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ERIC Number: EJ1205140
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0007-0998
First-Graders' Allocation of Attentional Resources in an Emotional Stroop Task: The Role of Heart Period Variability and Classroom Climate
Scrimin, Sara; Moscardino, Ughetta; Mason, Lucia
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v89 n1 p146-164 Mar 2019
Background: Children's ability to remain focused on a task despite the presence of emotionally salient distractors in the environment is crucial for successful learning and academic performance. Aims: This study investigated first-graders' allocation of attentional resources in the presence of distracting emotional, school-related social interaction stimuli. Moreover, we examined whether such attentional processes were influenced by students' self-regulation, as indexed by heart period variability, observed classroom climate, or their interaction. Sample: Seventy-two-first graders took part in the study. Methods: To assess allocation of attentional resources, students' reaction times on an emotional Stroop task were registered by recording response times to colour frames placed around pictures of distracting emotional, school-related social interaction stimuli (i.e., emotional interference index). Moreover, heart period variability was measured by recording children's electrocardiogram at rest during an individual session, whereas classroom climate was observed during class activities by a trained researcher. Results: Images representing negative social interactions required greater attentional resources than images depicting positive ones. Heart period variability and classroom climate were each significantly and independently associated with the emotional interference index. A significant interaction also emerged, indicating that among children experiencing a negative classroom climate, those who had a higher basal heart period variability (higher self-regulation) were less distracted by negative emotional material and remained more focused on a task compared to those with lower heart period variability (lower self-regulation). Conclusions: Negative interactions require greater attentional resources than positive scenes. Moreover, with a negative classroom climate, higher basal heart period variability is a protective factor. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 1; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A