A behavioral and electrophysiological study of children's selective attention under neutral and affective conditions

Koraly Pérez-Edgar, Nathan A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


Seven-year-olds completed a Posner cued attention task, under both neutral and affectively charged conditions. Compared to the traditional (affect-neutral) Posner task, performance in the affective Posner task was marked by dramatic decreases in reaction times (RTs), an increase in errors, an increased validity effect (difference in RTs to the cued vs. uncued trials), and increased electrocortical activity. Temperamentally shy children in the study differed from their non-shy peers within the affective Posner task only, exhibiting larger event-related potentials amplitudes and right electroencephalogram asymmetry. In addition, shy children preferentially attended to the negative cues presented during the task. These data reinforce the notion that the functional balance between cognition and affect is sensitive to both contextual and individual characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-118
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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