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Spectral sensitivity of human infants at absolute visual threshold


Vision Research 21(7): 1005-1016
Spectral sensitivity of human infants at absolute visual threshold
The forced-choice preferential looking technique (FPL) was used in conjunction with an infrared television viewing system to measure the dark-adapted visual sensitivity of human infants at 1 and 3 mo. of age. Absolute thresholds of 1 mo. olds were about 50 times higher than adults and those of 3 mo. olds were about 10 times higher. Spectral sensitivity at 1 mo. matched the CIE [International Commission of Illumination] scotopic luminosity function at wavelengths longer than 430 nm; at wavelengths shorter than 430 nm there was an elevation in sensitivity but it was not statistically significant. Spectral sensitivity at 3 mo. matched the CIE scotopic luminosity function at all wavelengths. It was concluded that rods in the eyes of human infants contain rhodopsin by 1 mo. of age; that the scotopic system is functional and more sensitive than any cone system by 1 mo. of age; and that even in very young infants a single quantal absorption may be sufficient to generate a behaviorally meaningful signal in a rod photoreceptor.

Accession: 006459868

PMID: 7314480

DOI: 10.1016/0042-6989(81)90004-3

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