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John Bui, Betty Li, Bethany Li, Elizabeth Fung, Michelle Antonucci, Kenneth Duy Tran, Saumil Patel, Susana T L Chung, Dennis M Levi, Roger Li; Stereoscopic 3D video games boost depth perception. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):1797.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have shown that video game play improves a range of visual functions such as contrast sensitivity, visual crowding and visual attention. Our current experiments were aimed at exploring whether playing immersive video games in 3-dimensional (3D) environment modifies depth perception.
Altogether, 24 healthy young adults with limited previous video game experience were recruited in two groups. In the treatment group (3DVG, n=12), participants were required to play stereoscopic 3D video games for a total of 40 hours, 2 hours per session, over 4-5 weeks. First-person shooter action video games were used. In the control group (2DVG, n=12), participants played the same video games but in “2D mode” for the same time course. Stereoacuity was measured using random dot stereograms before and after the video game intervention. Each random-dot stimulus consisted of a 1-degree central square of random dots embedded in a 3.3-degree square of random dots. A custom-built 4-mirror haploscope was used to present a half monitor screen to each eye (i.e. the left square to the left eye and the right square to the right eye). Sub-pixel horizontal binocular disparities were introduced by shifting the phases of Fourier components in the two central squares (opposite signs) in an orientation and spatial frequency dependent manner. A method of constant stimuli was used to measure stereoacuity. The visual task was to determine the stereoscopic depth of the central square (in front or behind) relative to the outer reference square. No feedback was provided for each response. Stereoacuity was defined as the disparity at the 84% correct response rates obtained by fitting a Probit function.
After playing 3D video games, we observed a remarkable 33.5% improvement in mean stereoacuity. There was a statistically significant difference in stereoacuity before and after the video game intervention in the 3DVG treatment group (mean difference=11.16 arcsec; paired t=3.63, p=0.004), but not in the 2DVG control group (mean difference=-0.08 arcsec; paired t=0.10, p=0.92).
Here we show that playing stereoscopic 3D video games for a short period of time can improve depth perception. Notably, our most recent experiments (Li et al 2018) have shown that these types of video games might have a special benefit for triggering the plasticity of stereo vision in patients with amblyopia.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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