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Emily J. Blumenthal, Rain G. Bosworth, Karen R. Dobkins; Fast development of global motion processing in human infants. Journal of Vision 2013;13(13):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.13.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Although global motion processing is thought to emerge early in infancy, there is debate regarding the age at which it matures to an adult-like level. In the current study, we address the possibility that the apparent age-related improvement in global motion processing might be secondary to age-related increases in the sensitivity of mechanisms (i.e., local motion detectors) that provide input to global motion mechanisms. To address this, we measured global motion processing by obtaining motion coherence thresholds using stimuli that were equally detectable in terms of contrast across all individuals and ages (3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-month-olds and adults). For infants, we employed a directional eye movement (DEM) technique. For adults, we employed both DEM and a self-report method. First, contrast sensitivity was obtained for a local task, using a stochastic motion display in which all the dots moved coherently. Contrast sensitivity increased significantly between 3 and 7 months, and between infancy and adulthood. Each subject was then tested on the global motion task with the contrast of the dots set to 2.5 × each individual's contrast threshold. Coherence thresholds were obtained by varying the percentage of coherently moving “signal” versus “noise” dots in the stochastic motion display. Results revealed remarkably stable global motion sensitivity between 3 and 7 months of age, as well as between infancy and adulthood. These results suggest that the mechanisms underlying global motion processing develop to an adult-like state very quickly.
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