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Mandy Biles, Ishant Yadav, Brody DeSilva, Rong Liu, Kristina Visscher; Training to Use Peripheral Vision Does Not Improve Attentional Shifts. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):272. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.272.
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Several studies have shown that training to use peripheral vision can improve performance on visual tasks involving peripheral stimuli. The mechanism of this improvement is not yet understood. Here we explore, in participants with healthy vision, whether changes in attention may contribute to this improvement. We explored whether peripheral vision training improved shifting of attention, whether it improved the ability to maintain attention to a given location, and whether these effects were specific to the trained part of the visual field. We hypothesized that shift costs (overall performance decrements due to switching covert attention from one location to another) would improve following training. We trained participants to use a pre-assigned peripheral retinal location for a total of twelve hours over several weeks using a gaze contingent training protocol with an artificial scotoma and a visual search task (Liu & Kwon, 2016). We assessed performance on a rapid serial visual presentation task which measures dynamic attention at the trained location and and an equivalent untrained location. After training, the overall accuracy of responses improved significantly. However, training did not lead to decreasing shift costs as hypothesized; in fact, overall shift costs significantly increased with peripheral vision training. One interpretation is that our training protocol improves the ability to maintain attention at a given location, contributing a selective benefit on trials where attention is held at the same location (hold trials). Our data support the idea that our peripheral vision training paradigm improves the ability to maintain attention to a peripheral location, and does not influence the capacity to shift attention from that location. These findings suggest that training to use peripheral vision Improves maintenance of attention to the trained location rather than improving shifting attention from that location.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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