Eloisa Valenza

Eloisa Valenza
University of Padova | UNIPD · Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation

About

48
Publications
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1,930
Citations

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
Full-text available
The possibility of predicting the specific features of forthcoming environmental events is fundamental for our survival since it allows us to proactively regulate our behaviour, enhancing our chance of survival. This is particularly crucial for stimuli providing socially relevant information for communication and interaction, such as faces. While i...
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Evidence of attentional atypicalities for faces in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are far from being confirmed. Using eye-tracking technology we compared space-based and object-based attention in children with, and without, a diagnosis of ASD. By capitalizing on Egly's paradigm, we presented two objects (2 faces and their phase-scrambled equivalen...
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Full-text available
Do novel linguistic labels have privileged access to attentional resources compared to non-linguistic labels? This study explores this possibility through two experiments with a training and an attentional overlap task. Experiment 1 investigates how novel label and object-only stimuli influence resource allocation and disengagement of visual attent...
Article
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Efficiency in the early ability to switch attention toward competing visual stimuli (spatial attention) may be linked to future ability to detect rapid acoustic changes in linguistic stimuli (temporal attention). To test this hypothesis, we compared individual performances in the same cohort of Italian-learning infants in two separate tasks: (i) an...
Article
Prosodic cues drive speech segmentation and guide syllable discrimination. However, less is known about the attentional mechanisms underlying an infant’s ability to benefit from prosodic cues. This study investigated how 6- to 8-month-old Italian infants allocate their attention to strong vs. weak syllables after familiarization with four repeats o...
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In typical motor development progress in use of goal-directed actions and communicative gestures depends on the inhibition of several primitive reflexes, especially those that involve the hand or mouth. This study explored the relationship between the persistence of primitive reflexes that involve the hand or mouth and the motor repertoire in a sam...
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Rule learning is a mechanism that allows infants to recognize and generalize rule-like patterns, such as ABB or ABA. Although infants are better at learning rules from speech vs. non-speech, rule learning can be applied also to frequently experienced visual stimuli, suggesting that perceptual expertise with material to be learned is critical in enh...
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Orienting visual attention allows us to properly select relevant visual information from a noisy environment. Despite extensive investigation of the orienting of visual attention in infancy, it is unknown whether and how stimulus characteristics modulate the deployment of attention from birth to 4 months of age, a period in which the efficiency in...
Article
The spatial attention mechanisms of orienting and zooming collaborate to properly select relevant visual information from a noisy environment and plan eyes movements. Despite the orienting ability has been extensively studied in infancy, the zooming mechanism -i.e. the ability to distribute the attentional resources to a small or large portion of t...
Article
The spatial attention mechanisms of orienting and zooming cooperate to properly select visual information from the environment and plan eye movements accordingly. Despite the fact that orienting ability has been extensively studied in infancy, the zooming mechanism – namely, the ability to distribute the attentional resources to a small or large po...
Article
The ability to recognize and generalize abstract information in rule-like patterns is termed Rule Learning and is available from 7 months of age. Although some studies suggest the RL is domain-specific to language, others suggest that it is not specific to language and that the familiarity of the stimuli matters more than whether the input is lingu...
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Object-based attention operates on perceptual objects, opening the possibility that the costs and benefits humans have to pay to move attention between-objects might be affected by the nature of the stimuli. The current study reported two experiments with adults and 8-month-old infants investigating whether object-based-attention is affected by the...
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Since subthreshold autistic social impairments aggregate in family members, and since attentional dysfunctions appear to be one of the earliest cognitive markers of children with autism, we investigated in the general population the relationship between infants' attentional functioning and the autistic traits measured in their parents. Orienting an...
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Recent studies have shown that infants' face recognition rests on a robust face representation that is resilient to a variety of facial transformations such as rotations in depth, motion, occlusion or deprivation of inner/outer features. Here, we investigated whether 3-month-old infants' ability to represent the invariant aspects of a face is affec...
