The Wall Street Journal:
A few years ago, in my book “The Philosophical Baby,” I speculated that children might actually be more conscious, or at least more aware of their surroundings, than adults. Lots of research shows that we adults have a narrow “spotlight” of attention. We vividly experience the things that we focus on but are remarkably oblivious to everything else. There’s even a term for it: “inattentional blindness.” I thought that children’s consciousness might be more like a “lantern,” illuminating everything around it.
To study this problem, Daniel Plebanek and Vladimir Sloutsky at Ohio State University tested how much children and adults notice about objects and how good they are at detecting changes. The experimenters showed a series of images of green and red shapes to 34 children, age 4 and 5, and 35 adults. The researchers asked the participants to pay attention to the red shapes and to ignore the green ones. In the second part of the experiment, they showed another set of images of red and green shapes to participants and asked: Had the shapes remained the same or were they different?
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