August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
The statistics of visual input change systematically with development
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Erin Anderson
    Indiana University
  • Evelina Dineva
    Indiana University
  • Linda Smith
    The University of the South
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  NIH grant 1R01EY032897; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 5 T32 HD007475
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 5142. doi:
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      Erin Anderson, Evelina Dineva, Linda Smith; The statistics of visual input change systematically with development. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):5142.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

What a perceiver sees and learns about the visual world depends intimately on their own moment-to-moment behaviors. Head, eye and postural movements – even small ones – significantly alter the images projected to the eye. These images jointly carry both the low-level visual information fundamental to cortical visual processing and high-level semantic information. Infant visual experiences are crucial to the development of all levels of the cortical hierarchy and their feed-forward and feed-back connections. Visual experiences have been assumed to be more or less uniform in terms of their low-level statistics. However, the dramatic changes in infant motor control and behavior that occur over the first year have to been shown to yield marked changes in the higher level content (e.g., object categories, faces and their views) of visual experience (Adolph & Hoch, 2019; Smith et al., 2018). Here we present evidence on developmental changes in low-level visual statistics and their correlations with higher-level visual content. Infants at three different stages of motor development (1-3 months, 6-8 months, & 10-12 months; total n = 36) wore head-mounted cameras as they went about their daily lives at home, without experimenters present. We analyzed the images for low-level statistics of edges, the key units of primary visual cortex development (amount of edges in the image, degree to which these represented a single orientation, and amount of energy and contrast at low spatial frequencies), as well as high level content (e.g., faces and foregrounded individual objects). The evidence points to behaviorally-constrained niches of development that change systematically with development, with changes in both the low-level and high-level properties across age groups. The findings have new implications for a training curriculum for vision that is constrained by infant development.


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