Central-field loss necessitates the use of peripheral vision which makes reading slow and difficult. Slower temporal processing of letter recognition has been shown to be a limiting factor in peripheral letter recognition and reading. Previous studies showed that perceptual learning can increase the number of letters recognized on each fixation and is accompanied by an increase in reading speed. We hypothesized that improvement in temporal processing speed underlies the observed training effects. Here, we proposed an adaptive training procedure to focus on boosting the speed of letter recognition, and investigated whether peripheral reading would be enhanced by this training method. Seven normally-sighted subjects were trained with four daily one-hour sessions of a letter recognition task at 10° in the lower visual field in a pre/post design. During training, we adjusted stimulus duration on a block by block basis to maintain task difficulty near a pre-defined level of 80% performance accuracy. Stimulus duration progressively decreased with training, indicative of faster letter recognition at the 80% criterion. Following training, reading speed measured using a rapid serial visual presentation showed a substantial improvement in the trained (lower) field (41%) and the untrained (upper) field (27%), similar to the improvements observed from the training with a fixed stimulus duration. Despite being no more effective than the previous training, the adaptive temporal training method may allow individualized training, and may have advantages for clinical populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by NIH grants EY002934 , EY012810 , and EY025658 .
- Perceptual learning
- Peripheral vision
- Reading speed
- Temporal processing
- Visual span