Automatic shifts of attention in the Dimensional Change Card Sort task: subtle changes in task materials lead to flexible switching.

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Abstract or Description

Two experiments tested a hypothesis that reducing demands on executive control in a Dimensional Change Card Sort task will lead to improved performance in 3-year-olds. In Experiment 1, the shape dimension was represented by two dissimilar values (stars and flowers), and the color dimension was represented by two similar values (red and pink). This configuration of stimuli rendered shape more salient than color. In Experiment 2, attentional weights of each dimension value were manipulated by using two versus four values to represent the dimensions of shape and color. The results indicated that increasing saliency of the postswitch dimension (Experiment 1) and reducing attentional weights of individual dimension values (Experiment 2) lead to a marked improvement in the postswitch sorting accuracy in 3-year-olds.


Published In

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 1, 211-219.