Children's pursuit eye movements: A developmental study

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Abstract

We examined the pursuit eye movements of adults and three groups of children 4-6, 8-10, 12-16 years of age. The first experiment compared tracking performance of a partially occluded target with that of a fully visible target. The second experiment examined pursuit abilities of children using a non-cognitive source of information for motion, i.e., proprioception. In this experiment, we compared the ability to track one's own strobe-illuminated finger with the tracking of the experimenter's finger. In the first experiment, only children 4-6 years of age had difficulty inhibiting the tendency to look towards the visible portion of the partially occluded target. They also had significantly fewer epochs of pursuit relative to teenagers and adults. The older children's pursuit eye movements (8-10) were neither significantly different from the youngest nor from the two older groups. In the second experiment, all participants pursued their own finger better than the experimenter's finger, but the youngest children had significantly fewer epochs of pursuit relative to adults. Pursuit of a partially occluded target and incorporation of proprioceptive signals to drive smooth pursuit eye movements are abilities present at four years of age that continue to develop with increasing age. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Tajik-Parvinchi, D. J., Lillakas, L., Irving, E., & Steinbach, M. J. (2003). Children’s pursuit eye movements: A developmental study. Vision Research, 43(1), 77–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(02)00397-8

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