The influence of binocular visual deprivation on the development of visual-spatial attention

M. C. Goldberg, D. Maurer, T. L. Lewis, H. P. Brent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article examines the effects of visual input on the development of attention by comparing normal children to children, all more than 8 years old, who had been treated for bilateral congenital cataracts during infancy. In Experiment 1, patients pushed a button as soon as they detected a target that appeared 100, 400, or 800 msec after a central cue. The cue either validly cued the upcoming location or invalidly cued the wrong location. Patients (n = 16) performed normally at the 100 msec and 400 msec stimulus on-set asynchrony (SOA). However, when the cue preceded the target by the 800 msec SOA, patients' reaction times were not affected by the validity of the cue, especially when deprivation had extended past 4 months of age. In Experiment 2, patients indicated which of two shapes appeared in the periphery 400 msec after a central cue, with those shapes surrounded by compatible or incompatible distractors. Patients (n = 15) differed from age-matched controls in (a) being slowed more by incompatible distractors on invalid trials, and (b) tending to show a larger than normal effect of the validity of the cue preceding targets in the upper visual field. Together, these findings suggest that the normal development of attention is influenced by early visual experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-81
Number of pages29
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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