Do you need an excuse to spend even more time on your tablet? Contrary to popular belief, new research suggests that regular tablet exposure can dramatically improve your vision. Using a perceptual learning app four times a week can cause the brain to see at up to three times the distance of a normal observer. Now that's magic.
Tablet picture from Shutterstock
Researchers from the University of California enlisted Riverside baseball players to use a perceptual learning app for 25 minutes per day, four days a week. The program tasked subjects with finding and selecting visual patterns modeled after stimuli to which neurons in the early visual cortex of the brain respond best.
"The goal of the program [was] to train the brain to better respond to the inputs that it gets from the eye,” lead researcher Aaron Seitz explained. "As with most other aspects of our function, our potential is greater than our normative level of performance.
"When we go to the gym and exercise, we are able to increase our physical fitness; it's the same thing with the brain. By exercising our mental processes we can promote our mental fitness."
After two months, the app produced noticeable improvements in each baseball player's vision, which lead to a better win/lose ratio than before the testing took place. Players could see the ball better, had greater peripheral vision, could see further and suffered less eye-fatigue. Seven players even reached 20/7.5 acuity — the ability to read text at three times the distance of a normal observer.
”The demonstration is dramatic and required players to stand forty feet back from the eye chart in order to get a measurement of their vision,” Seitz said.
The significance of this study is that it demonstrates how the cognitive skills learned in perceptual learning apps successfully translate to real world conditions. Previous studies have only measured improvements within the actual app.
"This approach has great potential to aid many individuals that rely on vision including not only athletes looking to optimize their visual skills but also individuals with low vision engaged in everyday tasks," the report concludes.
The researchers intend to apply the same principles to other aspects of cognition, including memory and attention spans.