Origins of superior dynamic visual acuity in baseball players: superior eye movements or superior image processing

PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31530. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031530. Epub 2012 Feb 22.


Dynamic visual acuity (DVA) is defined as the ability to discriminate the fine parts of a moving object. DVA is generally better in athletes than in non-athletes, and the better DVA of athletes has been attributed to a better ability to track moving objects. In the present study, we hypothesized that the better DVA of athletes is partly derived from better perception of moving images on the retina through some kind of perceptual learning. To test this hypothesis, we quantitatively measured DVA in baseball players and non-athletes using moving Landolt rings in two conditions. In the first experiment, the participants were allowed to move their eyes (free-eye-movement conditions), whereas in the second they were required to fixate on a fixation target (fixation conditions). The athletes displayed significantly better DVA than the non-athletes in the free-eye-movement conditions. However, there was no significant difference between the groups in the fixation conditions. These results suggest that the better DVA of athletes is primarily due to an improved ability to track moving targets with their eyes, rather than to improved perception of moving images on the retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Athletes*
  • Baseball
  • Eye Movements*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Motion Perception*
  • Movement
  • Retina / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Visual Acuity*