Perception of visual illusions in elementary school-aged children in health and with neurodevelopmental disorder

Tolmacheva Е.A., Maksimenko M.J.1

Institute of Information Transmission Problems, RAS; Russia,127051, Moscow Bolshoy Karetny per. 19, build.1; tel: +7 495 650 4225, E-mail:

1M.V. Lomonosov Мoscow State University; Russia, 125009, Moscow, 11-5, Mokhovaya Str., 1-9; tel.: +7 (495) 629 -37-23

Nowadays prevalence of children with deficits in cognitive functioning is growing. Visuo-spatial perception is based on functional integration between prefrontal cortex and parieto-occipital cortical region of both hemispheres and considered to be the most vulnerable to various factors that take place in normal ontogenesis and may lead to developmental disabilities. Geometrical-optical illusions, in particular the Müller-Lyer illusion, are a unique phenomenon related to the nature and physiological mechanisms of visuo-spatial perception. The purpose of this study was to investigate immunity to the Müller-Lyer illusion in parallel with precision of line length estimation by sight in primary school children with neurodevelopmental disorder in comparison to healthy children of the same age. The quantitative measurements were performed with the use of interactive computer software. It was established that minimal brain dysfunction and intellectual disability were characterized by both a higher illusion vulnerability and a lower precision in line length estimation by sight. Children with autistic spectrum disorder had a lower precision in line length estimation, while their susceptibility to the illusion did not differ from healthy children of the same age. The data obtained in this study highlight that quantitative measurements of the vulnerability to the Müller-Lyer illusion provide a valuable tool to explore visuo-spatial perception in both normal and pathological conditions.

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