Teachers take note: Students who seem to be ignoring you could actually be processing complex information in an attempt to come up with an answer. Researchers recently discovered that when school children avert their gaze away from a teacher or other person’s face, they are much more likely to come up with the correct answer. Turns out facial expressions can be distracting. The research was published last week in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Adults, too Scientists have known that adults tend to turn their gaze away from a questioner’s face when asked a thought-provoking question. While adults practice this look-away about 85 percent of the time, children five years old and younger do it just 40 percent of the time. To find out how so-called ‘gaze aversion’ impacts concentration, psychologists recruited 20 five-year-old children from a primary school in Stirlingshire. They trained 10 of the students to look away when pondering a question. ‘We had them look at a blank piece of paper on the floor,’ said co-author Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, a psychologist at Stirling University in Scotland. The other 10 students received no training. Then, the scientists asked each child a series […]

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