Although considerable progress has been made in understanding how adults perceive their direction of self-motion, or heading, from optic flow, little is known about how these perceptual processes develop in infants. In 3 experiments, the authors explored how well 3- to 6-month-old infants could discriminate between optic flow patterns that simulated changes in heading direction. The results suggest that (a) prior to the onset of locomotion, the majority of infants discriminate between optic flow displays that simulate only large (> 22°) changes in heading, (b) there is minimal development in sensitivity between 3 and 6 months, and (c) optic flow alone is sufficient for infants to discriminate heading. These data suggest that spatial abilities associated with the dorsal visual stream undergo prolonged postnatal development and may depend on locomotor experience.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies