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Lawrence Appelbaum, Matthew Cain, Julia Schroeder, Elise Darling, Stephen Mitroff; Improving visual cognition through stroboscopic training. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):603. doi: 10.1167/13.9.603.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
If people are forced to operate in an impoverished visual environment, might their visual abilities improve once they return to a normal environment? In a set of four experiments we tested this question by determining whether athletic training under stroboscopic visual conditions has the capacity to improve visual perception and cognition. In each experiment, participants were assigned to either an experimental condition wherein they trained with stroboscopic eyewear or to a control condition in which they underwent identical training with non-stroboscopic eyewear. The training consisted of multiple sessions over a number of days during which participants performed athletic drills such as throwing and catching. To determine if training led to generalizable benefits, we used computerized measures to assess perceptual and cognitive abilities on a variety of tasks before and after training. Computer-based assessments included measures of visual sensitivity (central and peripheral motion coherence thresholds), transient spatial attention (a useful field of view – dual task paradigm), sustained attention (multiple-object tracking), and visual memory (partial report task). In all tasks re-test performance was measured immediately after training, and for a subset of the tasks additional participants were re-tested with a 24-hour delay after training to assess retention. Results revealed that stroboscopic training led to significantly greater re-test improvement compared to the control group in central visual field motion sensitivity and transient attention abilities. In addition, stroboscopic training led to enhancements in short-term visual memory capacity, and these trained improvements were maintained for at least 24-hours. No significant training benefits were observed for peripheral motion sensitivity or peripheral transient attention abilities, nor were benefits seen for sustained attention during multiple-object tracking. These findings demonstrate that stroboscopic training can effectively improve some, but not all, aspects of visual cognition and suggest a potentially powerful tool for performance enhancement and/or remediation.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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