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Lihui Wang, Fariba Sharifian, Jonathan Napp, Carola Nath, Stefan Pollmann; Persistent and flexible perceptual training effect in simulated retinal implant vision. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):27a. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.27a.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The perception gained by retina implants (RI) is limited, which asks for a learning regime to improve patients’ visual perception. Here we investigated if object recognition in RI vision can be improved and maintained through training. To reduce unnecessary testing burden for patients, we conducted simulation experiments mimicking the limited vision of the patients with a subretinal implant. Importantly, we asked if the trained object recognition can be generalized to a new task context, and to new viewpoints of the trained objects. For this purpose, we adopted two training tasks, a labelling task where participants had to choose the correct label out of other distracting labels for the presented object, and a reverse labelling task where participants had to choose the correct object out of other distracting objects to match the presented label. Our results showed that, despite of the task order, recognition performance was improved considerably (~18.4% accuracy) through a short period of training (~one hour), and this improvement can last at least for a week. The improved object recognition, however, can be transferred only from the labelling task to the reverse labelling task but not vice versa. Additionally, the trained object recognition can be transferred to new viewpoints of the trained objects only in the labelling task but not in the reverse labelling task. These transfer effects were consistently observed irrespective of whether the task difficulty was well controlled (Experiment 1) or increased through the training procedure (Experiment 2). Training with the labelling task is therefore recommended for RI patients to achieve persistent and flexible visual perception.
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