Leveraging technological advances to assess dyadic visual cognition during infancy in high- and low-resource settings

Prerna Aneja, Thomas Kinna, Jacob Newman, Saber Sami, Joe Cassidy, Jordan McCarthy, Madhuri Tiwari, Aarti Kumar, John Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Caregiver-infant interactions shape infants' early visual experience; however, there is limited work from low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) in characterizing the visual cognitive dynamics of these interactions. Here, we present an innovative dyadic visual cognition pipeline using machine learning methods which captures, processes, and analyses the visual dynamics of caregiver-infant interactions across cultures. We undertake two studies to examine its application in both low (rural India) and high (urban UK) resource settings. Study 1 develops and validates the pipeline to process caregiver-infant interaction data captured using head-mounted cameras and eye-trackers. We use face detection and object recognition networks and validate these tools using 12 caregiver-infant dyads (4 dyads from a 6-month-old UK cohort, 4 dyads from a 6-month-old India cohort, and 4 dyads from a 9-month-old India cohort). Results show robust and accurate face and toy detection, as well as a high percent agreement between processed and manually coded dyadic interactions. Study 2 applied the pipeline to a larger data set (25 6-month-olds from the UK, 31 6-month-olds from India, and 37 9-month-olds from India) with the aim of comparing the visual dynamics of caregiver-infant interaction across the two cultural settings. Results show remarkable correspondence between key measures of visual exploration across cultures, including longer mean look durations during infant-led joint attention episodes. In addition, we found several differences across cultures. Most notably, infants in the UK had a higher proportion of infant-led joint attention episodes consistent with a child-centered view of parenting common in western middle-class families. In summary, the pipeline we report provides an objective assessment tool to quantify the visual dynamics of caregiver-infant interaction across high- and low-resource settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1376552
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2024


  • caregiver-infant dyads
  • cognitive development
  • Infancy
  • Eye-tracking
  • low-and middle-income countries (LMIC)
  • visual attention
  • eye-tracking
  • infancy

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