The development of spatial attention: the IOWA model

Overview of the Spatial Attention Case Study

This case study is provides an overview of the DF model used in Spencer et al (2022) Infancy. Here's a link to the paper (open access):

Here's an introductory lecture on the area of spatial attention development and how we've used dynamic field models to shed new insights into a fundamental question: how does spatial attention change in early development?

Next, I’ve recorded a brief video tour of the paper and DF simulator.

Setting up COSIVINA

To play around with the model from the paper, you will first need to set up the COSIVINA simulation environment. You can clone the COSIVINA repository from For an overview of how to do this, see my video tour which includes details of how to use the GitHub Desktop App along with our DF respositories. For details, see:

In addition to COSIVINA, you'll need the simulator from the ‘Spencer_Infancy_2022” folder at:

You'll also need to download the jsonlab support files:

Running the Simulator

To play around with the model, launch matlab. Next, navigate to your COSIVINA folder and type 'setpath'. This will link in the core COSIVINA files and jsonlab support. Finally, go to the ‘Spencer_Infancy_2022” folder and run the ‘runIOWA_BAM_2022.m' file in matlab. Comments in this file explain how to run the simulator.


Here's a step-by-step tour of the code from the Dynamic Friday Tutorial on this model: