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Mental Attentional Capacity and Eye Tracking

Cognitive competence is fundamental for learning and problem-solving.  Mental attentional capacity corresponds to the amount of information an individual can simultaneously hold and manipulate in mind and represents the maturational component of working memory.  Working memory capacity has been shown to be closely related to other cognitive abilities and intelligence and working memory dysfunction can be used as a indicator and predictor of various cognitive and neurological disorders, including developmental disorders. Research into relation between eye movements and mental attentional capacity across development is sparse and fragmented, due to differences in theoretical approaches and use of unique combinations of eye-tracking indices and working memory tasks. Moreover, to our knowledge, no eye tracking studies have been conducted so far with parametric developmental measures, such as the colour matching tasks, which would allow to dissociate changes in saccades and fixations related to working memory load (n = 6) from those related to interference control and trace the maturation of these two processes. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relation between eye-tracking indices and mental attentional capacity. In the sphere of education, this research would provide an objective way to assess cognitive load of various school assignments and tailor the curriculum to children’s developmental changes. It could also potentially serve to develop a reliable, culture fair and simple alternative to current intelligence measures, sensitive to factors such as motivation, effort and strategy use. 

Speaker: Valentina Bachurina, Master`s Student.