Spatial and temporal aspects of visual backward masking in children and young adolescents

Karin S. Pilz, Marina Kunchulia, Khatuna Parkosadze, Michael H. Herzog

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The development of visual functions is very diverse. Some visual functions mature within the first year of life while maturation for other functions extends into adolescence. The reasons for these developmental differences are largely unknown. Here, we investigated spatiotemporal processing in children (7-9 years, n=15), young adolescents (11-13 years, n=26), and adults (18-33 years, n=24) using the shine-through visual backward masking paradigm. We found that children had significantly longer vernier durations than young adolescents or adults. However, the spatial and temporal processing of complex masks was
very similar to young adolescents and adults. We therefore suggest that spatiotemporal processing related to visual backward masking is already fully developed at age 7, whereas attentional processes related to target enhancement only mature in young adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1144
Number of pages8
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Issue number4
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Bibliographical note

We thank Marc Repnow for his help setting up the experiments. In addition, we thank two anonymous reviewers for their very thoughtful and helpful comments. This work was supported by the Volkswagen Foundation project “Between Europe and the Orient—A Focus on Research and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus” and by the VELUX Foundation project “Perception, Cognition and Healthy Brain Aging.”


  • development
  • spatial vision
  • temporal processing


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