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Blindness enhances auditory obstacle circumvention: Assessing echolocation, sensory substitution, and visual-based navigation.

Abstract Performance for an obstacle circumvention task was assessed under conditions of visual, auditory only (using echolocation) and tactile (using a sensory substitution device, SSD) guidance. A Vicon motion capture system was used to measure human movement kinematics objectively. Ten normally sighted participants, 8 blind non-echolocators, and 1 blind expert echolocator navigated around a 0.6 x 2 m obstacle that was varied in position across trials, at the midline of the participant or 25 cm to the right or left. Although visual guidance was the most effective, participants successfully circumvented the obstacle in the majority of trials under auditory or SSD guidance. Using audition, blind non-echolocators navigated more effectively than blindfolded sighted individuals with fewer collisions, lower movement times, fewer velocity corrections and greater obstacle detection ranges. The blind expert echolocator displayed performance similar to or better than that for the other groups using audition, but was comparable to that for the other groups using the SSD. The generally better performance of blind than of sighted participants is consistent with the perceptual enhancement hypothesis that individuals with severe visual deficits develop improved auditory abilities to compensate for visual loss, here shown by faster, more fluid, and more accurate navigation around obstacles using sound.
PMID
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Authors

Mayor MeshTerms

Sound Localization

Spatial Processing

Keywords
Journal Title plos one
Publication Year Start




PMID- 28407000
OWN - NLM
STAT- MEDLINE
DA  - 20170413
DCOM- 20170420
LR  - 20170420
IS  - 1932-6203 (Electronic)
IS  - 1932-6203 (Linking)
VI  - 12
IP  - 4
DP  - 2017
TI  - Blindness enhances auditory obstacle circumvention: Assessing echolocation,
      sensory substitution, and visual-based navigation.
PG  - e0175750
LID - 10.1371/journal.pone.0175750 [doi]
AB  - Performance for an obstacle circumvention task was assessed under conditions of
      visual, auditory only (using echolocation) and tactile (using a sensory
      substitution device, SSD) guidance. A Vicon motion capture system was used to
      measure human movement kinematics objectively. Ten normally sighted participants,
      8 blind non-echolocators, and 1 blind expert echolocator navigated around a 0.6 x
      2 m obstacle that was varied in position across trials, at the midline of the
      participant or 25 cm to the right or left. Although visual guidance was the most 
      effective, participants successfully circumvented the obstacle in the majority of
      trials under auditory or SSD guidance. Using audition, blind non-echolocators
      navigated more effectively than blindfolded sighted individuals with fewer
      collisions, lower movement times, fewer velocity corrections and greater obstacle
      detection ranges. The blind expert echolocator displayed performance similar to
      or better than that for the other groups using audition, but was comparable to
      that for the other groups using the SSD. The generally better performance of
      blind than of sighted participants is consistent with the perceptual enhancement 
      hypothesis that individuals with severe visual deficits develop improved auditory
      abilities to compensate for visual loss, here shown by faster, more fluid, and
      more accurate navigation around obstacles using sound.
FAU - Kolarik, Andrew J
AU  - Kolarik AJ
AUID- ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5121-7512
AD  - Vision and Eye Research Unit (VERU), Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia
      Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
AD  - Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
AD  - Centre for the Study of the Senses, Institute of Philosophy, University of
      London, London, United Kingdom.
FAU - Scarfe, Amy C
AU  - Scarfe AC
AD  - Vision and Eye Research Unit (VERU), Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia
      Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
AD  - Department of Clinical Engineering, Medical Imaging and Medical Physics
      Directorate, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, United
      Kingdom.
FAU - Moore, Brian C J
AU  - Moore BC
AD  - Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
FAU - Pardhan, Shahina
AU  - Pardhan S
AD  - Vision and Eye Research Unit (VERU), Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia
      Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
LA  - eng
PT  - Journal Article
DEP - 20170413
PL  - United States
TA  - PLoS One
JT  - PloS one
JID - 101285081
SB  - IM
MH  - Adult
MH  - Biomechanical Phenomena
MH  - Blindness/*physiopathology
MH  - Female
MH  - Humans
MH  - Male
MH  - Middle Aged
MH  - Motion Perception
MH  - *Sound Localization
MH  - *Spatial Processing
MH  - Touch Perception
MH  - Young Adult
EDAT- 2017/04/14 06:00
MHDA- 2017/04/21 06:00
CRDT- 2017/04/14 06:00
PHST- 2016/11/25 [received]
PHST- 2017/03/30 [accepted]
AID - 10.1371/journal.pone.0175750 [doi]
AID - PONE-D-16-43011 [pii]
PST - epublish
SO  - PLoS One. 2017 Apr 13;12(4):e0175750. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175750.
      eCollection 2017.

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