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«Department of Psychology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK To appear in: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development, 2nd ...»

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effects’ show a role for early vision on development of functions that do not normally emerge until later (Maurer, Mondloch, & Lewis, 2007). Profound and lasting visual deprivation can also lead to a major reorganization of the brain’s processing of sensory information, including involvement of the visual cortex in braille reading and echolocation (orientation by sound echoes) in blind people.

Atypical visual processing in developmental disorders Some developmental disorders with atypical brain organization are associated with specific deficits of visual function. For example, there is evidence for specific impairments in the dorsal stream of visual processing,related to coherent motion perception and visual control of movement, in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders including Williams syndrome, fragile X syndrome and autism (‘dorsal stream vulnerability’; Braddick, Atkinson, & Wattam-Bell, 2003). These findings show how visual brain areas vary in their vulnerability to atypical development, and have led to new insights such as mapping of visuo-spatial deficits with object-rotation tasks in Williams syndrome to structural and functional brain abnormalities in the dorsal stream (Meyer-Lindenberg et al., 2004). Assessment of visual functions can therefore provide a way into understanding the processes underlying normal and atypical brain development.

Cerebral visual impairment As much of the brain deals with visual information, acquired brain injury can have major effects on visual function. The nature of the deficit can range from parts of the visual field ‘missing’, associated with damage to sites of early visual processing such as the optic nerve and primary visual cortex, to more specific difficulties with object recognition or visual

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processing. Although like adults, children can suffer brain injury from traumatic accidents, they are also at risk of congenital injury, including perinatal brain injury. Because of the remarkable plasticity of the developing brain, there is more scope for brain reorganization and recovery of normal function with injuries acquired early in life than at older ages.

Research by Joan Stiles and her colleagues has documented difficulties associated with visual tasks following early brain injury, and the scope for later re-organization (Stiles et al.,2012).

Conclusions Vision is a crucial sense that largely develops postnatally. During this development the visual brain learns to interpret and attach meaning to the information it receives from the eye. The major development of basic aspects of vision such as acuity and contrast sensitivity normally takes place in infancy. From both animal and infant studies, we have a reasonable model for the neurodevelopmental processes underlying basic visual abilities dependent on the primary visual cortex. However, the development of more complex abilities such as coherent form and motion perception, and face and object recognition, continues long into childhood. The reorganization of function in higher cortical visual areas supporting these abilities remains an important topic for current research. It is thought to include changes in the overall architecture (pattern of ‘wiring’ between brain areas) as well as ‘fine-tuning’ of connections, changes that can be driven by both age-related maturation and experience-dependent learning.

Because of the crucial need for normal visual experience, visual development is vulnerable to early deficits such as high optical defocus or congenital cataracts, and for these reasons treatment is generally provided as early as possible. However, new research shows

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factors governing brain plasticity and learning in these situations are another important topic of current research.

See also:

Constructivist theories; Learning theories; Eye tracking; Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); Connectionist modeling; The status of the human newborn; Attention;

Biological motion perception; Cognitive development during infancy; Cognitive development beyond infancy; Multisensory perception; Face perception and recognition; Perception and action; Locomotion; Prehension; Brain and behavior development; Cognitive neuroscience; Autism; Fragile X syndrome; Prematurity and low-birthweight; Visual impairments; Williams syndrome; Future of cognitive developmental research Further readings Atkinson, J. & Braddick, O. (2013). Visual Development. In Zelazo, P. D. (Ed), The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Psychology. NY: Oxford University Press.

Bavelier, D., Green, C. S., Pouget, A., & Schrater, P. (2012). Brain plasticity through the life span: Learning to learn and action video games. Annual. Review of. Neuroscience, 35, 391Relevant scientific organisations

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Vision Sciences Society. http://www.visionsciences.org/ References Arterberry, M. E. & Yonas, A. (2000). Perception of Three-Dimensional Shape Specified by Optic Flow by 8-Week-Old Infants. Percept. Psychophys., 62, 550-556.

Atkinson, J. (2000). The Developing Visual Brain. Oxford: OUP Atkinson, J., Hood, B., Wattam-Bell, J., & Braddick, O. (1992). Changes in Infants' Ability to Switch Visual Attention in the First Three Months of Life. Perception, 21, 643Bavelier, D., Levi, D. M., Li, R. W., Dan, Y., & Hensch, T. K. (2010). Removing Brakes on Adult Brain Plasticity: From Molecular to Behavioral Interventions. J Neurosci., 30, 14964-14971.

