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Visual selective attention is the ability to attend to relevant visual information and ignore irrelevant stimuli. Little is known about its typical and atypical development in early childhood Experiment 1 investigates typically developing toddlers' visual search for multiple targets on a touch-screen. Time to hit a target, distance between successively touched items, accuracy and error types revealed changes in 2- and 3-year-olds' vulnerability to manipulations of the search display. Experiment 2 examined search performance by toddlers with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) or Williams syndrome (WS). Both of these groups produced equivalent mean time and distance per touch as typically developing toddlers matched by chronological or mental age; but both produced a larger number of errors. Toddlers with WS confused distractors with targets more than the other groups; while toddlers with FXS perseverated on previously found targets. These findings provide information on how visual search typically develops in toddlers, and reveal distinct search deficits for atypically developing toddlers.


Journal article


Dev Sci

Publication Date





116 - 130


Attention, Child, Preschool, Female, Fragile X Syndrome, Humans, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Visual Perception, Williams Syndrome