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Ravid Doron, Abraham Spierer, Uri Polat; How crowding, masking, and contour interactions are related: A developmental approach. Journal of Vision 2015;15(8):5. doi: 10.1167/15.8.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Young children are characterized by poor visual performances. Visual crowding, lateral interactions, and contour detection are critical functions for visual perception, context effect, and recognition that develop over the years up to maturity. The age at which the maturation's onset of the functions can be observed and the functions' underlying neural basis remain unclear. Here we used a development approach to investigate the onset of the foveal visual functions in order to learn about their neuronal basis and their relationships. We measured lateral interactions, crowding, and contour integration in participants aged 3–15 years. The results show that very young children do not exhibit collinear facilitation; rather, their vision is dominated by suppression and a high degree of crowding. Our results show sequential changes in the visual functions in parallel with the development of facilitation—that is, a significant reduction in crowding and an improved contour detection threshold. Our data suggest that the correlation between the onset age of maturation of collinear facilitation with crowding reduction and improvement of contour integration has underlying mutual neuronal mechanisms.
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