Les effets environnementaux sur le développement du cortex visuel

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)2511-2515
Journal / PublicationCahiers médicaux lyonnais
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes


It is known that environmental stimulation of the sensory receptors during maturation is essential for the development of perceptual mechanisms. It is therefore possible to construct experimental situations in which the parameters of the visual environment available to the animal during development are strictly controlled. Later, when such an animal is full grown, it is capable of responding only to stimuli made up of these parameters, remaining 'blind' to other components of the visual environment. Furthermore, only those elements previously making up the animal's simplified visual world will be able to activate the specialized neurones of the visual centers. The experiments described here represent a major advance: they show in effect that the visual experience which will later determine the animal's perceptive capacities must be acquired at a particular moment in development. Outside this critical period, within which susceptibility to external stimulation is maximal, the same visual experience ceases to be adequate for the acquisition and definitive establishment of operational perception. There is clearly a place for these results within the larger framework of discussions dealing with the respective roles of heredity and environment in the development of adult abilities, for even if the maturation of a large number of synaptic mechanisms is in fact preprogrammed, environmental stimulation remains indispensable for the definitive fixation of the characteristics which will determine the specificity of each neurone.