The broad goal of the proposed research is to understand how temporal visual processing develops during infancy. The experiments conducted in this proposal will combine high-density EEG with modern source- imaging methods to assess temporal response characteristics in specific cortical areas of the visual hierarchy in infants and adults, and will examine the relationship between neural activity and conscious visual perception. This approach will provide the first picture of the functional development of temporal visual processing in infants. Deficits in visual motion perception, a process that is critically dependent on fine temporal resolution, have been reported in a number of developmental disorders, including fragile X syndrome and autism. The information gained from this research can be used to improve our understanding of abnormal visual development, to establish a quantitative biomarker for atypical temporal processing, and to guide the design of interventions targeted at improving temporal visual deficits. This research fits closely with the stated mission of the National Eye Institute.
Understanding the development of temporal visual processing is a requirement for understanding not only how infants use visual information to make sense of and perform actions in the world, but more broadly, the functional maturation of hierarchical cortical areas of the visual system. Basic mechanisms of visual processing, including motion processing, are impaired in a wide range of developmental disorders. Understanding the typically developing visual system will, in turn, shed light on deficits in temporal processing that may be characteristic of atypically developing populations. This study examines an important and unanswered area of vision research, and findings from this study will be highly relevant to the mission of the National Institutes of Health.
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