Using Developmental Approaches to Study Emerging Attention to Threat and Socio-Emotional Functioning


Recent work from Dr. Xiaoxue "Jessie" Fu and Dr. Koraly Pérez-Edgar examines important methodological considerations for conducting developmental work assessing emerging patterns of attention to threat and their relation to socio-emotional functioning. Much of the previous work examining attention to threat and its relation to anxiety has relied on single, stationary eye-tracking paradigms. While this work has provided researchers with valuable information regarding potential relations between attention to threat and anxiety, it is important that as a field we begin to improve upon our current methods to best assess how attention and socio-emotional development my simultaneously unfold. First, we need longitudinal studies that can examine how patterns of attention may change over time, shaping socio-emotional development. Second, studies must integrate multiple measures of attention to best capture the multifaceted nature of attention to threat and its relations to socio-emotional development. Finally, mobile eye-tracking may provide valuable information about how real-world attention impacts socio-emotional development in ways that less naturalistic paradigms, such as stationary eye-tracking tasks, are unable to capture. The full article appears in Developmental Review.