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Jesse S. Husk, Deyue Yu; Learning to recognize letters in the periphery: Effects of repeated exposure, letter frequency, and letter complexity. Journal of Vision 2017;17(3):3. doi: 10.1167/17.3.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Patients with central vision loss must rely on their peripheral vision for reading. Unfortunately, limitations of peripheral vision, such as crowding, pose significant challenges to letter recognition. As a result, there is a need for developing effective training methods for improving crowded letter recognition in the periphery. Several studies have shown that extensive practice with letter stimuli is beneficial to peripheral letter recognition. Here, we explore stimulus-related factors that might influence the effectiveness of peripheral letter recognition training. Specifically, we examined letter exposure (number of letter occurrences), frequency of letter use in English print, and letter complexity and evaluated their contributions to the amount of improvement observed in crowded letter recognition following training. We analyzed data collected across a range of training protocols. Using linear regression, we identified the best-fitting model and observed that all three stimulus-related factors contributed to improvement in peripheral letter recognition with letter exposure being the most important factor. As an important explanatory variable, pretest accuracy was included in the model as well to avoid estimate biases and was shown to have influence on the relationship between training improvement and letter exposure. When developing training protocols for peripheral letter recognition, it may be beneficial to not only consider the overall length of training, but also to tailor the number of stimulus occurrences for each letter according to its initial performance level, frequency, and complexity.
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