Developing Spatial Knowledge in the Absence of Vision: Allocentric and Egocentric Representations Generated by Blind People When Supported by Auditory Cues

Authors: Corazzini, Luca Latini; Tinti, Carla; Schmidt, Susanna; Mirandola, Chiara; Cornoldi, Cesare

Source: Psychologica Belgica, 1 October 2010, vol. 50, no. 3 - 1, pp. 327-334(8)


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The study of visuospatial representations and visuospatial memory can profit from the analysis of the performance of specific groups. in particular, the surprising skills and limitations of blind people may be an important source of information. For example, converging evidence indicates that, even though blind individuals are able to develop both egocentric and allocentric space representations, the latter tend to be much more restricted than those in blindfolded sighted individuals. however, no study has explored yet whether this conclusion also holds when people receive practice with the spatial environment and are supported by auditory stimuli. The present research examined these issues with the use of an experimental apparatus based on the morris Water maze (morris et al., 1982). in this setup, blind people and blindfolded controls were given the opportunity to develop knowledge of the environment with the support of simultaneous auditory cues. The results show that even in this favourable case blind people spontaneously maintain to rely on an egocentric spatial representation.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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