When do arrows start to compete? A developmental mouse-tracking study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent work in adults has suggested that the strength of social and symbolic cues not presented at fixation (but allowing eye movements to the cue) may be determined less by their biological relevance and more by the distinctiveness of the shape of the cue. The present study examines whether these results extend to children, who may differ in their relative exposure to symbolic cues (arrows) compared to social cues. Children aged 3 to 11 were presented with congruent or incongruent pairs of cues (line drawings of gazing eyes, pointing hands, and arrows) and were asked to indicate the direction of the target cue (indicated at the start of the block) by moving the mouse towards the response box indicating its direction. Results show a similar advantage for arrows and pointing hands in young children as previously found in adults, suggesting that cue shape trumps biological relevance for cues away from fixation from an early age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalActa Psychologica
Early online date28 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Attention/physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Eye Movements/physiology
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Reaction Time/physiology


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