In Summary

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology’s Babylab have been awarded a $43,000 grant to investigate how infants, children and adults see and experience the world through the use of an infrared eye-tracker.

The grant, which will be used to purchase a mobile infrared eye-tracker, is funded by the Eric Ormond Baker Charitable Fund, managed by Equity Trustees.

Director of the Swinburne BabyLab, Dr Jordy Kaufman, said an infrared eye-tracker will undoubtedly benefit many of the projects they are working on.

Infrared eye tracking has become an extremely useful tool for scientists to investigate how people think and feel, particularly for non-verbal participants including infants and adults with certain disabilities.

“One of our studies will look at how screen-based media affects learning and attention in young children. Instead of relying on subjective reports from parents, an eye-tracker will help us to measure children’s attention in a variety tasks at home and in the lab so we can accurately assess the extent to which children are distracted,” Dr Kaufman said.

“This research will give us a much richer understanding of the effects of screen media on early development and how best to guide parents about media usage.”

The eye-tracking equipment could also potentially be used to examine how natural supplements may improve attention in children diagnosed with ADHD.

The Babylab forms part of the Brain and Psychological Sciences Centre at Swinburne.

The Eric Ormond Baker Charitable Fund was established under Mr Eric Baker’s will in 1978 to support hospitals, public education, benevolent societies, public scientific purposes and for people in need.  It is one of 450 charitable trusts managed by Equity Trustees Ltd, Australia’s leading independent trustee company.