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Journal Article


Richards JE. Psychophysiology 1989; 26(4): 422-430.


(Copyright © 1989, Society for Psychophysiological Research, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






Infants were studied at 14, 20, and 26 weeks of age in a longitudinal design. They were presented with varying and complex patterns on a TV screen. Two-thirds of the presentations were accompanied by a stimulus in the periphery delayed in time from the onset of fixation on the central stimulus. As in previous research, the infants were not as easily distracted by the interrupting stimulus when the presentation occurred at the point of maximal heart rate deceleration as when the presentation occurred at the end of the heart rate response. Infants with large amounts of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (i.e., heart rate variability) in a baseline recording were less distractible during the deceleration-defined trials than were infants with low amounts of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Intra-individual patterns of development in respiratory sinus arrhythmia over the testing ages were closely paralleled by patterns of heart rate responding during sustained attention. Individual differences in baseline levels of heart rate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia were more stable than individual differences in sustained attention. The stability of attention responses over age may be mediated by the stability of the physiological system (e.g., heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, etc.), and by the within-age relation of attention to heart rate variability.

Language: en


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