Participants in a Duke University study engaged in physical activities, such as playing catch, while using either specialized eyewear that limits vision to only brief snapshots or while using eyewear with clear lenses that provides uninterrupted vision. Participants completed a computer-based visual memory test before and after the physical activities. Research participants came from the Duke community.
Many were recruited from University-organized sports teams, including varsity-level players. The study found that participants who trained with the strobe eyewear gained a boost in visual memory abilities.
Participants completed a memory test that required them to note the identity of eight letters of the alphabet that were briefly displayed on a computer screen. After a variable delay, participants were asked to recall one of the eight letters. On easy-level trials, the recall prompt came immediately after the letters disappeared, but on more difficult trials, the prompt came as late as 2.5 seconds following the display. Because participants did not know which letter they would be asked to recall, they had to retain all of the items in memory.
“Humans have a memory buffer in their brain that keeps information alive for a certain short-lived period,” said Greg Appelbaum, assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University and first author of the study. “Wearing the strobe eyewear during the physical training seemed to boost the ability to retain information in this buffer.”
The strobe eyewear disrupts vision by only allowing the user to see glimpses of the world. The user must adjust their visual processing in order to perform normally, and this adjustment produces a lingering benefit; once participants removed the strobe eyewear, there was an observed boost in their visual memory retention, which was found to last 24 hours.
Earlier work by Appelbaum and the project’s senior researcher, Stephen Mitroff, had shown that stroboscopic training improves visual perception, including the ability to detect subtle motion cues and the processing of briefly presented visual information. Yet the earlier study had not determined how long the benefits might last.
“Our earlier work on stroboscopic training showed that it can improve perceptual abilities, but we don’t know exactly how,” says Mitroff, associate professor of psychology & neuroscience and member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. “This project takes a big step by showing that these improved perceptual abilities are driven, at least in part, by improvements in visual memory.”
“Improving human cognition is an important goal with so many benefits,” said Appelbaum, also a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. “Interestingly, our findings demonstrate one way in which visual experience has the capacity to improve cognition.”
Participants for the study came from the 2010-2011 Duke University men’s and women’s varsity soccer teams, Duke’s 2010-2011 men’s basketball team and members of the general Duke community. Mitroff reported that participants had little or no trouble with the stroboscopic training, and several participants later returned to inquire about how they could be involved as research assistants.
The research was supported by Nike SPARQ Sensory Performance, who designed the eyewear and is marketing it as Nike SPARQ Vapor Strobe. The study appears online July 19 in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.
CITATION – “Stroboscopic visual training improves information encoding in short-term memory,” L. Gregory Appelbaum, Matthew S. Cain, Julia E. Schroeder, Elise F. Darling, and Stephen R. Mitroff, Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, July 2012. DOI 10.3758/s13414-012-0344-6
Julie Rhodes | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research