Visual Perception and Sensory Adaptation

Experiences such as strabismus, deafness, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), playing a sport, visual vertigo, action videogame play and proficiency in sign language can lead to adaptations by the visual system.

Research investigating vision in the deaf has led to publications and grant awards. We have shown that deaf adults have much superior performance to visual stimuli presented in the periphery and that this ability develops during childhood, reaching adult levels after the age of about 11 years. Observers proficient in sign language and those who habitually play action videogames have also been found to have superior peripheral vision performance though not on a par with observers who are deaf. Such research has had an immediate and significant impact internationally, which has led to further collaborative research with The University of York.

We have also investigated the effect of sporting expertise in cricket, hockey and table tennis on visual performance for example in motion detection tasks, peripheral visual detection tasks as well as testing the importance of auditory information.

The sensory adaptations to strabismus using eye movement recordings have been areas of research within the Unit (see Assessment of Vision and Eye Movement)

A collaboration between medical physics, The University of Sheffield and the department of ENT at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation trust won an award from the NIHR for a feasibility study investigating a new way of treating balance disorders with the Nintendo Wii fit videogame and peripheral vision performance was also measured as part of this project.

Research Staff:


  • Dr Heidi Baseler, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, The University of York
  • Ms Alexandra Levine, PhD Student, Department of Psychology, The University of York
  • Dr Tom Stafford, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, The University of Sheffield
  • Professor Paul Overton, Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, The University of Sheffield
  • Mr Jaydip Ray, ENT Surgeon, Department of ENT, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Dr Paul Bacon, Lead Clinical Scientist in Audiological Science, Medical Physics, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Dr Adrien Chauvet, Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, The University of Sheffield

Current Projects:

  • Wii fit rehabilitation in patients with balance disorders in collaboration with colleagues at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust from Physiotherapy, Medical physics and Ear Nose and Throat departments.
  • ​Exploring the neural correlates of deafness in collaboration with colleagues from The University of York​
  • Peripheral vision in children with ADHD in collaboration with colleagues from the department of Psychology and clinical psychologists here in Sheffield