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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2015 Feb;41(1):167-85. doi: 10.1037/a0038306. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

The contributions of central and peripheral vision to expertise in basketball: How blur helps to provide a clearer picture.

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Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong.
School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland.
MOVE Research Institute.
School of Sport, Carnegie Faculty, Leeds Beckett University.


The main purpose of this study was to examine the relative roles of central and peripheral vision when performing a dynamic forced-choice task. We did so by using a gaze-contingent display with different levels of blur in an effort to (a) test the limit of visual resolution necessary for information pick-up in each of these sectors of the visual field and, as a result, to (b) develop a more natural means of gaze-contingent display using a blurred central or peripheral visual field. The expert advantage seen in usual whole field visual presentation persists despite surprisingly high levels of impairment to central or peripheral vision. Consistent with the well-established central/peripheral differences in sensitivity to spatial frequency, high levels of blur did not prevent better-than-chance performance by skilled players when peripheral information was blurred, but they did affect response accuracy when impairing central vision. Blur was found to always alter the pattern of eye movements before it decreased task performance. The evidence accumulated across the 4 experiments provides new insights into several key questions surrounding the role that different sectors of the visual field play in expertise in dynamic, time-constrained tasks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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