Profiles of Naturalistic Attentional Trajectories Associated with Internalizing Behaviors in School-Age Children: A Mobile Eye Tracking Study

Kelley E. Gunther*, Xiaoxue Fu, Leigha MacNeill, Alicia Vallorani, Briana Ermanni, Koraly Pérez-Edgar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The temperament profile Behavioral Inhibition (BI) is a strong predictor of internalizing behaviors in childhood. Patterns of attention towards or away from threat are a commonality of both BI and internalizing behaviors. Attention biases are traditionally measured with computer tasks presenting affective stimuli, which can lack ecological validity. Recent studies suggest that naturalistic visual attention need not mirror findings from computer tasks, and, more specifically, children high in BI may attend less to threats in naturalistic tasks. Here, we characterized latent trajectories of naturalistic visual attention over time to a female stranger, measured with mobile eye tracking, among kindergarteners oversampled for BI. Group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM) revealed two latent trajectories: 1) high initial orienting to the stranger, gradual decay, and recovery, and 2) low initial orienting and continued avoidance. Higher probability of membership to the “avoidant” group was linked to greater report of internalizing behaviors. We demonstrate the efficacy of mobile eye tracking in quantifying naturalistic patterns of visual attention to social novelty, as well as the importance of naturalistic measures of attention in characterizing socioemotional risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-648
Number of pages12
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • Affect-biased attention
  • Attention trajectories
  • Behavioral inhibition
  • Ecological validity
  • Eye tracking
  • Internalizing behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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