Friday February 22, 2019

Kids can actually See what Adults tend to Miss: Study

The findings revealed that while adults are very good at remembering information they are told to focus on, they tend to ignore the rest

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A child with the parents (representational image), VOA

New York, April 11, 2017: Although children are thought of being deficient in many skills when compared to adults, a new study has shown that this limitation in kids can actually be their strength as they can see what adults tend to miss.

“We often think of children as deficient in many skills when compared to adults. But some times what seems like a deficiency can actually be an advantage,” said Vladimir Sloutsky, Professor at the Ohio State University in the US.

The findings revealed that while adults are very good at remembering information they are told to focus on, they tend to ignore the rest.

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Conversely, 4- to 5-year-olds tend to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them — even when they were told to focus on one particular item.

Thus, children noticed things that adults did not catch because of the grownups’ selective attention.

Children are extremely curious and they tend to explore everything, which means their attention is spread out and they end up noticing and remembering more than the adults, Sloutsky noted, in the paper published in the journal Psychological Science.

However, the ability of adults to focus their attention helps them to sit in two-hour meetings and maintain long conversations while ignoring distractions.

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“But young children’s use of distributed attention allows them to learn more in new and unfamiliar settings by taking in a lot of information,” Sloutsky explained.

The fact that children don’t always do as well at focusing attention also shows the importance of designing the right learning environment in classrooms.

“Children can’t handle a lot of distractions. They are always taking in information, even if it is not what you’re trying to teach them. We need to make sure that we are aware of that and design our classrooms, textbooks and educational materials to help students succeed,” Sloutsky said. (IANS)

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Immersive VR Can Help Kids Overcome Autism Phobias

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults

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Virtual Reality
A hospital patient uses virtual reality treatment for pain in this undated photo. VOA

Exposing children and adults with autism to immersive virtual reality (VR) can help alleviate their fears and phobias, say researchers.

A team from the UK’s Newcastle University developed ‘Blue Room’, a virtual environment, which requires no goggles. Here a person can comfortably investigate and navigate through various scenarios working with a therapist using iPad controls but remain in full control of the situation.

“For many children and their families, anxiety can rule their lives as they try to avoid the situations which can trigger their child’s fears or phobias,” said Professor Jeremy Parr from Newcastle’s Institute of Neuroscience.

“To be able to offer a treatment that works, and see the children do so well, offers hope to families who have very few treatment options for anxiety available to them,” Parr added.

Autism can affect a child’s learning and development, often resulting in impaired social and communication skills and many also have fears or phobias which can be very distressing but are often overlooked.

Inventions
Toybox founder Arlene Mulder views a project that their tech innovation hub was involved in, a Virtual Reality exhibition at a Johannesburg art gallery. VOA

For the study, detailed in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the team involved a small group of children with autism aged 8-14 years. Half received treatment in the ‘Blue Room’ straight away and half acted as a control group, receiving delayed treatment six months later.

“People with autism can find imagining a scene difficult which is why the ‘Blue Room’ is so well-received. We are providing the feared situation in a controlled way through VR and we are sitting alongside them to help them learn how to manage their fears,” explained Morag Maskey, researcher from Newcastle.

Also Read- AI Helping Differently-abled to Become More Independent: Microsoft

The results showed that overall 40 per cent of children treated showed improvement at two weeks, and 45 per cent at six months.

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults. (IANS)