UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Effect of Stimulus Area on Global Motion Thresholds in Children and Adults Meier, Kimberly; Giaschi, Deborah


Performance on random-dot global motion tasks may reach adult-like levels before 4 or as late as 16 years of age, depending on the specific parameters used to create the stimuli. Later maturation has been found for slower speeds, smaller spatial displacements, and sparser dot arrays. This protracted development on global motion tasks may depend on limitations specific to spatial aspects of a motion stimulus rather than to motion mechanisms per se. The current study investigated the impact of varying stimulus area (9, 36, and 81 deg²) on the global motion coherence thresholds of children 4–6 years old and adults for three signal dot displacements (∆x = 1, 5, and 30 arcmin). We aimed to determine whether children could achieve mature performance for the smallest displacements, a condition previously found to show late maturation, when a larger stimulus area was used. Coherence thresholds were higher in children compared to adults in the 1 and 5 arcmin displacement conditions, as reported previously, and this did not change as a function of stimulus area. However, both children and adults performed better with a larger stimulus area in the 30 arcmin displacement condition only. This suggests that immature spatial integration, as measured by stimulus area, cannot account for immaturities in global motion perception.

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