Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can We 'Learn To See?': Study Shows Perception Of Invisible Stimuli Improves With Training

Date:
October 21, 2009
Source:
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Summary:
Although we assume we can see everything in our field of vision, the brain actually picks and chooses the stimuli that come into our consciousness. A new study reveals that our brains can be trained to consciously see stimuli that would normally be invisible.

Although we assume we can see everything in our field of vision, the brain actually picks and chooses the stimuli that come into our consciousness. A new study in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's Journal of Vision reveals that our brains can be trained to consciously see stimuli that would normally be invisible.

Related Articles


Lead researcher Caspar Schwiedrzik from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Germany said the brain is an organ that continuously adapts to its environment and can be taught to improve visual perception.

"A question that had not been tackled until now was whether a hallmark of the human brain, namely its ability to produce conscious awareness, is also trainable," Schwiedrzik said. "Our findings imply that there is no fixed border between things that we perceive and things that we do not perceive -- that this border can be shifted."

The researchers showed subjects with normal vision two shapes, a square and a diamond, one immediately followed by a mask. The subjects were asked to identify the shape they saw. The first shape was invisible to the subjects at the beginning of the tests, but after 5 training sessions, subjects were better able to identify both the square and the diamond.

The ability to train brains to consciously see might help people with blindsight, whose primary visual cortex has been damaged through a stroke or trauma. Blindsight patients cannot consciously see, but on some level their brains process their visual environment. A Harvard Medical School study last year found that one blindsight patient could maneuver down a hallway filled with obstacles, even though the subject could not actually see.

Schwiedrzik said the new research may help blindsight patients gain conscious awareness of what their minds can see, and he suggested that new research should address whether the brains in blindsight patients and people with normal vision process the information the same way.

"Our study suggests that it might in principle be possible for blindsight patients to recover some visual awareness, and thus our findings might open a venue for a new line of research and potential treatments for patients with acquired cortical blindness," Schwiedrzik said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schwiedrzik et al. Sensitivity and perceptual awareness increase with practice in metacontrast masking. Journal of Vision, 2009; 9 (10): 1 DOI: 10.1167/9.10.18

Cite This Page:

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. "Can We 'Learn To See?': Study Shows Perception Of Invisible Stimuli Improves With Training." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021172659.htm>.
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. (2009, October 21). Can We 'Learn To See?': Study Shows Perception Of Invisible Stimuli Improves With Training. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021172659.htm
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. "Can We 'Learn To See?': Study Shows Perception Of Invisible Stimuli Improves With Training." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021172659.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) — Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) — Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins