Don't look now... I'm trying to think

Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon

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What was the name of your first headteacher? Stop and think for a while... did you just look to the heavens for the answer? During difficult cognitive activity, for example remembering information, thinking of an answer to a question, planning what we are going to say, and speaking, we often close our eyes, look up at the sky, or look away from the person we are in conversation with. Adults are very good at switching off from environmental stimulation (both live faces and other sorts of visual display) in order to concentrate better. Until recently we knew very little about whether children use gaze aversion in a similar way. This is a potentially important omission, since the efficiency with which children process information influences many aspects of their development, including school progress. In this article I'll describe what our research team at stirling has been doing to investigate children's gaze aversion, including past and current work. children's patterns of gaze promise to yield important cues to their thinking, concentration and mental processing that will be useful to paretns, teachers, psychologists and anyone engaged in assessing children's knowledge and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-85
Number of pages4
JournalThe Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


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