Spatial and temporal aspects of visual backward masking in children and young adolescents
The development of visual functions is very diverse. Some visual functions mature within the first year of life, whereas maturation for other functions extends into adolescence. The reasons for these developmental differences are largely unknown. Here, we investigated spatiotemporal processing in children (7-9 years, n = 15), young adolescents (11-13 years, n = 26), and adults (18-33 years, n = 24) using the shine-through visual backward-masking paradigm. We found that children had significantly longer vernier durations than either young adolescents or adults. However, children's spatial and temporal processing of complex masks was very similar to that of young adolescents and adults. We suggest that spatiotemporal processing related to visual backward masking is already fully developed at age 7, whereas the attentional processes related to target enhancement only mature in young adolescence.