Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Karlene Ball, Daniel Roenker, Richard Miller

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The “Useful Field of View” (UFOV) is the entire area in which information can be gathered without moving the eyes or head (Ball, Beard, Roenker, Miller & Griggs, 1998). Previous research has demonstrated that the UFOV shrinks with age (Scialfa, Kline & Lyman, 1987; Plude & Doussard-Roosevelt, 1987: Ball et al., 1988). With decrement in the UFOV, everyday activities, such as driving and walking can be limited. If the area in which information is received is smaller, then objects seem to appear suddenly and here is little time to react to them. One example of an everyday activity that would be affected by this decrement is driving. Driving involved simultaneously attending to a number of different elements at the same time, for example, speed, oncoming traffic, traffic signals and signs and pedestrians. A decrement of the UFOV would adversely affect driving performance.

Only two studies have looked at training to increase the deficit in the UFOV (Sekuler & Ball, 1986: Ball, et al., 1988). Given this paucity of data, many questions have been left unanswered. This study addresses three of these questions: (a) Does target uncertainty affect older adults more adversely than younger adults?, (b) Does a recognizable pattern affect UFOV? and (c) What is the most effective training method to increase the UFOV?

Two experiments were conducted to answer these questions. In the first experiment, a reduced presentation field was designed to test the uncertainty question. Along with this reduction in the presentation, two patterns (organized pattern vs. unorganized pattern) were designed to test the effects of a restricted presentation pattern on the UFOV. These two reduced patterns were compared with the full field presentation. Although the UFOV, in general, was smaller for older participants than younger individuals, there was no effect for full field versus reduced field presentation nor an organized versus unorganized condition effect.

The second experiment addressed the efficacy of two training methods: Full field or telescoping rings. The telescoping ring training method began with presenting the targets on the edge of the field. As the participant improved his/her performance in locating the targets, the presentation ring was moved outward. The full field presentation presented targets in a full 30° radius. Analyses indicated a significant relationship between training method and UFOV.

Specifically, both training method were effective in increasing the UFOV. However, no significant difference between the two training methods was observed. Both training conditions increased the field size; however, individuals in the ringer condition were more willing to continue the training. This seems to demonstrate that the telescoping method may cause less frustration for the participants than the full field.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Ophthalmology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences