From Science Daily:

Being delivered through a caesarean section influences at least one form of babies’ ability to concentrate. It slows their spatial attention, which plays a role in how well they are able to prioritize and focus on a particular area or object that is of interest. These are the findings of Scott Adler and Audrey Wong-Kee-You of York University in Canada, published in Springer’s journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

Very early birth factors such as birth weight and a mother’s age impact the development of a child. However, very little is known about how the actual birth event influences a baby’s cognitive and brain development. Adler and Wong Kee-You’s study is therefore important as it is the first on birth experiences to compare the spatial attention of babies delivered vaginally to those born through caesarean sections. Such research is noteworthy in light of the steadily increasing number of babies delivered through such c-sections.

The study shows that the type of birth experience influences one form of infants’ attention, and possibly any cognitive process that relies on spatial attention. It consisted of two experiments involving different groups of three-month-old infants. Their eye movement was monitored, as an indication of what caught the babies’ attention. Eyes cannot move to where someone’s attention is not directed. Therefore, disruptions or changes in the mechanisms involved in attention would manifest in subsequent eye movement.

The first experiment, a spatial cueing task, tested the stimulus-driven spatial attention of 24 babies. A peripheral cue was presented to the…

Continue Reading