Reduced foveal vision enhances peripheral monitoring and peripheral event detection

Spörri, N.; Vater, C.; Lorenzetti, S.; Hossner, E.-J. (2016). Reduced foveal vision enhances peripheral monitoring and peripheral event detection. In: 8. Jahrestagung der sportwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft der Schweiz (SGS), Sportwissenschaft — im Singular! (p. 97). Sportwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft der Schweiz

Although it seems plausible that sports performance relies on high-acuity foveal vision, it could be empirically shown that myoptic blur (up to +2 diopters) does not harm performance in sport tasks that require foveal information pick-up like golf putting (Bulson, Ciuffreda, & Hung, 2008). How myoptic blur affects peripheral performance is yet unknown. Attention might be less needed for processing visual cues foveally and lead to better performance because peripheral cues are better processed as a function of reduced foveal vision, which will be tested in the current experiment.

18 sport science students with self-reported myopia volunteered as participants, all of them regularly wearing contact lenses. Exclusion criteria comprised visual correction other than myopic, correction of astigmatism and use of contact lenses out of Swiss delivery area. For each of the participants, three pairs of additional contact lenses (besides their regular lenses; used in the “plano” condition) were manufactured with an individual overcorrection to a retinal defocus of +1 to +3 diopters (referred to as “+1.00 D”, “+2.00 D”, and “+3.00 D” condition, respectively). Gaze data were acquired while participants had to perform a multiple object tracking (MOT) task that required to track 4 out of 10 moving stimuli. In addition, in 66.7 % of all trials, one of the 4 targets suddenly stopped during the
motion phase for a period of 0.5 s. Stimuli moved in front of a picture of a sports hall to allow for foveal processing. Due to the directional hypotheses, the level of significance for one-tailed tests on differences was set at α = .05 and posteriori effect sizes were computed as partial eta squares (ηρ2).

Due to problems with the gaze-data collection, 3 participants had to be excluded from further analyses. The expectation of a centroid strategy was confirmed because gaze was closer to the centroid than the target (all p < .01). In comparison to the plano baseline, participants more often recalled all 4 targets under defocus conditions, F(1,14) = 26.13, p < .01, ηρ2 = .65. The three defocus conditions differed significantly, F(2,28) = 2.56, p = .05, ηρ2 = .16, with a higher accuracy as a function of a defocus increase and significant contrasts between conditions +1.00 D and +2.00 D (p = .03) and +1.00 D and +3.00 D (p = .03). For stop trials, significant differences could neither be found between plano baseline and defocus conditions, F(1,14) = .19, p = .67, ηρ2 = .01, nor between the three defocus conditions, F(2,28) = 1.09, p = .18, ηρ2 = .07. Participants reacted faster in “4 correct+button” trials under defocus than under plano-baseline conditions, F(1,14) = 10.77, p < .01, ηρ2 = .44. The defocus conditions differed significantly, F(2,28) = 6.16, p < .01, ηρ2 = .31, with shorter response times as a function of a defocus increase and significant contrasts between +1.00 D and +2.00 D (p = .01) and +1.00 D and +3.00 D (p < .01).

The results show that gaze behaviour in MOT is not affected to a relevant degree by a visual overcorrection up to +3 diopters. Hence, it can be taken for granted that peripheral event detection was investigated in the present study. This overcorrection, however, does not harm the capability to peripherally track objects. Moreover, if an event has to be detected peripherally, neither response accuracy nor response time is negatively affected. Findings could claim considerable relevance for all sport situations in which peripheral vision is required which now needs applied studies on this topic.

Bulson, R. C., Ciuffreda, K. J., & Hung, G. K. (2008). The effect of retinal defocus on golf putting. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 28, 334-344.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Movement and Exercise Science

UniBE Contributor:

Vater, Christian and Hossner, Ernst-Joachim


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment


Sportwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft der Schweiz


Christian Vater

Date Deposited:

03 Mar 2016 15:04

Last Modified:

03 Mar 2016 15:04


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