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Ready to experience: Binocular function is turned on earlier in preterm infants

Dr. Ilona Kovacs

Tuesday, November 01, 2011, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Cognitive Science

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The cerebral cortex of the human brain is remarkably prone to environmental input early in life; however, the precise contribution of experience in the development of cortical functions is unresolved. Employing a visual evoked potential paradigm, we ask whether the extra postnatal visual experience in preterm human neonates leads to a change in the developmental timing of binocular vision. The results suggest that the developmental processes preceding the onset of binocular function are not preprogrammed, and that the mechanisms turning on stereopsis are experience-dependent. This finding opens up a number of further queries with respect to human-specific cortical plasticity.

Dr. Ilona Kovacs