The development of attentional orienting to non-social directional cues
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The current paper examines the development of children’s understanding of arrows. Infants (8-10 months), children (3-7 years) and adults were tested in a spatial cueing paradigm in which arrows were used as a litmus test for understanding the shift from perceptual to conceptual understanding. In this respect, it investigates what property or properties of an arrow cue attention in the first years of life. The present study reveals that individuals who do not yet understand the directional meaning of an arrow may be cued by its perceptual characteristics, but once an individual understands the directional meaning of an arrow, this conceptual understanding prevails over the perceptual characteristics. A framework is suggested which may help to explain the developmental shift that occurs from using the perceptual characteristics of a stimulus to orienting attention using its conceptual meaning.