Multiple sensitive periods in the development of the primate visual system

Science. 1986 Apr 11;232(4747):235-8. doi: 10.1126/science.3952507.


Early in life, abnormal visual experience may disrupt the developmental processes required for the maturation and maintenance of normal visual function. The effects of retinal image deprivation (monocular form deprivation) on four psychophysical functions were investigated in rhesus monkeys to determine if the sensitive period is of the same duration for all types of visual information processing. The basic spectral sensitivity functions of rods and cones have relatively short sensitive periods of development (3 and 6 months) when compared to more complex functions such as monocular spatial vision or resolution (25 months) and binocular vision (greater than 25 months). Therefore, there are multiple, partially overlapping sensitive periods of development and the sensitive period for each specific visual function is probably different.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta / growth & development
  • Photoreceptor Cells / growth & development
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*