Quantification of visual orienting responses to coherent form and motion in typically developing children aged 0-12 years
PURPOSE. Brain damage or brain development disorders can affect (the maturation of) visual processing functions, such as form and motion detection. The aim of our study was to investigate visual orienting responses of children to a coherent form and motion stimulus as a measure for maturation of visual information processing. METHODS. The 213 typically developing children aged 0-12 years included in this study were shown a 100% coherent form and motion expansion stimulus on a remote eye tracking monitor. Orienting eye movements were quantified in terms of ocular motor reaction time to fixation (RTF). Children were divided in age groups, and their performance was compared to 30 healthy adults with a mean age of 24.49 years (SD 3.62 years). RESULTS. The RTF values of coherent form in children up to six years old were significantly higher compared to the adult group (P < 0.05, Dunnett post-hoc test). For motion, mature levels were reached at eight years old. RTF values depended on stimulus type (F1,168= 240.8, P < 0.001) and age (F11,168= 25.8, P < 0.001), and there was a significant age by stimulus type interaction (F11,168 = 2.2, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS. Remote eye tracking may provide objective insight into the maturation of visual information processing of coherent form and motion without complex instructions or active cooperation. The quantification of typical visual orienting behavior in childhood may be used as a reference for children with brain dysfunction.