The chromatic visual evoked response as an indication of visual development

  • Gillian A. Rudduck

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In an endeavour to provide further insight into the maturation of the cortical visual system in human infants, chromatic transient pattern reversal visual evoked potentials to red/green stimuli, were studied in a group of normal full term infants between the ages of 1 and 14 weeks post term in both cross sectional and longitudinal studies.
In order to produce stimuli in which luminance cues had been eliminated with an aim to eliciting a chromatic response, preliminary studies of isoluminance determination in adults and infants were undertaken using behavioural and electrophysiological techniques. The results showed close similarity between the isoluminant ratio for adults and infants and all values were close to photometric isoluminance.
Pattern reversal VEPs were recorded to stimuli of a range of red/green luminance ratios and an achromatic checkerboard. No transient VEP could be elicited with an isoluminant chromatic pattern reversal stimulus from any infant less than 7 weeks post term and similarly, all infants more than 7 weeks post term showed clear chromatic VEPs. The chromatic response first appeared at that age as a major positive component (P1) of long latency. This was delayed and reduced in comparison to the achromatic response. As the infant grew older, the latency of the P1 component decreased with the appearance of N1 and N by the 10th week post term. This finding was consistent throughout all infants assessed.
In a behavioural study, no infant less than 7 weeks post term demonstrated clear discrimination of the chromatic stimulus, while those infants older than 7 weeks could do so.
These findings are reviewed with respect to current neural models of visual development.
Date of AwardJul 1993
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGraham F.A. Harding (Supervisor)


  • infants
  • subcortical vision
  • isoluminance
  • colour vision

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