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Harnessing the Power of ‘Visual’ Art: Memory-Drawing Training Drives Rapid Neuroplasticity in the Blind and Sighted

Hosted By: Clinical Vision Sciences Technical Group

09 March 2023 13:30 - 14:30

Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC - 05:00)

The mechanisms of adult neuroplasticity remain elusive, and can best be studied with an effective training intervention. Drawing orchestrates a wide range of cognitive functions and based on a novel conceptual framework, Dr. Lora Likova has developed a memory-guided drawing intervention. The Cognitive-Kinesthetic (C-K) Drawing Rehabilitation Training enables studying and improving a broad range of causative mechanisms of brain reorganization from the blind to the fully sighted.

Moreover, pre/post assessments showed a transfer of the effect of the rapid (10 hrs) training to untrained cognitive and spatiomotor functions. FMRI studies revealed the neural implementation of the ‘visuo-spatial sketchpad’ for working memory (but in a supra-modal form) in the primary visual cortex (V1). Granger Causal connectivity analysis identified a hippocampal drive of this function of V1 and DTI led to new insights into brain connectivity architecture. Dr. Likova has extended the C-K training to navigation, and tested it on a multimodal experimental platform, including auditory virtual reality. 

The groundbreaking effectiveness of this rapid and enjoyable training was further applied to the general sighted population to enhance memory and learning. Importantly, drawing is only Dr. Likova’s ‘vehicle’ to implement a broad array of fundamental cognitive principles underlying the variety of life-augmenting functions. The results manifest the potential of harnessing the power of art across the domains of rehabilitation and education.

Subject Matter Level: Intermediate - Assumes basic knowledge of the topic

What You Will Learn:
• Neuroplasticity and how to non-invasively drive it in clinical populations
• Brain imaging for revealing the underlying neural mechanisms
• Art's potential for rehabilitation of spatial cognition, memory and spatiomotor control in visual impairment

Who Should Attend:
• Graduate Students
• Clinicians
• Researchers
• Vision rehabilitation specialists

About the Presenter: Lora Likova from Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco

Lora Likova, Ph.D., has a multidisciplinary background that encompasses studies in cognitive neuroscience and computer science, with patents in the field of magnetic physics and many years of experience in human vision, brain imaging, brain plasticity, and neurorehabilitation research. Her work was the first to identify the cortical mechanism of dynamic depth perception, a discovery that has been instrumental in opening a new avenue of binocular motion research. In the field of enhancing memory and learning, Dr. Likova has developed a paradigmatically novel training technique – The Cognitive-Kinesthetic Training, based on (non-visual) drawing from memory, which has dramatic behavioral and causal brain reorganization effects, and tremendous potential as a rehabilitation intervention across all levels of vision function, including the blind. She is the Director of “Brain Plasticity, Learning & Neurorehabilitation Lab” at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco.


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