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Concetta F. Alberti, Robert B. Goldstein, Eli Peli, Alex R. Bowers; Driving with Hemianopia V: Do Individuals with Hemianopia Spontaneously Adapt Their Gaze Scanning to Differing Hazard Detection Demands?. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2017;6(5):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.6.5.11.
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We investigated whether people with homonymous hemianopia (HH) were able to spontaneously (without training or instructions) adapt their blind-side scan magnitudes in response to differing scanning requirements for detection of pedestrians in a driving simulator when differing cues about pedestrian eccentricities and movement behaviors were available in the seeing hemifield.
Twelve HH participants completed two sessions in a driving simulator pressing the horn when they detected a pedestrian. Stationary pedestrians outside the driving lane were presented in one session and approaching pedestrians on a collision course in the other. Gaze data were analyzed for pedestrians initially appearing at approximately 14° in the blind hemifield. No instructions were given regarding scanning.
After appearing, the stationary pedestrians' eccentricity increased rapidly to a median of 31° after 2.5 seconds, requiring increasingly larger blind-side gaze scans for detection, while the approaching pedestrians' eccentricity remained constant at approximately 14°, requiring a more moderate scan (∼14°) for detection. Although median scan magnitudes did not differ between the two conditions (approaching: 14° [IQR 9°–15°]; stationary: 13° [IQR 9°–20°]; P = 0.43), three participants showed evidence of adapting (increasing) their blind-side scan magnitudes in the stationary condition.
Three participants (25%) appeared to be able to apply voluntary cognitive control to modify their blind-side gaze scanning in response to the differing scanning requirements of the two conditions without explicit training.
Our results suggest that only a minority of people with hemianopia are likely to be able to spontaneously adapt their blind-side scanning in response to rapidly changing and unpredictable situations in on-road driving.
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