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The effects of reverse monocular deprivation in monkeys I. Psychophysical experiments

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Summary

Monkeys had one eye closed at about 30 days of age for 14, 30, 60, or 90 days, then opened, and the fellow eye closed for another 120 days. The animals then had at least 10 months of binocular visual experience before behavioral training and testing were begun. All subjects were used in a series of psychophysical investigations during the next two years. The results of the behavioral studies indicated that the initially deprived eyes (IDE) of the two monkeys that were subjected to initial deprivation periods of 14 or 30 days recovered normal or nearnormal spatial contrast sensitivity. In contrast, the two animals which underwent longer periods of initial deprivation showed incomplete recovery, especially for high spatial frequency stimuli. All of the monkeys exhibited a reduction in spatial contrast sensitivity for their reverse deprived eyes (RDE); the earlier the onset of the reverse-deprivation procedures (i.e., the, shorter the initial period of deprivation), the greater the deficit in the RDE's spatial contrast sensitivity. Measurements of temporal contrast sensitivity showed that all of the subjects' IDEs had normal or near-normal sensitivity levels. However, the reverse-deprivation procedures initiated at 90 days of age or earlier produced a frequency dependent reduction in the RDE's temporal modulation sensitivity. The measures of increment-threshold spectral sensitivity revealed that only the RDE of the monkey that had the shortest initial deprivation period had an abnormal spectral sensitivity function. The results demonstrate that many of the severe behavioral deficits produced by early monocular form deprivation can be recovered via reverse deprivation procedures. However, depending upon the length of the initial deprivation period and the age at which the reversal procedure is initiated, the second deprivation period can also adversely affect the functional capacity of the RDE.

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Author information

Correspondence to M. L. J. Crawford.

Additional information

Supported by National Eye Institute grants R01 EY01120, R01 EY03611, R01 EY01139, and EY02520

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Harwerth, R.S., Smith, E.L., Crawford, M.L.J. et al. The effects of reverse monocular deprivation in monkeys I. Psychophysical experiments. Exp Brain Res 74, 327–337 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00248866

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Key words

  • Amblyopia
  • Stimulus deprivation
  • Reverse deprivation
  • Psychophysics
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Spectral sensitivity
  • Oblique effects
  • Rhesus monkey