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Yingchen He, Gordon Legge; Training as Part of a Word Game Increases Reading Speed in Peripheral Vision. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1172. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.1172.
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Purpose: Patients with central-field loss from macular degeneration must rely on their peripheral vision to read, which is slow and difficult even for normally sighted subjects. Our lab has demonstrated that intensive perceptual training on a trigram (three adjacent letters) letter-recognition task in peripheral vision is effective in increasing peripheral reading speed of normally sighted subjects by 40% or more (e.g. He, Legge & Yu, Journal of Vision, 2013). To make this tedious training more enjoyable and motivating, we have incorporated the trigram training into a word game, similar to the popular TV show Wheel of Fortune. In the game, correct trigram responses yield clues to category items such as world cities. Here we evaluated the resulting training benefits in comparison with traditional trigram training. Method: Six young, normally sighted subjects in the gaming group (G) played our game for four days, 1.5 hours/day, matching the training time of a traditional training group (T). Since adding the game reduced the number of training trials in group G to half of that in group T, another four subjects in a long-gaming group (L) were trained for six days, 2 hours/day to match the number of training trials to group T. RSVP reading speed was measured in pre- and post-tests. Results: For all three groups, reading speed improved significantly after training, and the improvement did not differ significantly between groups. Conclusions: Our game-based training produces the same benefits for reading speed as the traditional trigram training with half the number of trigram trials, but longer game-playing did not produce extra benefit. Although the gaming component increases the training time, it also produced elevated interest and motivation during the training, making the game-based training potentially more acceptable for a clinical population.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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