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Vision Res. 2007 Nov;47(25):3150-9. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Learning to identify crowded letters: does it improve reading speed?

Author information

1
College of Optometry, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA. schung@optometry.uh.edu

Abstract

Crowding, the difficulty in identifying a letter embedded in other letters, has been suggested as an explanation for slow reading in peripheral vision. In this study, we asked whether crowding in peripheral vision can be reduced through training on identifying crowded letters, and if so, whether these changes will lead to improved peripheral reading speed. We measured the spatial extent of crowding, and reading speeds for a range of print sizes at 10 degrees inferior visual field before and after training. Following training, averaged letter identification performance improved by 88% at the trained (the closest) letter separation. The improvement transferred to other untrained separations such that the spatial extent of crowding decreased by 38%. However, averaged maximum reading speed improved by a mere 7.2%. These findings demonstrated that crowding in peripheral vision could be reduced through training. Unfortunately, the reduction in the crowding effect did not lead to improved peripheral reading speed.

PMID:
17928026
PMCID:
PMC2134936
DOI:
10.1016/j.visres.2007.08.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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