Long trajectory for the development of sensitivity to global and biological motion
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We used a staircase procedure to test sensitivity to (1) global motion in random-dot kinematograms moving at 4° and 18° s(-1) and (2) biological motion. Thresholds were defined as (1) the minimum percentage of signal dots (i.e. the maximum percentage of noise dots) necessary for accurate discrimination of upward versus downward motion or (2) the maximum percentage of noise dots tolerated for accurate discrimination of biological from non-biological motion. Subjects were adults and children aged 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14 years (n = 20 per group). Contrary to earlier research, results revealed a similar, long developmental trajectory for sensitivity to global motion at both slower and faster speeds and for biological motion. Thresholds for all three tasks improved monotonically between 6 and 14 years of age, at which point they were adult-like. The results suggest that the extrastriate mechanisms that integrate local motion cues over time and space take many years to mature.
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