Article
Visual attention is one of the infant's primary tools for gathering relevant information from the environment for further processing and learning. The space-based component of visual attention in infants has been widely investigated; however, the object-based component of visual attention has received scarce interest. This scarcity is surprising, g...
Article
This study presents the first evidence that 3-month-old infants success in a timing matching task and in an ordinal timing task, when numerical information is controlled. Three-month-old infants discriminated brief temporal durations that differed by a 1:3 ratio, relying solely on temporal information. Moreover, at 3 months of age infants were able...
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Statistical learning - implicit learning of statistical regularities within sensory input - is a way of acquiring structure within continuous sensory environments. Statistics computation, initially shown to be involved in word segmentation, has been demonstrated to be a general mechanism that operates across domains, across time and space, and acro...
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The present study aimed to investigate whether perceptual completion is available at birth, in the absence of any visual experience. An extremely underspecified kinetic visual display composed of four spatially separated fragments arranged to give rise to an illusory rectangle that occluded a vertical rod (illusory condition) or rotated so as not t...
Article
Five experiments examined 79 newborns' ability to discriminate and categorize a spatial relation, defined by the left-right spatial position of a blinking object-target with respect to a vertical landmark-bar. Three-day-old infants discriminated the up versus low position of an object located on the same side of the landmark-bar (Experiment 1) and...
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The aim of the present study was to investigate how perceptual binding and selective attention operate during infants' and adults' visual search of an illusory figure. An eye-tracker system was used to test adults and infants in two conditions: illusory and non-illusory (real). In the illusory condition, a Kanizsa triangle was embedded among distra...
Article
Many studies have shown that newborns prefer (e.g. Goren, Sarty & Wu, 1975; Valenza, Simion, Macchi Cassia & Umiltà, 1996) and recognize (e.g. Bushnell, Say & Mullin, 1989; Pascalis & de Schonen, 1994) faces. However, it is not known whether, at birth, faces are still preferred and recognized when some of their parts are not visible because hindere...
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Past research has shown that top-heaviness is a perceptual property that plays a crucial role in triggering newborns' preference toward faces. The present study examined the contribution of a second configural property, congruency, to newborns' face preference. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that when embedded in nonfacelike stimuli, congruency i...
Article
The present study was aimed at investigating whether, because of a differential sensitivity between the upper and the lower visual fields, in a visual preference task newborns would orient more frequently and look longer at patterns with a great number of high–contrast areas in the upper or lower visual field. Newborns were presented with three pai...
Article
Previous research, in which static figures were used, showed that the ability to perceive illusory contours emerges around 7 months of age. However, recently, evidence has suggested that 2-3-month-old infants are able to perceive illusory contours when motion information is available (Johnson & Mason, 2002; Otsuka & Yamaguchi, 2003). The present st...
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The present chapter deals with the topic of the ontogeny and development of face processing in the first months of life and is organized into two sections concerning face detection and face recognition. The first section focuses on the mechanisms underlying infants' visual preference for faces. Evidence is reviewed supporting the contention that ne...
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The aim of the present paper is to study newborn's ability to recognise partly occluded faces. Particularly, this study was aimed to test whether recognition of partly occluded faces is more affected by the amount of the occlusion or by the salience of the occluded elements. Two experiments were carried out using the habituation technique. The resu...
Article
Despite decades of studies of human infants, a still open question concerns the role of visual experience in the development of the ability to perceive complete shapes over partial occlusion. Previous studies show that newborns fail to manifest this ability, either because they lack the visual experience required for perceptual completion or becaus...
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Recent studies suggest that newborns' face preference might be explained as the result of the combined effect of non-specific perceptual constraints that stem from the general properties of visual processing shortly after birth (Simion et al. 2001, 2003) rather than by an innate mechanism triggered by the specific structure of the face (Johnson and...
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This study examined whether 3-month-oldinfants possess theabilities to match bimodal information specifying genderand how this ability is affected by the spontaneous visualpreference for female gender (i.e. DeCasper e Prescott,1983; Quinn et al., 2002). Results support the existenceof a visual preference for female gender (Experiment 1).Moreover, r...
