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Neuropsychologia. 2010 Aug;48(10):3080-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.06.019. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

The development of luminance- and texture-defined form perception during the school-aged years.

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Department of Psychiatry, Perceptual Neuroscience Lab for Autism and Developmental Conditions, University of Montreal Center of Excellence for Pervasive Developmental Disorders CETEDUM, Université de Montréal, Canada.


The objective of the present study was to assess the development of luminance- and texture-defined static form perception in school-aged children. This was done using an adapted Landolt-C technique where C-optotypes were defined by either luminance or texture information, the latter necessitating extra-striate neural processing to be perceived. Typically developing children were placed in one of 4 school-age groups (6, 8, 10 and 12-year olds); an adult group was also assessed. The contrast threshold for the correct identification of gap-opening-orientation for C-optotypes defined by either texture- or luminance-contrast was measured. All participants were presented with C-optotypes with gap-openings presented in one of 4 orientations (up, down, left or right). An adaptive staircase procedure was used to measure gap-opening-identification thresholds (minimum luminance- or texture-contrast modulation) for all three conditions and ages. As expected, gap-opening identification sensitivity (1/threshold) increased with age for all conditions. For both luminance-defined conditions, adult-like performance was manifested by 12 years of age. By comparison, at 12 years of age, the sensitivity to texture-defined C-optotypes was significantly lower than that of adults, having increased steadily from the age of 6 years. These results suggest that mechanisms underlying static form perception mature at different ages depending on the physical attribute defining the form. Luminance-defined form perception appears to reach adult-like levels (or plateau) earlier than for texture-defined information, suggesting that the development of mechanisms mediating higher-order form perception persist into adolescence.

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