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Length and orientation constancy learning in 2-dimensions with auditory sensory substitution: the importance of self-initiated movement

Stiles, Noelle R. B. and Zheng, Yuqian and Shimojo, Shinsuke (2015) Length and orientation constancy learning in 2-dimensions with auditory sensory substitution: the importance of self-initiated movement. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 . Art. No. 842. ISSN 1664-1078. PMCID PMC4469823.

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A subset of sensory substitution (SS) devices translate images into sounds in real time using a portable computer, camera, and headphones. Perceptual constancy is the key to understanding both functional and phenomenological aspects of perception with SS. In particular, constancies enable object externalization, which is critical to the performance of daily tasks such as obstacle avoidance and locating dropped objects. In order to improve daily task performance by the blind, and determine if constancies can be learned with SS, we trained blind (N = 4) and sighted (N = 10) individuals on length and orientation constancy tasks for 8 days at about 1 h per day with an auditory SS device. We found that blind and sighted performance at the constancy tasks significantly improved, and attained constancy performance that was above chance. Furthermore, dynamic interactions with stimuli were critical to constancy learning with the SS device. In particular, improved task learning significantly correlated with the number of spontaneous left-right head-tilting movements while learning length constancy. The improvement from previous head-tilting trials even transferred to a no-head-tilt condition. Therefore, not only can SS learning be improved by encouraging head movement while learning, but head movement may also play an important role in learning constancies in the sighted. In addition, the learning of constancies by the blind and sighted with SS provides evidence that SS may be able to restore vision-like functionality to the blind in daily tasks.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle CentralArticle
Stiles, Noelle R. B.0000-0002-7352-5815
Additional Information:© 2015 Stiles, Zheng and Shimojo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Received: 31 January 2015; Accepted: 03 June 2015; Published: 17 June 2015. The authors declare no competing financial interests. We appreciate Carmel Levitan's and Armand R. Tanguay, Jr.'s feedback on the manuscript. We would also like to thank Peter Meijer, Luis Goncalves, and Enrico Di Bernardo from MetaModal LLC for the use of several of the vOICe devices used in this study. We are grateful for a fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program [Grant Number DGE-1144469] and research grants from the Della Martin Fund for Discoveries in Mental Illness [Grant Number 9900050]; Japan Science and Technology Agency, Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology [Grant Number JST.CREST]; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [Grant Number R21EY023796A]. Author Contributions: The study design and concept were generated by NS and SS. Subject training and testing was performed by NS and YZ. NS and SS drafted the manuscript; YZ reviewed and commented on the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144469
Della Martin Fund for Discoveries in Mental Illness9900050
Japan Science and Technology AgencyJST.CREST
Subject Keywords:sensory substitution, audition, vision, blind, multisensory
PubMed Central ID:PMC4469823
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150724-101759328
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Official Citation:Stiles NRB, Zheng Y and Shimojo S (2015) Length and orientation constancy learning in 2-dimensions with auditory sensory substitution: the importance of self-initiated movement. Front. Psychol. 6:842. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00842
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:59006
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Jul 2015 18:46
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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