Development of radial frequency pattern perception in macaque monkeys

C. L. Rodríguez Deliz, Gerick M. Lee, Brittany N. Bushnell, Najib J. Majaj, J. Anthony Movshon, Lynne Kiorpes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infant primates see poorly, and most perceptual functions mature steadily beyond early infancy. Behavioral studies on human and macaque infants show that global form perception, as measured by the ability to integrate contour information into a coherent percept, improves dramatically throughout the first several years after birth. However, it is unknown when sensitivity to curvature and shape emerges in early life or how it develops. We studied the development of shape sensitivity in 18 macaques, aged 2 months to 10 years. Using radial frequency stimuli, circular targets whose radii are modulated sinusoidally, we tested monkeys' ability to radial frequency stimuli from circles as a function of the depth and frequency of sinusoidal modulation. We implemented a new four-choice oddity task and compared the resulting data with that from a traditional two-alternative forced choice task. We found that radial frequency pattern perception was measurable at the youngest age tested (2 months). Behavioral performance at all radial frequencies improved with age. Performance was better for higher radial frequencies, suggesting the developing visual system prioritizes processing of fine visual details that are ecologically relevant. By using two complementary methods, we were able to capture a comprehensive developmental trajectory for shape perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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