Abstract

The chromatic discrimination capabilities of 3- and 7-week-old infants were tested using 8°, 417-, 448-, 486-, 540-, and 645-nm test fields embedded in a 547-nm surround and 486-nm test fields in a broadband red surround. In corroboration of earlier studies, few 3-week-old infants demonstrated chromatic discriminations, although their performance was somewhat better when one of the lights was long wavelength. Most 7-week-old infants could make chromatic discriminations, but they still demonstrated performance minima. The radiances of the test lights at the infants’ performance minima were used to generate a spectral luminous efficiency curve. This curve agreed with both the adult heterochromatic brightness matches measured at 30° of visual eccentricity in situ and the standard adult scotopic sensitivity curve V(λ) over the short- and mid-wavelength range but deviated from both adult curves for the 645-nm test stimulus on a 547-nm surround. The results suggest that rod-initiated signals play a major role in infants’ visual performance under the conditions tested.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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