Critical Periods

  • Nigel W. Daw


There is a critical period for the effects of monocular deprivation in animals, lasting from soon after eye opening to near puberty. Other visual properties can also be disrupted, with critical periods that may be slightly different. For example, orientation and direction selectivity need to be in coordination before stereopsis develops so that the binocular cells will have similar inputs from the two eyes. Properties dealt with at higher levels of the visual system tend to have later critical periods. The period for development of the visual property may be earlier, and it is usual to be able to recover from the disruption of a property for some time afterwards. More recently, experiments have shown that considerable recovery can be seen in the adult, although the magnitude of the recovery may not be as large as it is in juveniles. The critical period for acuity in humans lasts from a few months of age to 6–8 years, whereas the critical period for binocular vision and stereopsis peaks at a few months of age. Thus binocular function should be treated as early as possible.


Critical Period Visually Evoke Potential Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Primary Visual Cortex Ocular Dominance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel W. Daw
    • 1
  1. 1.BranfordUSA

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