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Reduced looming sensitivity in primary school children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder

Reduced looming sensitivity in primary school children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder

Purcell, Catherine, Wann, John P., Wilmut, Kate and Poulter, Damian ORCID: 0000-0003-2521-5959 (2012) Reduced looming sensitivity in primary school children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder. Developmental Science, 15 (3). pp. 299-306. ISSN 1363-755X (Print), 1467-7687 (Online) (doi:

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Almost all locomotor animals are sensitive to optical expansion (visual looming) and for most animals this sensitivity is evident very early in their development. In humans there is evidence that responses to looming stimuli begin in the first 6 weeks of life, but here we demonstrate that as children become independent their perceptual acuity needs to be 50 to 100 times better than has been demonstrated in infants in order to be skilful at collision avoidance at a roadside. We have recently established that sensitivity to the detection of visual looming in 6- to 11-year-old children is significantly below that of adults (Wann, Poulter & Purcell, 2011). Here, using comparable methods, we explore looming detection sensitivity in children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), who show broad patterns of impairment in visuo-motor control. We presented visual simulations of approaching vehicles, scaled to represent different approach rates, to children with DCD aged between 6 and 11 years (n = 11) and typically developing age and gender matched controls (n = 11). Looming detection thresholds were measured under foveal and perifoveal viewing conditions, for isotropic expansion and isotropic expansion with simulated viewpoint motion. Our results show that there are situations in which children with DCD may fail to detect vehicles approaching at speeds in excess of 22 km/h, suggesting a developmental immaturity in looming sensitivity. This provides one of the first clear demonstrations of low-level motion processing deficits in children with DCD. The decrement observed may give rise to potential errors in the road crossing behaviour of these children, whereby approaching vehicles could be perceived as stationary. These findings further contribute towards understanding the adverse statistic that children under 9 years of age are four times more likely than adults to be involved in a road accident as a pedestrian.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Article first published online: 1 MAR 2012. Issue published online: 10 APR 2012. Published in Developmental Science, Volume 15, Issue 3, May 2012.
Uncontrolled Keywords: vision, detection, looming, children, road, safety, time to contact, tau, perception, development
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
School of Health & Social Care > Department of Psychology & Counselling
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:22

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