Challenging the importance of vision for the development of an extrinsic spatial framework: evidence from the blind and sighted

Eardley, A.F., Edwards, G., Malouin, F. and Michon, P.E. 2006. Challenging the importance of vision for the development of an extrinsic spatial framework: evidence from the blind and sighted. Cognitive Processing. 7 (Supplement 1), pp. 30-31.

TitleChallenging the importance of vision for the development of an extrinsic spatial framework: evidence from the blind and sighted
AuthorsEardley, A.F., Edwards, G., Malouin, F. and Michon, P.E.
Abstract

Background : Sighted people can not only construct a mental map of the environment from the information gathered from active navigation (Tolman 1948), but also they can generate an accurate mental representation of the spatial layout of an area from verbal description alone (Taylor and Tversky 1992). In contrast, for the blind, it has been suggested that vision is crucial for adaptive spatial processing, with those who have never seen being forced to rely on an egocentric encoding of the spatial environment (e.g. Millar 1994; Ungar 2000). This brings into question the nature of the spatial mental representations used by the blind, and indeed whether or not the blind are able to construct ‘allocentric’ mental maps in the same way as are the sighted. Using a tactile version of the Taylor and Tversky (1992) paradigm, this experiment compared the capacity of the blind and sighted to generate mental maps, derived from verbal description.

Method : Twenty sighted and 20 congenitally or early-totally blind individuals, age and IQ matched individuals listened to two environments described from a survey perspective and two from a route perspective, responding to a series of true/false statements after each text. They were also required to generate tactile maps of two of the four environments.

Results : Initial comparisons indicated that there was no difference between the blind and sighted on this task. However, when the blind group was split into subgroups of: born totally blind but premature (retinopathy of prematurity); born totally blind but not premature and finally early blind (total sight loss at 12–24 months old), differences between the blind and sighted were identified. Specifically, those with retinopathy of prematurity performed significantly worse than not only did the sighted, but also those who were blind from birth but not premature and the early blind. There were no differences in performance between the born totally blind (not premature) and the sighted, with a trend towards the early blind, and not the sighted, out-performing all the other groups.

Conclusions : The implication of the spatial ability subgroups within the ‘early blind’ group is profound. If a lack of vision does not result in a performance deficit on this very complex allocentric task, then vision is not necessary for the development of an adaptive spatial framework. Nevertheless, if the ‘early’ blind, with their minimal visual experience, can be considered super-performers, then vision does have an important role to play in the setting up of an optimum spatial framework, although too much may be detrimental to the construction of an optimal allocentric spatial framework. These results are considered in the context of current theories on spatial processing.

JournalCognitive Processing
Journal citation7 (Supplement 1), pp. 30-31
ISSN1612-4782
YearSep 2006
PublisherSpringer
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1007/s10339-006-0053-y
Publication dates
PublishedSep 2006

Related outputs

Sensory dominance and multisensory integration as screening tools in aging
Murray, M.M., Eardley, A.F., Edington, T., Oyekan, R., Smyth, E. and Matusz, P.J. 2018. Sensory dominance and multisensory integration as screening tools in aging. Scientific Reports. 8, p. 8901.

Museum Audio Description: The Problem of Textual Fidelity
Hutchinson, R. and Eardley, A.F. 2018. Museum Audio Description: The Problem of Textual Fidelity. Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice.

Enriched Audio Description: Working towards an inclusive museum experience
Eardley, A.F., Fryer, L., Hutchinson, R., Cock, M., Ride, P. and Neves, J. 2017. Enriched Audio Description: Working towards an inclusive museum experience. in: Halder, S. and Czop Assaf, L. (ed.) Inclusion, Disability and Culture: An Ethnographic Perspective Traversing Abilities and Challenges Springer.

Related but different: Examining pseudoneglect in audition, touch and vision
Eardley, A.F., Darling, S., Dumper, P., Browne, D. and Van Velzen, J. 2017. Related but different: Examining pseudoneglect in audition, touch and vision. Brain and Cognition. 113, p. 164–171.

Ektashif - Art through the Senses: Families shaping museum programming in Qatar
Dobbin, C., Eardley, A.F. and Neves, J. 2016. Ektashif - Art through the Senses: Families shaping museum programming in Qatar. Multaqa: Professional Journal of the Gulf Museum Educators Network. 2, pp. 11-19.

Allocentric spatial performance higher in early-blind and sighted adults than in retinopathy-of-prematurity adults
Eardley, A.F., Edwards, G., Malouin, F. and Kennedy, J. 2016. Allocentric spatial performance higher in early-blind and sighted adults than in retinopathy-of-prematurity adults. Perception. 45 (3), pp. 281-299.

Redefining Access: Embracing multimodality, memorability and shared experience in Museums
Eardley, A.F., Mineiro, C., Neves, J. and Ride, P. 2016. Redefining Access: Embracing multimodality, memorability and shared experience in Museums. Curator: The Museum Journal. 59 (3), pp. 263-286.

