UCI receives $1.6 million grant to study eye training and brain mechanisms

July 06, 2006

Irvine, Calif., July 6, 2006 -- A UC Irvine cognitive scientist has been awarded more than $1.6 million over five years to study limitations in how people process visual information, and how training can improve performance when the task is dependent on visual analysis. The findings of the study would not only help individuals, such as pilots or air traffic controllers, who rely on practiced interaction with visual displays to do their jobs, but also those who suffer from disorders such as dyslexia or "lazy eye."

Barbara Anne Dosher, dean of the School of Social Sciences, in collaboration with University of Southern California colleague Zhong-Lin Lu, will perform studies on individuals with normal vision using controlled visual displays and computational models. The goal is to better understand how the brain processes the visual world and how that processing can be changed with experience or training. The grant from the National Eye Institute is a competitive continuation of a previous multi-year grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health.

"Human vision is a complex and marvelous ability that requires the brain to seamlessly merge a number of complex computations and analyses," Dosher said. "These analyses may be limited by a number of factors, including acuity and the ability to filter out competing inputs. By studying how visual training improves task performance in individuals with normal vision, this project can help us understand the fundamental principles of visual processes and how training can be used to improve performance for people with certain deficits and disorders."

Many visual skills, such as letter and word recognition, develop over long periods of practice and training. Performance scores can improve dramatically with practice, and there is evidence that it is possible to modify how the brain computes the visual input it receives. The researchers will conduct experiments on college students with normal vision to determine the optimal training patterns for visual analysis and what makes training generalize to new situations. Specifically, they will look at whether easy tasks should be mixed in with difficult tasks when conducting training, whether specific training in cluttered displays is necessary, and whether and in what time intervals feedback should be given to the trainee to optimize future performance.

Dosher and Lu have been working in visual attention and perceptual learning for seven years. In a study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they showed that a new approach may be more efficient in training the eyes to filter out visual clutter and focus on a target.
About the University of California, Irvine:
The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

UCI has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit www.today.uci.edu/broadcast.

News Radio:
UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Farnaz Khadem
(949) 824-5484

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit www.today.uci.edu/experts.

University of California - Irvine

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.