The development of global motion discrimination in school aged children


Bogfjellmo LG, Bex PJ, Falkenberg HK. The development of global motion discrimination in school aged children. Journal of Vision. In Press.


Purpose: Global motion perception matures during childhood and involves the detection of local directional signals that are then integrated across space. We examine the maturation of local directional selectivity and global motion integration with an equivalent noise paradigm applied to direction discrimination. Methods: 103 observers (6-17 years) identified the global direction of motion in a 2AFC task. The 8 degree central stimuli consisted of 100 dots of 10% Michelson contrast moving 2.8 or 9.8°/s. Local directional selectivity and global sampling efficiency were estimated from direction discrimination thresholds as a function of external directional noise, speed and age. Results: Direction discrimination thresholds improved gradually until the age of 14 years (linear regression, p<0.05) for both speeds. This improvement was associated with a gradual increase in sampling efficiency (linear regression, p< 0.05), with no significant change in internal noise. Direction sensitivity was lower for dots moving at 2.8°/s than 9.8°/s at all ages (paired t-test, p<0.05) and is mainly due to lower sampling efficiency. Conclusion: Global motion perception improves gradually during development and matures by age 14. There was no change in internal noise after the age of 6, suggesting that local direction selectivity is mature by that age. The improvement in global motion perception is underpinned by a steady increase in the efficiency with which direction signals are pooled, suggesting that global motion pooling processes mature for longer and later than local motion processing.