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Quantitative Linking Hypotheses for Infant Eye Movements
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Author: Daniel Yurovsky et al.

by Daniel Yurovsky, Shohei Hidaka, Rachel Wu

The study of cognitive development hinges, largely, on the analysis of infant looking. But analyses of eye gaze data require the adoption of linking hypotheses: assumptions about the relationship between observed eye movements and underlying cognitive processes. We develop a general framework for constructing, testing, and comparing these hypotheses, and thus for producing new insights into early cognitive development. We first introduce the general framework – applicable to any infant gaze experiment – and then demonstrate its utility by analyzing data from a set of experiments investigating the role of attentional cues in infant learning. The new analysis uncovers significantly more structure in these data, finding evidence of learning that was not found in standard analyses and showing an unexpected relationship between cue use and learning rate. Finally, we discuss general implications for the construction and testing of quantitative linking hypotheses. MATLAB code for sample linking hypotheses can be found on the first author's website.