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Suppression of the optokinetic reflex in human infants: implications for stable fixation and shifts of attention.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • R. N. Aslin
  • S. P. Johnson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1996
<mark>Journal</mark>Infant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)233-240
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The ability of 1-, 2-, and 4-month-old infants to attend to a small, stationary visual target while a large background texture moved horizontally was assessed using electrooculography. The background texture, consisting of a randomly arranged field of dots or a set of vertically oriented stripes, was effective at all ages in eliciting the optokinetic reflex (OKR), which stabilizes gaze on a moving display. When the target, consisting of a red bar, was added to the center of the moving background display, it was effective in suppressing the OKR, except in 1-month-olds. Under monocular viewing conditions, background motion in the nasal-temporal direction was ineffective in eliciting robust OKR in 1- and 2-month-olds. These same infants presented with temporal-nasal background motion showed robust OKR equal to their OKR under binocular viewing conditions. However, the 2-month-olds showed OKR suppression only half as often as they did under binocular viewing conditions, and the 1-month-olds did not show OKR suppression. The 4-month-olds showed no nasal-temporal OKR asymmetry under monocular viewing conditions, and, like the 2-month-olds, OKR suppression was present about half as often as under binocular viewing conditions.