It’s my pleasure to inform you that our latest paper, “Higher attention bias for fear at 8 months of age is associated with better socioemotional competencies during toddlerhood”, is out in Infant Behavior and Development. In this paper, we were interested in the association between the individual variance in attention bias for faces and, specifically, fearful faces during infancy and socioemotional problems and competencies during toddlerhood. We explored attentional face and fear biases at the age of 8 months using eye tracking and the face-distractor paradigm with neutral, happy and fearful faces and a scrambled-face control stimulus. Socioemotional problems and competencies were reported by parents with the Brief Infant and Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) when children were 24 months old. A higher attentional fear bias at 8 months of age was related to higher levels of socioemotional competence at 24 months of age, when infants’ sex and temperamental affectivity, maternal age, education and depressive symptoms were controlled. We found no significant association between attentional face or fear bias and socioemotional problems. To conclude, heightened attention bias for fearful faces was related to positive outcomes in early socioemotional development. Longitudinal study designs are needed to explore the changes in the relation between the attention bias for fear or threat and socioemotional development during early childhood.
Eskola, E., Kataja, E.-L., Hyönä, J., Nolvi, S., Häikiö, T., Carter, A. S., Karlsson, H., Karlsson, L., & Korja, R. (In press). Higher attention bias for fear at 8 months of age is associated with better socioemotional competencies during toddlerhood. Infant Behavior and Development. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2023.101838