Attachment and the development of attention in young children
LE3 .A278 2014
Master of Science
The current study investigated the relationship between attachment style and the development of the alerting, orienting, and executive attention systems. Children between the ages of 4 and 7 years completed the Child Attention Networks Task (CANT) and the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task (MCAST). It was expected that avoidant children, who learn to dissociate from and inhibit attention to emotional information, would show a generalized proficiency in distracter inhibition on the CANT relative to the other attachment groups, while anxious children, whose hyperactivating strategy leads them to be vigilant for attachment information, were expected to instead show an increased efficiency of the alerting and orienting systems relative to the other attachment groups. Older children (6 and 7 years old) demonstrated superior performance over younger children on trials of the CANT that tasked the executive attention system. No other age or attachment effects were found. Limitations and further directions are discussed.
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