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This study explored whether the reported inability of newborns to perceive object unity could result from the limited abilities of newborns to recognize the correspondence between 2 stimuli that were identical except for the presence or absence of an occluder. Five experiments were carried out using a visual habituation technique. The results of Ex...
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This study was aimed at investigating the face preference phenomenon and its underlying mechanisms at 3 months of age. Using an eye-tracker apparatus, Experiment 1 demonstrated that 3-month-olds prefer natural face images to unnatural ones, replicating and extending previous evidence obtained with schematic facelike stimuli. Experiments 2 and 3 sho...
Article
Previous studies demostrated that newborn infants manifest early attentional abilities (Farroni, Simion, Umiltà, Dalla Barba, 1999; Olson e Sherman, 1983; Simion, Valenza, Umiltà, 1994; Slater, 1989). However, there is a lack of descriptive data concerning newborns' performances in behavioral tasks that tap visuo-spatial orienting and sustained att...
Article
Many studies have demonstrated that newborns prefer upright faces over upside-down faces. Based on this evidence, some have suggested that faces represent a special class of stimuli for newborns and there is a qualitative difference between the processes involved in perception of facelike and non-facelike patterns (i.e. structural hypothesis). Othe...
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We report a series of ten experiments aimed to investigate the newborn's ability to discriminate the components of a visual pattern and to process the visual information that specifies the global configuration of a stimulus. The results reveal that: (i) newborn babies are able to distinguish individual elements of a stimulus (experiments 1A, 1B, 1C...
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It has been proposed that newborns' preferential orienting to faces is primarily controlled by a subcortical mechanism. As an index of subcortical, extrageniculate mediation, the asymmetry between the temporal and nasal hemifields was exploited. In Experiment 1, under monocular viewing conditions, newborns were presented with a pattern that had 3 b...
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Four experiments are reported that were aimed at elucidating some of the controversial issues concerning the preference for facelike patterns in newborns. The experiments were devised to contrast the original and the revised versions of the sensory hypothesis and the structural hypothesis as accounts of face preference in newborns. Experiments 1A a...
Article
Four experiments were aimed at elucidating some aspects of the preference for facelike patterns in newborns. Experiment 1 showed a preference for a stimulus whose components were located in the correct arrangement for a human face. Experiment 2 showed a preference for stimuli that had optimal sensory properties for the newborn visual system. Experi...
Article
Inhibition of return (IOR) is a reduced tendency to orient toward a previously attended spatial location. Inhibition of return is caused by suddenly introduced visual cues and reflects an attentional bias toward novel locations. It is indexed by an increased latency and/or a reduced tendency of an eye movement to the inhibited location. Under monoc...
Article
Inhibition of return is a reduced tendency to orient toward a previously attended spatial location, which, in adults, likely reflects an attentional bias toward novel locations. It is indexed by an increased latency and/or a reduction in the probability of an eye movement to the inhibited location. Previous research had indicated that inhibition of...
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It is a widely held view that the NBAS (Brazelton, 1973) can index differences in the level of the neurobehavioural organization of both pathological and normal newborns. The present study employed the NBAS to determine whether the type of delivery, i.e. cesarean or spontaneous vaginal, can influence the level of neurobehavioural organization in th...
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Three groups of healthy full term neonates, differing in delivery modalities (elective caesarean section, labor of greater than or less than 7 hours) were investigated during sleep to evaluate postnatal adaptation. Adaptation modalities were assessed by NBAS, using the cluster of the decrements. It was found that neonatal responses change during sl...
Article
Examines the literature on face processing in newborns. The authors first examine the question of whether faces are special and unique. On the basis of the available evidence, some authors have concluded that there is no reason to believe that faces differ from other complex and familiar stimuli in the manner they are processed. However, the divers...

Projects

Project (1)
Project
Our project aims to contribute to the debate about the role of labels in shaping the mental representation of referents at different stages of lexical development. Specifically, the project focuses on both infants (N=30) and adults (N=60; N=50): across a series of experiments we shed light on the online and offline impact of labels of visual attention. By means of the eye-tracking methodology we continuously measure: (i) pupil size variation as an index of attentional effort (ii) saccade latency as an index of disengagement of visual attention. We also offer a window of methodological possibility to get complementary measures as indexes of the interplay between language and attention from a developmental perspective.