Critical periods in development for susceptibility to the effects of stroboscopic rearing in the rabbit visual cortex

Exp Brain Res. 1983;50(2-3):367-72. doi: 10.1007/BF00239202.


Previous studies have shown that rearing rabbits in a stroboscopically illuminated environment results in a decrease in orientation and direction selectivity and an increase in responsivity to stroboscopic stimuli among neurons in area 17. In the present study, the critical period for susceptibility to these effects was studied by varying the time of onset of the deprivation. Groups of Dutch belted rabbits were reared normally and then placed in a stroboscopically illuminated environment at ages 1, 2 or 3 months, and response characteristics of visual cortical neurons were compared with those obtained from normal rabbits and from rabbits reared in a stroboscopic environment from birth. Results show that the different effects of strobe rearing have different critical periods. Increased responsivity to stroboscopic stimuli was seen only in rabbits deprived from birth. The effects of strobe rearing on both direction and orientation selectivity decreased with increasing age at the time of onset of the deprivation. However, only direction selectivity was modified by deprivation beginning at 3 months of age.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Critical Period, Psychological
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Rabbits
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development*