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Volume 10 Issue 1 (January 2007), Pages iii-iii, 1-158

Sleeper effects (pages 40-47)

Abstract

Early experience preserves and refines many capabilities that emerge prenatally. Here we describe another role that it plays – establishing the neural substrate for capabilities that emerge at a much later point in development. The evidence comes from sleeper effects: permanent deficits when early experience was absent in capabilities that normally emerge long after birth. We provide evidence of sleeper effects for three aspects of vision, based on our research with children who were deprived of early visual input by congenital cataracts: contrast sensitivity for mid and high spatial frequencies, holistic face processing, and the ability to recognize the identity of faces based on small differences in the spacing among facial features.

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