Investigating the development of infant temporal processing speed via Critical Flicker Fusion (CFF)
Hamilton, Sarah Saint
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Measures of processing speed in infants have been effective in predicting such longitudinal outcome variables as academic achievement and executive functioning in early childhood. Visual temporal processing speed (measured via Critical Flicker Fusion; CFF) is a component of information processing that is different from currently utilized infant processing speed measures (namely encoding speed and reaction time). Previous studies of infant CFF development have been very limited and marked by methodological challenges. The present cross-sectional study (N=50) sought to characterize the development of CFF thresholds across the first year of life using a custom-built apparatus to maximize measurement precision. Our results revealed a high degree of variability in infant CFF thresholds within each month of age, leaving open the possibility that these differences are due to environmental influences (e.g., nutrition). Our testing apparatus and methodology proved to be effective with infants as young as three months of age.