Braddick, O., Atkinson, J., & Wattam-Bell, J. (2003). Normal and Anomalous Development of Visual Motion Processing: Motion Coherence and 'Dorsal-Stream Vulnerability'.

Neuropsychologia., 41, 1769-1784.

Clark, A. (2013). Whatever Next? Predictive Brains, Situated Agents, and the Future of Cognitive Science. Behav. Brain Sci., 36, 181-204.

de Haan, M., Pascalis, O., & Johnson, M. H. (2002). Specialization of Neural Mechanisms Underlying Face Recognition in Human Infants. J. Cogn Neurosci., 14, 199-209.

Grill-Spector, K., Golarai, G., & Gabrieli, J. (2008). Developmental Neuroimaging of the Human Ventral Visual Cortex. Trends Cogn Sci., 12, 152-162.

Hadad, B. S., Maurer, D., & Lewis, T. L. (2011). Long Trajectory for the Development of Sensitivity to Global and Biological Motion. Dev. Sci., 14, 1330-1339.

Johnson, M. H., Dziurawiec, S., Ellis, H., & Morton, J. (1991). Newborns' Preferential Tracking of Face-Like Stimuli and Its Subsequent Decline. Cognition, 40, 1-19.

Johnson, S. P. (2004). Development of Perceptual Completion in Infancy. Psychol. Sci., 15, 769-775.

Jones, P. R., Kalwarowsky, S., Atkinson, J., Braddick, O. J., & Nardini, M. (2014).

Automated Measurement of Resolution Acuity in Infants Using Remote EyeTracking. Invest Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci.,

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Kaufman, J., Csibra, G., & Johnson, M. H. (2003). Representing Occluded Objects in the Human Infant Brain. Proc. Biol. Sci., 270 Suppl 2, S140-S143.

Manning, C., Dakin, S. C., Tibber, M. S., & Pellicano, E. (2014). Averaging, Not Internal Noise, Limits the Development of Coherent Motion Processing. Dev. Cogn Neurosci., 10, 44-56.

Maurer, D., Mondloch, C. J., & Lewis, T. L. (2007). Sleeper Effects. Dev. Sci., 10, 40-47.

Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Kohn, P., Mervis, C. B., Kippenhan, S., Olsen, R. K., Morris, C. A., & Berman, K. F. (2004). Neural Basis of Genetically Determined Visuospatial Construction Deficit in Williams Syndrome. Neuron, 43, 623-631.

Mondloch, C. J., Le Grand, R., & Maurer, D. (2002). Configural Face Processing Develops More Slowly Than Featural Face Processing. Perception, 31, 553-566.

Nardini, M., Bedford, R., & Mareschal, D. (2010). Fusion of Visual Cues Is Not Mandatory in Children. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A, 107, 17041-17046.

Nishimura, M., Scherf, S., & Behrmann, M. (2009). Development of Object Recognition in Humans. F1000. Biol. Rep., 1, 56.

Pascalis, O., de Haan, M., & Nelson, C. A. (2002). Is Face Processing Species-Specific During the First Year of Life? Science, 296, 1321-1323.

Teller, D. Y., McDonald, M. A., Preston, K., Sebris, S. L., & Dobson, V. (1986). Assessment of Visual Acuity in Infants and Children: the Acuity Card Procedure. Dev. Med. Child Neurol., 28, 779-789.

Thomas, R., Nardini, M., & Mareschal, D. (2010). Interactions Between "Light-FromAbove" and Convexity Priors in Visual Development. J. Vis., 10, 6.

von Hofsten, C. (2004). An Action Perspective on Motor Development. Trends Cogn Sci., 8, 266-272.

Wattam-Bell, J. (1991). Development of Motion-Specific Cortical Responses in Infancy.

Vision Res., 31, 287-297.

Wattam-Bell, J., Birtles, D., Nystrom, P., von, H. C., Rosander, K., Anker, S., Atkinson, J., & Braddick, O. (2010). Reorganization of Global Form and Motion Processing During Human Visual Development. Curr. Biol., 20, 411-415.

Wiesel, T. N. (1982). Postnatal Development of the Visual Cortex and the Influence of Environment. Nature, 299, 583-591.

Yonas, A., Cleaves, W. T., & Pettersen, L. (1978). Development of Sensitivity to Pictorial Depth. Science, 200, 77-79.

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