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Head-Mounted Eye Tracking: A New Method to Describe Infant Looking


  • This research was supported by National Institute of Health and Human Development Grant R37-HD33486 to Karen E. Adolph. Portions of this work were presented at the 2009 meeting of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, Chicago, IL, and the 2010 International Conference on Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD. We gratefully acknowledge Jason Babcock of Positive Science for devising the infant head-mounted eye-tracker. We thank Scott Johnson, Daniel Richardson, and Jon Slemmer for providing calibration videos and the members of the NYU Infant Action Lab for assistance collecting and coding data.

concerning this article should be addressed to Karen E. Adolph, Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Place, Room 410, New York, NY 10003. Electronic mail may be sent to


Despite hundreds of studies describing infants’ visual exploration of experimental stimuli, researchers know little about where infants look during everyday interactions. The current study describes the first method for studying visual behavior during natural interactions in mobile infants. Six 14-month-old infants wore a head-mounted eye-tracker that recorded gaze during free play with mothers. Results revealed that infants’ visual exploration is opportunistic and depends on the availability of information and the constraints of infants’ own bodies. Looks to mothers’ faces were rare following infant-directed utterances but more likely if mothers were sitting at infants’ eye level. Gaze toward the destination of infants’ hand movements was common during manual actions and crawling, but looks toward obstacles during leg movements were less frequent.