Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Accurate measures of perceptual threshold are difficult to obtain in infants. In a clinical context, the challenges are particularly acute because the methods must yield meaningful results quickly and within a single individual. The present work considers how best to maximize speed, accuracy, and reliability when testing infants behaviorally and suggests some simple principles for improving test efficiency. Monte Carlo simulations, together with empirical (visual acuity) data from 65 infants, are used to demonstrate how psychophysical methods developed with adults can produce misleading results when applied to infants. The statistical properties of an effective clinical infant test are characterized, and based on these, it is shown that (a) a reduced (false-positive) guessing rate can greatly increase test efficiency, (b) the ideal threshold to target is often below 50% correct, and (c) simply taking the max correct response can often provide the best measure of an infant's perceptual sensitivity.

Original publication




Journal article


J Vis

Publication Date





Eye Movements, Humans, Infant, Monte Carlo Method, Psychophysics, Reproducibility of Results, Sensory Thresholds, Vision Tests, Visual Acuity, Visual Perception