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Origins of superior dynamic visual acuity in baseball players: superior eye movements or superior image processing.

Uchida Y, Kudoh D, Murakami A, Honda M, Kitazawa S - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: DVA is generally better in athletes than in non-athletes, and the better DVA of athletes has been attributed to a better ability to track moving objects.In the present study, we hypothesized that the better DVA of athletes is partly derived from better perception of moving images on the retina through some kind of perceptual learning.These results suggest that the better DVA of athletes is primarily due to an improved ability to track moving targets with their eyes, rather than to improved perception of moving images on the retina.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. y-uchida@aoni.waseda.jp

ABSTRACT
Dynamic visual acuity (DVA) is defined as the ability to discriminate the fine parts of a moving object. DVA is generally better in athletes than in non-athletes, and the better DVA of athletes has been attributed to a better ability to track moving objects. In the present study, we hypothesized that the better DVA of athletes is partly derived from better perception of moving images on the retina through some kind of perceptual learning. To test this hypothesis, we quantitatively measured DVA in baseball players and non-athletes using moving Landolt rings in two conditions. In the first experiment, the participants were allowed to move their eyes (free-eye-movement conditions), whereas in the second they were required to fixate on a fixation target (fixation conditions). The athletes displayed significantly better DVA than the non-athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions. However, there was no significant difference between the groups in the fixation conditions. These results suggest that the better DVA of athletes is primarily due to an improved ability to track moving targets with their eyes, rather than to improved perception of moving images on the retina.

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Group comparisons.(A) The mean correct response rate plotted against the target speed. The colors represent the fixation (blue) and free-eye-movement (red) conditions. The symbols the represent the non-athletes (open circles) and athletes (dots). Note the better performance of the athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions with both small (left) and large targets (right). (B) The mean target velocity that yielded a correct response rate of 75%. The threshold target velocity was used as a measure of DVA. Error bars show the standard deviation. **: p<0.01 (post hoc tests performed with the Ryan method).
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pone-0031530-g003: Group comparisons.(A) The mean correct response rate plotted against the target speed. The colors represent the fixation (blue) and free-eye-movement (red) conditions. The symbols the represent the non-athletes (open circles) and athletes (dots). Note the better performance of the athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions with both small (left) and large targets (right). (B) The mean target velocity that yielded a correct response rate of 75%. The threshold target velocity was used as a measure of DVA. Error bars show the standard deviation. **: p<0.01 (post hoc tests performed with the Ryan method).

Mentions: Figure 2 shows the data for a typical participant (baseball player) for the small target. In the fixation conditions, his mean horizontal eye position was 0.02 degrees with a standard deviation of 0.84 degrees, indicating that he maintained almost complete fixation during the experiment (Fig. 2A, top panels). In the free-eye-movement conditions (Fig. 2A, bottom), the participant made a large predictive saccade to follow the target, especially in the second round (right columns). It is worth noting that in the second round the participant voluntarily waited for the target to appear at the edge of the screen (+45 or −45 degrees) and then made efficient catch-up saccades. Catch-up saccades were often followed by slower attempts of smooth pursuits, but the eyes were always left behind because the slowest target movement (200 deg/s) exceeded the maximum velocity of smooth pursuit eye movements (60 deg/s, [23]). The speed corresponding to a 75% correct response rate was 114°/sec in the fixation conditions and 423°/sec in the free-eye-movement conditions (Fig. 2B). This participant's DVA was approximately four times better in the free-eye-movement conditions than in the fixation conditions in terms of the threshold target velocity. When the data for each group of participants were pooled, it was found that the threshold speed in the free-eye-movement conditions was generally 3–5 times faster than that in the fixation conditions, (blue vs red traces in Fig. 3A).


Origins of superior dynamic visual acuity in baseball players: superior eye movements or superior image processing.

Uchida Y, Kudoh D, Murakami A, Honda M, Kitazawa S - PLoS ONE (2012)

Group comparisons.(A) The mean correct response rate plotted against the target speed. The colors represent the fixation (blue) and free-eye-movement (red) conditions. The symbols the represent the non-athletes (open circles) and athletes (dots). Note the better performance of the athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions with both small (left) and large targets (right). (B) The mean target velocity that yielded a correct response rate of 75%. The threshold target velocity was used as a measure of DVA. Error bars show the standard deviation. **: p<0.01 (post hoc tests performed with the Ryan method).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3285166&req=5

pone-0031530-g003: Group comparisons.(A) The mean correct response rate plotted against the target speed. The colors represent the fixation (blue) and free-eye-movement (red) conditions. The symbols the represent the non-athletes (open circles) and athletes (dots). Note the better performance of the athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions with both small (left) and large targets (right). (B) The mean target velocity that yielded a correct response rate of 75%. The threshold target velocity was used as a measure of DVA. Error bars show the standard deviation. **: p<0.01 (post hoc tests performed with the Ryan method).
Mentions: Figure 2 shows the data for a typical participant (baseball player) for the small target. In the fixation conditions, his mean horizontal eye position was 0.02 degrees with a standard deviation of 0.84 degrees, indicating that he maintained almost complete fixation during the experiment (Fig. 2A, top panels). In the free-eye-movement conditions (Fig. 2A, bottom), the participant made a large predictive saccade to follow the target, especially in the second round (right columns). It is worth noting that in the second round the participant voluntarily waited for the target to appear at the edge of the screen (+45 or −45 degrees) and then made efficient catch-up saccades. Catch-up saccades were often followed by slower attempts of smooth pursuits, but the eyes were always left behind because the slowest target movement (200 deg/s) exceeded the maximum velocity of smooth pursuit eye movements (60 deg/s, [23]). The speed corresponding to a 75% correct response rate was 114°/sec in the fixation conditions and 423°/sec in the free-eye-movement conditions (Fig. 2B). This participant's DVA was approximately four times better in the free-eye-movement conditions than in the fixation conditions in terms of the threshold target velocity. When the data for each group of participants were pooled, it was found that the threshold speed in the free-eye-movement conditions was generally 3–5 times faster than that in the fixation conditions, (blue vs red traces in Fig. 3A).

Bottom Line: DVA is generally better in athletes than in non-athletes, and the better DVA of athletes has been attributed to a better ability to track moving objects.In the present study, we hypothesized that the better DVA of athletes is partly derived from better perception of moving images on the retina through some kind of perceptual learning.These results suggest that the better DVA of athletes is primarily due to an improved ability to track moving targets with their eyes, rather than to improved perception of moving images on the retina.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. y-uchida@aoni.waseda.jp

ABSTRACT
Dynamic visual acuity (DVA) is defined as the ability to discriminate the fine parts of a moving object. DVA is generally better in athletes than in non-athletes, and the better DVA of athletes has been attributed to a better ability to track moving objects. In the present study, we hypothesized that the better DVA of athletes is partly derived from better perception of moving images on the retina through some kind of perceptual learning. To test this hypothesis, we quantitatively measured DVA in baseball players and non-athletes using moving Landolt rings in two conditions. In the first experiment, the participants were allowed to move their eyes (free-eye-movement conditions), whereas in the second they were required to fixate on a fixation target (fixation conditions). The athletes displayed significantly better DVA than the non-athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions. However, there was no significant difference between the groups in the fixation conditions. These results suggest that the better DVA of athletes is primarily due to an improved ability to track moving targets with their eyes, rather than to improved perception of moving images on the retina.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus