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:
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering