December 2008
Volume 8, Issue 17
Free
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2008
Chromatic (Red/Green) and luminance contrast sensitivity in fullterm and “Late” preterm infants: Effects of early visual experience on magnocellular and parvocellular pathway processing
Author Affiliations
  • Rain G. Bosworth
    Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
  • Karen R. Dobkins
    Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
Journal of Vision December 2008, Vol.8, 46. doi:10.1167/8.17.46
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      Rain G. Bosworth, Karen R. Dobkins; Chromatic (Red/Green) and luminance contrast sensitivity in fullterm and “Late” preterm infants: Effects of early visual experience on magnocellular and parvocellular pathway processing. Journal of Vision 2008;8(17):46. doi: 10.1167/8.17.46.

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Abstract

Purpose: To determine whether contrast sensitivity in preterm (PT) infants matches that of fullterm (FT) infants when the two groups are of the same postnatal age (PNA), suggesting that sensitivity is governed primarily by visual experience, or the same postconceptional age (PCA), suggesting that sensitivity is governed by “biological maturation”. We compared luminance sensitivity, subserved by the Magnocellular pathway, and chromatic (red/green) sensitivity, subserved by the Parvocellular pathway to investigate how these pathways are influenced by early visual experience.

Methods: Because PT infants born very early can have ocular/neurological abnormalities, we tested “late” PT infants born between 30–35 weeks gestation, a population with ∼1% incidence of abnormal neurological scans. Using forced-choice preferential looking (FPL), contrast sensitivities were obtained for chromatic (red/green isoluminant) and luminance moving sinusoidal gratings (11 × 11°; 0.27 cpd; 4.2 Hz; mean luminance = 20 cd/m2).

Results: At the youngest ages tested (between 2 – 4 months), the luminance sensitivity of PT (n = 59) and FT (n = 132) infants is well matched when the groups are of the same PCA. In contrast, the chromatic sensitivity of PT and FT infants is not well matched when the groups are the same PNA (PT underperform FT) or the same PCA (PT overperform FT).

Conclusions: In the first few months of life, luminance sensitivity, mediated by the M pathway, appears to be governed mainly by biological maturation. By contrast, chromatic sensitivity, mediated by the P pathway, appears to be governed, to some degree, by visual experience.

Bosworth, R. G. Dobkins, K. R. (2008). Chromatic (Red/Green) and luminance contrast sensitivity in fullterm and “Late” preterm infants: Effects of early visual experience on magnocellular and parvocellular pathway processing [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 8(17):46, 46a, http://journalofvision.org/8/17/46/, doi:10.1167/8.17.46. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 Funded by NIH (EY-12153).
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