Endogenously-but not Exogenously-driven Selective Sustained Attention is Related to Learning in a Classroom-like Setting in Kindergarten Children

Lucy Erickson, Erik Thiessen, Karrie Godwin, John Dickerson, Anna Fisher
Selective sustained attention (SSA) is vital for higher order cognition. Although endogenous and exogenous factors influence SSA, assessment of the degree to which these factors influence performance and learning is often challenging. We report findings from the Track-It task, a paradigm that aims to assess the contribution of endogenous and exogenous factors to SSA within the same task. Behavioral accuracy and eye-tracking data on the Track-It task were correlated with performance on a
more » ... rmance on a learning task. Behavioral accuracy and fixations to distractors did not predict learning when exogenous factors supported SSA. In contrast, fixations to distractors were negatively correlated with learning when endogenous factors supported SSA. Similarly, higher behavioral accuracy was correlated with greater learning when endogenous factors supported SSA. These findings suggest that although children showed equivalent levels of distractibility when exogenous and endogenous factors supported SSA, different conditions of the Track-It task likely engaged different attentional control mechanisms.