Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica
Children’s Attention Detection to Snakes: Evidence from Eye Movements
WANG Fuxing1; LI Wenjing1; YAN Zhiqiang2; DUAN Zhaohui1; LI Hui3
(1 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China) (2 Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China) (3 Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China)
Download: PDF(682 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

Previous research shows that preschool children detect snakes quickly than non-threating stimuli (e.g. flowers). In this study, we used eye tracking technology to provide direct evidences about the superior detection about threat-relevant stimuli. Two experiments were designed to testify whether the snakes would be fixated faster and quickly by preschool children and adults. In addition, we also used line drawing snakes and flowers as stimuli to control the shape of snakes and to testify the perceptual template hypothesis. In experiment 1, sixteen 4- to 6-year-old preschool children and 22 undergraduates were recruited as participants. A revised 3 × 3 matrices of color photographs of threat-relevant (snakes) and threat-irrelevant (flowers) stimuli were presented to both preschool children and adults. All participants were asked to find the threat target (snake) among seven non-threat distractors (flowers) and vice versa. Sixteen matrices with 8 pictures (1 target and 7 distractors) were presented to the participants. We changed the standard visual search task that did not present stimuli in the middle of the 3 × 3 matrices to control the central location effect and make the procedure appropriate for eye tracking calibration. It’s a 2 (age: children, adults)× 2 (target: snake, flower) mixed design, and age was the between subject variable. In experiment 2, we improved the stimuli with line drawings to pop out the continuous curvilinear contour of snakes. The design, presentation method was the same as experiment 1. In two experiments, Tobii T120 Eye tracker was used to record the viewing behaviors of adults and children. The results of experiment 1 indicated that both the preschool children and adults fixated snakes faster and with less fixation counts than flowers, and their first fixation duration was shorter on snakes than flowers. Adults performed faster fixation, much less fixation counts than children. As distractors (flower was target), snakes were also fixated quickly than flowers (snake was target). In experiment 2, the same results were found that both children and adults located line drawing snakes quicker than line drawing flowers. And the first fixation duration to snakes were much shorter than flowers. Adults still fixated faster than children. For the snakes as distractors, we found the same results as experiment 1. Compared to the fixations of the line drawing snakes without color and pattern in experiment 2, real and colorful snakes in experiment 1 were fixated faster. The real and colorful snakes were detected faster and with less fixation counts before they were located as distractors. In conclusion, even preschool children who have little snake experience also show faster attention orienting and shorter attention holding. Based on the eye movements evidences, the continuous curvilinear shape plays an important role in the snake relevant threat detection. The eye fixations of line drawing snakes provide direct evidence to the perceptual template theory. To be a special reptile, the color, patterns can boost the quick detection.

Keywords snakes      threat-relevant stimuli      preschool children      detection      eye movements     
Corresponding Authors: WANG Fuxing, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 25 June 2015
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
WANG Fuxing
LI Wenjing
YAN Zhiqiang
DUAN Zhaohui
LI Hui
Cite this article:   
WANG Fuxing,LI Wenjing,YAN Zhiqiang, et al. Children’s Attention Detection to Snakes: Evidence from Eye Movements[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00774
URL:     OR
[1] LIU Zhifang; ZHANG Zhijun; YANG Guifang. Test the activation model of transforming characters to words in Chinese reading: Evidence from delay word-boundary effects[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(9): 1082-1092.
[2] YAN Guoli; LIU Nina; LIANG Feifei; LIU Zhifang; BAI Xuejun. The Comparison of Eye Movements between Chinese Children and Adults When Reading Disappearing Text[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(3): 300-318.
[3] WANG Fuxing; DUAN Zhaohui; ZHOU Zongkui; CHEN Jun. The Spatial Contiguity Effect in Multimedia Learning: The Role of Cueing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(2): 224-233.
[4] BAI Xuejun; WANG Yongsheng; GUO Zhiying; GAO Xiaolei; YAN Guoli. The Preview of Word N+2 Influences the High Frequency Word N+1 Processing in Chinese Reading[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(2): 143-156.
[5] BAO Xuhui;JI Ming;HUANG Jie;HE Liguo;YOU Xuqun. The Effects of Activation Levels of Visual Long-Term Memory on Visual Short-Term Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(8): 1086-1093.
[6] WANG Huiyuan;ZHANG Ming;SUI Jie. The Effect of Cue-Target Relevance and Search Strategies on Attentional Capture[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(2): 185-195.
[7] WANG Qiandong;HU Chao;FU Genyue. An Eye-tracking Research on the Other Race Effect During Face Processing in Preschool Children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(2): 169-178.
[8] HU Zhonghua;LIU Qiang;ZHAO Guang;LI Hong. The Measurement of Detection Superiority of Direct Gaze Affected by Stimuli Component Information[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(11): 1217-1227.
[9] WANG Xiang-Bo,DAI Xiao-Dong,DING Jin-Hong. The Effect of Mass Representation and Oculomotor Overshoot on “Representational Momentum”[J]. , 2012, 44(7): 896-909.
[10] REN Gui-Qin,HAN Yu-Chang,YU Ze. The Activation of Orthography and Phonology During Chinese Sentence Reading: Evidence from Eye Movements[J]. , 2012, 44(4): 427-434.
[11] GAO Xiao,WANG Quan-Chuan,CHEN Hong,WANG Bao-Ying,ZHAO Guang. Time Course of Attentional Bias Components Toward Body-shape Related Pictures Among Women with Fat Negative Physical Self: An Eye Movement Study[J]. , 2012, 44(4): 498-510.
[12] QIU Li-Jing;WANG Sui-Ping;CHEN Hsuan-Chih. Pronoun Processing during Language Comprehension:The Effects of Distance and Gender Stereotype[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(10): 1279-1288.
[13] ZHANG Zhi-Jun,LIU Zhi-Fang,ZHAO Ya-Jun,JI Jing. The Locations of Word Segmentation in Chinese Reading: Research Based on the Eye-Movement-Contingent Display Technique[J]. , 2012, 44(1): 51-62.

BAI Xue-Jun,GUO Zhi-Ying,GU Jun-Juan,CAO Yu-Xiao,YAN Guo-Li

. Effect of Word Segmentation Cues on Japanese-Chinese Bilingual’s Chinese Reading: Evidence from Eye Movements[J]. , 2011, 43(11): 1273-1282.
[15] LIU Zhi-Fang,ZHANG Zhi-Jun,ZHAO Ya-Jun. The Units Saccade Targeting Based on and Words Procession Style in Chinese Reading: Evidences from Disappearing Text[J]. , 2011, 43(06): 608-618.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech