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Curr Biol. 2004 Jul 27;14(14):1267-71.

Experience in early infancy is indispensable for color perception.

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Neuroscience Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Crest, Japan.


Early visual experience is indispensable to shape the maturation of cortical circuits during development. Monocular deprivation in infancy, for instance, leads to an irreversible reduction of visually driven activity in the visual cortex through the deprived eye and a loss of binocular depth perception. It was tested whether or not early experience is also necessary for color perception. Infant monkeys were reared for nearly a year in a separate room where the illumination came from only monochromatic lights. After extensive training, they were able to perform color matching. But, their judgment of color similarity was quite different from that of normal animals. Furthermore, they had severe deficits in color constancy; their color vision was very much wavelength dominated, so they could not compensate for the changes in wavelength composition. These results indicate that early visual experience is also indispensable for normal color perception.

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