The Role of Orbitofrontal Cortex in Processing Empathy Stories in 4- to 8-Year-Old Children
Three experiments tested for developmental changes in attention to simple auditory and visual signals. Subject pressed a single button in response to the onset (Experiment 1) or offset (Experiment 2) of either a tone or a light. During one block of trials subjects knew which stimulus would come on or go off on each trial (precue condition) whereas during the other block of trials no precue was provided. In both experiments subjects as young as 4 years old responded more rapidly with precues, indicating that they were able to allocate their attention to the indicated modality. Experiment 3 utilized a choice reaction paradigm (in which subjects pressed different buttons in response to the onset of the light and the tone) in order to examine their attention allocation when no precues were provided. It was found that the adults and 7-year-olds tended to allocate their attention to vision rather than audition when no precue was provided. The results with the 4-year-olds were not entirely consistent, but suggested a similar biasing of attention to vision on their part as well.