This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (BCS 0078945 and REC 0208103) to Vladimir M. Sloutsky. We would like to thank Anna Fisher, George Hollich, Chris Robinson, and Aaron Yarlas, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? The Flexible Nature of Modality Dominance in Young Children
Article first published online: 22 NOV 2004
Volume 75, Issue 6, pages 1850–1870, December 2004
How to Cite
Napolitano, A. C. and Sloutsky, V. M. (2004), Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? The Flexible Nature of Modality Dominance in Young Children. Child Development, 75: 1850–1870. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00821.x
- Issue published online: 22 NOV 2004
- Article first published online: 22 NOV 2004
When presented simultaneously with equally discriminable, but unfamiliar, visual and auditory stimuli, 4-year-olds exhibited auditory dominance, processing only auditory information (Sloutsky & Napolitano, 2003). The current study examined factors underlying auditory dominance. In 6 experiments, 4-year-olds (N=181) were presented with auditory and visual compounds in which (a) the complexity and familiarity of stimuli were systematically varied (Experiments 1–5) and (b) participants were explicitly instructed to attend to a particular modality (Experiment 6). Results indicate that auditory dominance is a special case of flexible modality dominance, which may stem from automatic pulls on attention. Theoretical implications of these results for understanding the development of attention and cross-modal processing, as well as linguistic and conceptual development, are discussed.