Relationship between post-awakening salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion in healthy participants
Ramachandran, N., Smyth, N., Thorn, L., Eardley, A.F., Evans, P. and Clow, A. 2016. Relationship between post-awakening salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion in healthy participants. Stress. 19 (2), pp. 260-263.

Individual differences and personality correlates of navigational performance in the virtual route learning task
Walkowiak, S., Foulsham, T. and Eardley, A.F. 2015. Individual differences and personality correlates of navigational performance in the virtual route learning task. Computers in Human Behavior. 45, p. 402–410.

Sensory imagery in individuals who are blind and sighted: examining unimodal and multimodal forms
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2014. Sensory imagery in individuals who are blind and sighted: examining unimodal and multimodal forms. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. 108 (4), p. 323.

Event-related potential evidence for the use of external coordinates in the preparation of tactile attention by the early blind
Eardley, A.F. and Van Velzen, J. 2011. Event-related potential evidence for the use of external coordinates in the preparation of tactile attention by the early blind. European Journal of Neuroscience. 33 (10), pp. 1897-1907.

Exploring the impact of sucking sweets on flavour imagery
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2011. Exploring the impact of sucking sweets on flavour imagery. Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 23 (7), pp. 811-817.

Do ERP components triggered during attentional orienting represent supramodal attentional control?
Seiss, E., Gherri, E., Eardley, A.F. and Eimer, M. 2007. Do ERP components triggered during attentional orienting represent supramodal attentional control? Psychophysiology. 44 (6), pp. 987-990.

Altered tactile spatial attention in the early blind
Forster, B., Eardley, A.F. and Eimer, M. 2007. Altered tactile spatial attention in the early blind. Brain Research. 1131, pp. 149-154.

Spatial processing, mental imagery, and creativity in individuals with and without sight
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2007. Spatial processing, mental imagery, and creativity in individuals with and without sight. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 19 (1), pp. 37-58.

Remembering the past and imagining the future: A role for nonvisual imagery in the everyday cognition of blind and sighted people
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2006. Remembering the past and imagining the future: A role for nonvisual imagery in the everyday cognition of blind and sighted people. Memory. 14 (8), pp. 925-936.

Assistive navigational devices that incorporate principles of spatial cognition and imagery
Edwards, G., Eardley, A.F., Malouin, F., Viger, M., Yaagoubi, R. and Lambiel, D. 2006. Assistive navigational devices that incorporate principles of spatial cognition and imagery. Cognitive Processing. 7 (Supplement 1), p. 174.

Art beyond sight: multimodal approaches to learning
Eardley, A.F. 2006. Art beyond sight: multimodal approaches to learning. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. 100 (5), pp. 311-313.

Shifts of attention in the early blind: An ERP study of attentional control processes in the absence of visual spatial information
Van Velzen, J., Eardley, A.F., Forster, B. and Eimer, M. 2006. Shifts of attention in the early blind: An ERP study of attentional control processes in the absence of visual spatial information. Neuropsychologia. 44 (12), pp. 2533-2546.

Do mental maps have to be seen? Evidence from the blind and sighted
Eardley, A.F., Michon, P.E., Edwards, G. and Kennedy, J.M. 2006. Do mental maps have to be seen? Evidence from the blind and sighted. 47th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society. Houston, Texas 16 -19 Nov 2006

Illuminating non-visual imagery: exploring the everyday use of sensory imagery in the blind and sighted
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2005. Illuminating non-visual imagery: exploring the everyday use of sensory imagery in the blind and sighted. Xth European Workshop on Imagery and Cognition. St Andrews, Scotland 28 - 30 Jun 2005

Creative discoveries in mental imagery: the role of spatial processing in individuals with and without sight
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2004. Creative discoveries in mental imagery: the role of spatial processing in individuals with and without sight. in: Ballesteros, S. and Heller, M.A. (ed.) Touch, blindness and neuroscience Madrid, Spain IUED.

Cognitive styles and their implications for effective presentation of information for children with visual impairment
Pring, L. and Eardley, A.F. 2003. Cognitive styles and their implications for effective presentation of information for children with visual impairment. in: Axel, E.S. and Levent, N.S. (ed.) Art beyond sight: a resource guide to art, creativity, and visual impairment New York, USA AFB Press.

Imagining things you have never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2002. Imagining things you have never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind. Proceedings of The British Psychological Society. 10 (2), p. 64.

Imagining things you’ve never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2002. Imagining things you’ve never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind. Kitzinger Workshop. May 2002

Imagery and people with a visual impairment
Eardley, A.F. 2000. Imagery and people with a visual impairment. European Science Foundation workshop on museum learning and tactile perception: access to interpretation for people who are blind and partially sighted. Helsinki, Finland Nov 2000

Schizotypy and sensational interests
Evans, J., Eardley, A.F. and Egan, V. 1999. Schizotypy and sensational interests. IXth Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences. Vancouver 05 - 09 Jul 1999

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/921x2/challenging-the-importance-of-vision-for-the-development-of-an-extrinsic-spatial-framework-evidence-from-the-blind-and-sighted


Share this
Tweet
Email