Eye tracking indices of mental attentional load in children and adults
Eye tracking is a non-invasive method that has proven invaluable in studying attention, cognitive control and other higher order mental processes. The term mental attentional capacity was introduced by Juan Pascual-Leone in the Theory of Constructive Operators within the framework of a neo-Piagetian approach to cognitive development, where it is also known as the M-operator. It corresponds to the number of schemes that can be maintained and processed in the focus of mental attention (MA) and thus could be interpreted as a maturational component of working memory. To our knowledge, no eye tracking studies have been conducted so far with parametric measures of mental attentional capacity, which involve evaluating the effect on mental attentional load on eye movements. In the current study, groups of adults and children completed all levels of MA load in two interference conditions (high and low). The results of this study show that the eye movements of adults and children during a cognitive task are affected differently by MA load.
Heritage Spanish speakers and adult immigrant bilinguals listened to wh-questions with the differential object marker a (quién/a quién ‘who/whoACC’) while their eye movements across four referent pictures were tracked. The heritage speakers were less accurate than the adult immigrants in their verbal responses to the questions, leaving objects unmarked for case at a rate of 18%, but eye movement data suggested that the two groups were similar in their comprehension, with both starting to look at the target picture at the same point in the question and identifying the target sooner with a quién ‘whoACC’ than with quién ‘who’ questions.
One merit of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is that apart from a direct school students cognitive appraisal, it enables to collect information on teachers of these students, on their education, work experience and teaching practices. The first difference method was used to determine how teachers characteristics were associated with students achievements and to overcome restrictions of TIMSS correlation design. In addition, effects of teachers characteristics were evaluated by the conventional regressions method. The discovered associations differed across subject areas, and the first difference method results differed from the conventional correlation analysis results. For mathematics the first difference method revealed negative association of reproductive tasks and collaborative learning with achievements, and tasks aimed at comprehension and development of metasubject skills showed positive association. For natural science reproductive tasks showed, on the contrary, positive association, while tasks aimed at comprehension and development of metasubject skills either did not produce any effects, or they were negative. Also, for natural science, unlike mathematics, a teachers experience considerably influenced students achievements.
Understanding the mechanisms of visual perception is important in the context of both media research and its applications in design practice. Within the functional approach to interface design, eye tracking is an established method to analyze interface efficacy. At the same time, in today's media design, many rules have been established by practitioners and remain untested. In this mixed-method study, we combine web crawling, web analytics and heat map analysis based on eye tracking, and qualitative usability analysis of composite-graphic model of a website. We check whether eye tracking test results (numeric data and heat map analysis) correlate to usability of key pages of a large website, as measured qualitatively according to recommendations of leading design literature. Among large web spaces, university website clusters represent a special type and suit well for our analysis, as they unite very different publics and are multi-task. We elaborate and pre-test the methodology on three sites of leading universities in the USA and Russia (Harvard University, Moscow State University and St.Petersburg State University). Our results suggest that there is no direct link between design-based elements of page usability and numeric eye tracking data, but heat maps show correlation with design quality; this means we need to continue checking the suggested methodology on larger number of assessors.
The article presents a review of foreign research studies of the possible effects of bilingualism on different aspects of cognitive development of an individual and on the process of the third language acquisition. Such effects are viewed as positive ones by most authors.
The analysis of cognitive competence can predict the level of a child’s develop- ment and, thus, can play an important role in their future academic progress. Although the majority of children show comparable cognitive performance for their age, some children significantly outperform their peers of the same age. Based on the Theory of Constructive Operators (TCO), children’s mental attentional capacity (i.e., the number of items that a child can simultaneously manipulate in their mind) normally increases from about 3 units when they enter school to about 7 units when they finish. In this study, we use parametric visual-spatial measures of mental-attentional capacity to examine whether we can iden- tify cognitively gifted children. In contrast to intelligence tests, which are still a popular measure of giftedness, mental-attentional capacity measures do not depend on context knowledge and have already been used in Canada, South America, Europe, and Australia (Arsalidou & Im-Bolter, 2017), supporting the theoretical prediction of mental-attentional capacity development suggested by the TCO (Pascual-Leone, 1970). We report data on more than 750 children in Moscow schools to evaluate whether Russian children follow similar stage-wise increases in mental-attentional capacity and to estimate the percentage of cog- nitively gifted children identified by these measures. Our data show agreement between the performance of Russian children and the theoretical prediction, which supports the cul- ture-fairness of the tasks. The percentage of gifted children varied from 0.22% to 9.44%, de- pending on a measure. The task that showed results closer to the theoretical expectation also reflected the percentage of cognitively gifted children similar to what was reported based on studies in the United States (0.7% to 9.9%; Lupart, & Pyryt, 1996).