JUN 17, 2019 5:44 AM PDT

Can computer games improve peripheral vision?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

New research at Lancaster University's School of Computing and Communications indicates that playing computer games can improve someone’s peripheral vision. The study, published in the paper 'SuperVision: Playing with Gaze Aversion and Peripheral Vision', describes a significant improvement in the peripheral awareness of those playing computer games targeted for peripheral vision.

"Most computer games involve looking directly at targets, or following the movement of characters, because that is the most natural and intuitive way we use our eyes," said Mr Ramirez Gomez. "We wanted to explore the opposite -- is it possible to play games just by using our peripheral vision, is it possible to develop strategies to overcome the challenge, would it be engaging and fun and could these games improve our peripheral awareness?"

The collection of games used in the study are called ‘SuperVision’ and require players to use a mouse for selecting or steering objects within the game using their peripheral vision which is evaluated by eye-trackers.

Learn more about brain games and peripheral vision:

"Players struggled at first as they attempted to control and resist their instinctive impulse to look," said Argenis Ramirez Gomez, PhD student and researcher at Lancaster University. "The games go against our natural behaviour. The players know they can't look but having to make decisions and interact with objects in the games forces players to lose control over their instincts and so they indulge their desire to look directly at the objects, failing in the game. But over time people developed strategies to overcome the challenge, such as focusing on a particular spot on the screen."

Credit: Lancaster University

Researchers created the ‘SuperVision’ suite of games to explore peripheral vision.

"We evaluated the participants' peripheral visual capabilities before and after the games to test for skills development. We found a significant improvement in object recognition in the participants' peripheral vision after playing the games,” says Mr. Gomez.

Source: Lancaster University

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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