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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: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.176.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
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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