A high-density EEG study on cortical activity in response to visual motion perception: Longitudinal comparison of preterm and full-term infants
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Electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to investigate brain electrical activity of full-term and preterm infants at 5 and 12 months of age as a functional response mechanism to structured forwards optic flow, structured reversed optic flow, and random visual motion. EEG data were recorded with a 128-channel sensor array and visually evoked potentials (VEPs) were analysed. VEP results showed a significant improvement in full-term infants with age in latencies to forwards and reversed optic flow, but not to random visual motion. In addition, full-term infants at 12 months significantly differentiated between the three motion conditions. They showed the shortest latency to forwards optic flow and the longest latency to random visual motion. On the other hand, preterm infants did not improve their latencies with age, nor were they capable of differentiating between the three motion conditions at 12 months. It appeared that full-term infants at 12 months with a substantial amount of self-produced locomotor experience and accompanying neural maturation, rely on the perception of structured optic flows to move around in the environment efficiently, and that they are negatively affected by the lack of structure in random visual motion. It was concluded that the preterm infants’ poorer performances are related to impairment of the dorsal visual stream which is specialized in processing visual motion. To better understand the fundamentals of early neurodevelopment and how it differs in prematurity, more research comparing data on the changes in brain activity in response to visual motion perception during infancy is suggested.