Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that while infants can perceive flicker or movement, they may not be able to identify the individual elements within a moving or changing scene as well as an adult.
"Their visual experience of changes around them is definitely different from that of an adult," researcher Faraz Farzin said.
But even in adults, she said, the brain is limited in the rate at which it can keep up with changing information in a scene.
An adult can't recognize individual moment-to-moment changes that occur faster than every 50-70 milliseconds, the study found, while for infants the speed limit is about half a second, almost 10 times slower than for adults, a UC David release said Friday.
Babies are not born with all the visual abilities they need in life, the researchers said, and only gradually develop the ability to use visual information from the world around them.