Infants as young as 11 months can be taught to focus attention by using "brain-training" computer games, scientists have found.
The study by University of London, Birkbeck, found that those who were shown a series of computer programmes, encouraging them to focus on different parts of the screen, performed better than other babies in tests to measure powers of concentration.
The researchers said the findings were significant, because improved focus helps children to learn skills and acquire language, and the brain is at its most adaptable early in life.
"We know the brain is more plastic early on, so an impact at this stage could potentially make a big difference to a child's abilities later on," the Telegraph quoted Sam Wass, from Birkbeck's Centre for Brain and Cognitive Sciences as saying.
"We already know that the early years of school are very important; what we have shown for the first time is that it is possible that difference can be made at an even younger age," he added.