Need help remembering where your teammate is for a no look pass or where the cars are around you on the highway? Just put on a pair of ’stroboscopic’ eyewear and head outside for some physical activity.
No, I’m serious.
A study by researchers at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences shows that wearing stroboscopic eyewear — lenses that limit a person’s vision to brief snapshots like a strobe light — can improve visual short-term memory.
The study, which is part of a long-term project that looks at the effects of stroboscopic training on human cognition, had participants play a game of toss wearing either stroboscopic eyewear or regular eyewear with clear lenses.
Volunteers then completed a computer-based memory test.
A series of eight alphabetic letters briefly flashed on the screen. And participants were asked to recall one of the letters. They did not know which letter they would be asked about until after the display disappeared. They could be cued to a letter either immediately or after a delay of up to a few seconds.
The researchers found that the participants who wore the stroboscopic eyewear did a better job of recalling the letters.
Stroboscopic eyewear makes it more difficult to react to moving objects so “the goggles-wearers needed to adapt the way they processed visual information,” reports New Scientist.
“Improving human cognition is an important goal with so many benefits,” Greg Appelbaum, assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University and lead author of the study says in a statement. “Interestingly, our findings demonstrate one way in which visual experience has the capacity to improve cognition.”
The eyewear used in the study were none other than Nike SPARQ Vapor Strobes, lenses that the company claims allow “athletes to fine tune their sensory skills and see their sport better.” According to Steve Mitroff, another author of the Duke study, “The support from Nike SPARQ Sensory Performance was provided without stipulations.”
Photo via Duke Institute for Brain Science