Brain Training Research Improves Vision

BrainRIVERSIDE, Calif. — U.C. Riverside’s baseball team participated in a brain training research project during the 2013 season that significantly improved the vision of players and may have added up to 4-5 games in the win column.

The trained players had 4.4 percent fewer strikeouts – a decrease not experienced in the rest of the Big West Conference – and the team scored 41 more runs than projected after factoring in skill improvements players would be expected to gain over the course of a season.

The researchers arrived at this number by using the runs-created formula developed by Bill James.

The results of the study appear in a paper, Improved Vision And On-Field Performance In Baseball Through Perceptual Learning that was published in the Feb. 17 issue of Current Biology.

The article, written by Jenni Deveau, Daniel J. Ozer and Aaron R. Seitz of the Department of Psychology at U.C. Riverside, can be accessed on the internet at www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822%2814%2900005-0  

Nineteen players completed 30 25-minute sessions, each on a different day, of the integrated training program and served as the trained group.

Briefly, the training program consisted of targeting Gabor patches (game ‘targets’) of varying spatial frequency and orientation that were presented at threshold.

Eighteen pitchers served as an untrained control group. Both before and after the training phase, visual acuity (using Snellen charts) was measured in both the trained and untrained groups.

A YouTube video can also be accessed which has a quick rundown on the program at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gagWl66jCvY  

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