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Child Development Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 450178, 6 pages
Research Article

Visual Processing Speeds in Children

1Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, Campus Box 4620, Normal, IL 61790-4620, USA
2Department of Psychology, University of Derby, Derby DE22 1GB, UK

Received 20 September 2010; Accepted 15 March 2011

Academic Editor: Tricia Striano

Copyright © 2011 Steve Croker and Frances A. Maratos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study was to investigate visual processing speeds in children. A rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task with schematic faces as stimuli was given to ninety-nine 6–10-year-old children as well as a short form of the WISC-III. Participants were asked to determine whether a happy face stimulus was embedded in a stream of distracter stimuli. Presentation time was gradually reduced from 500 ms per stimulus to 100 ms per stimulus, in 50 ms steps. The data revealed that (i) RSVP speed increases with age, (ii) children aged 8 years and over can discriminate stimuli presented every 100 ms—the speed typically used with RSVP procedures in adult and adolescent populations, and (iii) RSVP speed is significantly correlated with digit span and object assembly. In consequence, the RSVP paradigm presented here is appropriate for use in further investigations of processes of temporal attention within this cohort.