We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

The effects of induced optical blur on visual search performance and training

Musa, Azuwan and Lane, Alison R. and Ellison, Amanda (2022) 'The effects of induced optical blur on visual search performance and training.', Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75 (2). pp. 277-288.


Visual Search is a task often used in the rehabilitation of patients with cortical and non-cortical visual pathologies such as visual field loss. Reduced visual acuity is often co-morbid with these disorders and it remains poorly defined how low visual acuity may impact upon a patient’s ability to recover visual function through visual search training. The two experiments reported here investigated whether induced blurring of vision (from 6/15 to 6/60) in a neurotypical population differentially affected various types of feature search task, if there is a minimal acceptable level of visual acuity required for normal search performance, and whether these factors affected the degree to which participants could improve with training. From the results it can be seen that reducing visual acuity did reduce search speed, but only for tasks where the target was defined by shape or size (not colour), and only when acuity was worse than 6/15. Furthermore, searching behaviour was seen to improve with training in all three feature search tasks, irrespective of the degree of blurring that was induced. The improvement also generalised to a non-trained search task indicating that an enhanced search strategy had been developed. These findings have important implications for the use of visual search as a rehabilitation aid for partial visual loss, indicating that individuals with even severe comorbid blurring should still be able to benefit from such training.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Download PDF
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Date accepted:09 September 2021
Date deposited:10 September 2021
Date of first online publication:13 October 2021
Date first made open access:10 September 2021

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar