August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Learning to read upside-down: a study of perceptual expertise and acquisition
Author Affiliations
  • Cristina Rubino
    Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Psychology, University of British Columbia
  • Elsa Ahlen
    Faculty of Medicine, University of Linköping
  • Charlotte S. Hills
    Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Psychology, University of British Columbia
  • Hashim M. Hanif
    Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Psychology, University of British Columbia
  • Jason J. S. Barton
    Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Psychology, University of British Columbia
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 176. doi:10.1167/14.10.176
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      Cristina Rubino, Elsa Ahlen, Charlotte S. Hills, Hashim M. Hanif, Jason J. S. Barton; Learning to read upside-down: a study of perceptual expertise and acquisition. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):176. doi: 10.1167/14.10.176.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Introduction: Reading is an expert visual and ocular motor function, learned almost exclusively in a single orientation. Characterizing this expertise can be accomplished by contrasts between reading of normal and inverted text, in which perceptual but not linguistic factors are altered. Objective: Our goal was to examine this inversion effect in healthy subjects reading text, to derive behavioural and ocular motor markers of perceptual reading expertise, and to study these parameters before and after training with inverted reading. Methods: Seven subjects underwent a 10-week program of 30 half-hour sessions of reading novels with pages displayed inverted on computer monitors. Before and after training we assessed reading of upright and inverted single words for response time and word-length effects, and reading of paragraphs for time required, accuracy, and ocular motor parameters. Results: Subjects gained about 1.17 words/minute with each session, or a substantial 35 words/minute over the entire training period. Before training, inverted reading was characterized by long reading times and large word-length effects, with eye movements showing more and longer fixations, more and smaller forward saccades, and more regressive saccades. Training partially reversed many of these effects in single word and text reading, with the best gains occurring in reading aloud time and proportion of regressive saccades, and the least change in forward saccade amplitude. Conclusions: Reading speed and ocular motor parameters can serve as markers of perceptual expertise during reading, and that training with inverted text over 10 weeks results in gains of about 30% in reading expertise. This approach may be useful in the rehabilitation of patients with hemianopic dyslexia, as inverted reading has the potential of restoring parafoveal preview and visual span in front of the currently fixated letter.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014

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