Over the past decade, the study of attention in infancy has seen dramatic progress. This review delineates four attentional functions (alertness, spatial orienting, attention to object features, and endogenous attention) that are relevant to infancy and uses these functions as a framework for summarizing the developmental course of attention in infancy. Rudimentary forms of various attentional functions are present at birth, but each of the functions exhibits different and apparently dissociable periods of postnatal change during the first years of life. The role of attention in development should therefore be considered in the context of interaction among different systems at different levels of maturity during the first years of life.
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