Development of spatial and temporal vision during childhood
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Using the method of limits, we measured the development of spatial and temporal vision beginning at 4 years of age. Participants were adults, and children aged 4, 5, 6, and 7 years (n = 24 per age). Spatial vision was assessed with vertical sine-wave gratings, and temporal vision was assessed with an unpatterned luminance field sinusoidally modulated over time. Under these testing conditions, spatial contrast sensitivity at every frequency increased by at least 0.5 log units between 4 and 7 years of age, at which point it was adult-like. Grating acuity reached adult values at 6 years of age. Temporal vision was more mature: at 4 years of age temporal contrast sensitivity at higher temporal frequencies (20 and 30 Hz) and critical flicker fusion frequency were already adult-like. Sensitivity at lower temporal frequencies (5 and 10 Hz) increased by 0.25 log units after the age of 4 to reach adult levels at age 7. The results suggest that temporal vision matures more rapidly than spatial vision during childhood. Thus, spatial and temporal vision are likely mediated by different underlying neural mechanisms that mature at different rates.
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