Purpose: This experiment used longitudinal testing to trace the emergence of the major components of pattern visual evoked potentials (VEPs) in infants, using two paradigms: large-checkerboard pattern reversal and low spatial frequency pattern onset.
Methods: Testing with both pattern-reversal and pattern-onset stimuli was performed on the same infants. Testing was conducted at weekly intervals during the first three postnatal months, and at intervals of 2 weeks to 1 month thereafter.
Results: The pattern-reversal and early pattern-onset responses recorded within individual subjects showed remarkably systematic developmental sequences. The broad, positive component seen at 200 to 250 ms in infants could be traced readily through the developmental sequence, to become the more sharply tuned positive component seen at about 100 ms in adults. Responses to low spatial frequency pattern onsets in infants were larger and more reliable than those in adults. The late components of the pattern-onset response, generally attributed to pattern offset, emerged later and with more complex changes. In all cases, response amplitude was much more variable than response latency, both within and between subjects.
Conclusions: Frequent VEP recording in a longitudinal design can reveal systematic and detailed transitions of wave-form during development.