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Logo of iperceptioni-Perception
Iperception. 2011 May; 2(4): 316.
Published online 2011 May 1. doi:  10.1068/ic316
PMCID: PMC5393703

Noise Exclusion Ability in Infants


An important perceptual ability is to filter out background distractions from relevant information. However, prior research has not identified when this begins in humans. Our study aims to investigate whether noise exclusion ability occurs in infancy. Infants' contrast sensitivity function (CSF) was measured by a Baynesian adaptive inference method. Infants' attention was directed to the middle of a monitor where an 8.72 degree static Gabor grating was presented on the left or right side of the monitor. In half the trials, the grating was presented against a gray background; in the other half, against a 16% contrast random-dot noise background. The experimenter and two independent coders judged which side the infants gazed at (force-choice preferential looking paradigm). One-hundred babies aged from 4 to 10 months satisfied the 70% interrater consistency criterion for inclusion. Four parameters defined the best-fitted CSF for each infant. Of these, peak spatial frequency, bandwidth and truncation of CSF were similar in conditions with and without noise. The peak gain estimate was most significantly impaired by external noise, but a marked 31% improvement was observed in 7- to 10-month-olds. This may be the first sign of development of human's noise exclusion ability, and is worth further study.

Articles from i-Perception are provided here courtesy of SAGE Publications