Improved Visual Cognition through Stroboscopic Training

“Humans have a remarkable capacity to learn and adapt, but surprisingly little research has demonstrated generalized learning in which new skills and strategies can be used flexibly across a range of tasks and contexts. In the present work we examined whether generalized learning could result from visual–motor training under stroboscopic visual conditions. Individuals were assigned to either an experimental condition that trained with stroboscopic eyewear or to a control condition that underwent identical training with non-stroboscopic eyewear. The training consisted of multiple sessions of athletic activities during which participants performed simple drills such as throwing and catching. To determine if training led to generalized 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), and sustained attention (multiple-object tracking). Results revealed that stroboscopic training led to significantly greater re-test improvement in central visual field motion sensitivity and transient attention abilities. No 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 suggest that stroboscopic training can effectively improve some, but not all aspects of visual perception and attention.”

 

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“The goal of the present research was to begin to assess for improvements in visual cognitive abilities following stroboscopic training. For this purpose we used the recently developed Nike Vapor Strobe® eyewear. This eyewear uses battery-powered liquid crystal filtered lenses that alternate between clear and opaque states and provides varying lengths of occlusion that are under the users’ control. The strobe effect is defined by opaque states that can vary through eight levels (67–900 ms), while the transparent state is fixed at a constant 100 ms (1–6 Hz).

In theory, stroboscopic exposure may influence any of a number of perceptual or cognitive abilities. As such, we took an exploratory approach in order to assess for generalized transfer cognitive abilities due to stroboscopic training. We devised a series of computer-based and physical assessments to measure abilities before and after training. Participants either trained while wearing the Strobe eyewear or while wearing Control eyewear, an identical product except that it contained transparent lenses. For each assessment, the critical question was whether individuals who trained under stroboscopic conditions would improve significantly more from the pre-training assessments to the post-training assessments than those trained with the transparent eyewear. We adopted a broad methodological approach by using a variety of assessments and extensively piloting these measures. Findings from several of these assessments are reported here, and we discuss additional measures and future directions in the General Discussion.”

Read the full paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3203550/

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