MA student in Department of Psychology Publishes Paper in World-Renowned Journal
Yields Outstanding Outcomes through Humanities-Science Engineering Convergent Methodologies
Research Expected to be Utilized in Future Pathological Treatments
▲ Hyun-Woong Kim, a master’s student studying in the Department of Psychology(L), Prof.Chai-Youn Kim (R)
A master’s student in the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts published a paper in Current Biology, a scientific journal ranked in the top six percent.
* Current Biology: A top-tier scientific journal published by Cell Press in the U.S. has an impact factor of almost nine and is ranked in the top six percent in its field according to the 2015 Journal Citation Reports.
Monocular perceptual deprivation from interocular suppression temporarily imbalances ocular dominance
* Collaborating Authors:
- Hyun-Woong Kim (MA student, Department of Psychology)
- Chai-Youn Kim (Professor, Department of Psychology)
- Randolph Blake (Professor, Vanderbilt University, U.S.A.)
Hyun-Woong Kim, a master’s student studying in the Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, was able to yield outstanding outcomes by converging humanities and science engineering methodologies. Completing research during a short overseas research training program as a master’s student and publishing the work within a short period of time is an extremely rare case.
This study, which used eye patches, revealed that when an eye is deprived of visual information for a long period of time, the temporary perceptual strength of the patched eye can be induced by interocular suppression in a relatively short period of time. The study greatly contributes to the understanding of adult visual development and neural plasticity. Moreover, the study has the possibility of being used in pathological treatments concerning amblyopia and stereopsis. The results of the study, therefore, are expected to be a subject of wide interest in various research fields covering basic and applied areas.
According to traditional visual developmental studies that investigated animals, it was observed that when an eye is deprived of visual experience in the early developmental stages, there comes a change in the brain visual cortex in the reactivity of cells that respond to information in both eyes. A recent study reported that when an adult covered one eye with an eye patch, there was, paradoxically, an increase in the degree of ocular dominance of the patched eye that was deprived of visual information.
Expanding on existing studies, the current study revealed that perceptually blocking ordinary visible stimulus through interocular suppression can be comparable to that of patching an eye and can increase the eye’s visual perception immediately. Interocular suppression refers to the phenomenon in which a visual stimulus presented to one eye is suppressed by another visual stimulus presented to the other eye and is not perceptually experienced. The results surprisingly showed that only a few minutes of suppression showed a short but significant difference in ocular dominance. The dynamic regulation of ocular dominance by the interocular suppression observed in the study suggests the possibility of brain neuronal changes in the human adult visual cortex, that is, neuronal plasticity.
This research was sponsored by the Basic Science & Engineering Research Project of the National Research Foundation of Korea in supporting researchers where Kim’s advisor Professor Chai-Youn Kim is the Chief Research Officer. The research was conducted during Kim’s participation in the international cooperation and human resource exchange program hosted by Professor Chai-Youn Kim and Professor Randolph Blake of Vanderbilt University.