germany. The NNCN was established by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with the aim of structurally interconnecting and developing German capacities in the new scientific discipline of computational neuroscience. The network is named after the German physiologist Julius Bernstein (1835–1917).Original publication:
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences