Development of contrast sensitivity and acuity of the infant colour system

M. C. Morrone, D. C. Burr, A. Fiorentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have monitored the development of infant colour vision by measuring chromatic contrast sensitivity and acuity in eight young infants over a period of 6 months. Steady-state visual evoked potentials (VEPS) were recorded in response to both chromatic (red-green) and luminance (red-black or green-black) patterns that were reversed in contrast over time. For most infants, no response could be obtained to chromatic stimuli of any size or contrast before 5 weeks of age, although luminance stimuli of 20% contrast gave reliable responses at that age. When responses to chromatic stimuli first appeared, they could be obtained only with stimuli of very low spatial frequency, 20 times lower than the acuity for luminance stimuli. Both contrast sensitivity and acuity for chromatic stimuli increased steadily, more rapidly than for luminance stimuli. As the spectral selectivities of infant cones are similar to those of adults, the difference in rate of development of luminance and chromatic contrast sensitivity and acuity stimuli probably reflects neural development of the infant colour system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-139
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1304
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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