Dr. Likova Gives OPTICA Webinar on Neuroplasticity through Memory Drawing

Pencil against a blank page

Dr. Lora Likova discussed her research in a webinar "Harnessing the Power of ‘Visual’ Art: Memory-Drawing Training Drives Rapid Neuroplasticity in the Blind and Sighted" hosted by the Clinical Vision Sciences Technical Group of OPTICA (formerly Optical Society of America).

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, I have developed a memory-guided drawing intervention, the Cognitive-Kinesthetic (C-K) Drawing Rehabilitation Training, to studiy and improve a broad range of causative mechanisms of brain reorganization from the blind to the fully sighted.  As predicted, pre/post testing showed a transfer of the effect of the rapid (1-week) 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 V1 function and DTI led to new insights in brain connectivity architecture. We extended the C-K training to map-based navigation, testing 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 the ‘vehicle’ to enhance a broad array of fundamental cognitive principles underlying the variety of life-augmenting functions. The results are a testament to the potential of harnessing the power of art across the domains of rehabilitation and education. 

For more information and to watch the webinar, visit OPTICA's webinar page