Deficits in the processing of local and global motion in very low birthweight children
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This study evaluated the impact of premature birth on the development of local and global motion processing in a group of very low birthweight (<1500 g), 5- to 8-year-old children. Sensitivity to first- and second-order local motion stimuli and coherence thresholds for global motion in random dot kinematograms were measured. Relative to full-term controls, premature children showed deficits on all three aspects of motion processing. These problems could not be accounted for by stereo deficits, amblyopia, or attentional problems. A history of mild retinopathy of prematurity and/or intraventricular hemorrhage increased risk, but deficits were observed in some children with no apparent ocular or cerebral pathology. It is important to note that, despite the observed group differences, individual profiles of performance did vary; the results suggest that these three forms of motion processing may involve separate neural mechanisms. These findings serve to increase our understanding of the organization and functional development of motion-processing subsystems in humans, and of the impact of prematurity and associated complications on visual development.
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