This chapter considers the visual capabilities of the normal newborn infant, starting with crude visual orienting behaviour towards visually conspicuous objects. The evidence for a specific ability in newborns to recognize face configurations, and its possible neural underpinnings is reviewed. Studies that measure the development of acuity and contrast sensitivity from birth are discussed, including the likely optical, retinal, and neural factors limiting these processes, and the relationship between measurements based on preferential looking and those obtained by VEP/VERP methods. It presents data from two unique intensive longitudinal studies of the author's daughters, Fleur and Ione, on development of contrast sensitivity and acuity. The results show that compared across many testing sessions, OKN (optokinetic nystagmus), VEPs, and preferential looking measures show broad agreement in the time course of development of contrast sensitivity.
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