Haber L, Haber R N, Penningroth S, Novak K, Radgowski H, 1993, "Comparison of nine methods of indicating the direction to objects: data from blind adults" Perception 22(1) 35 – 47
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Comparison of nine methods of indicating the direction to objects: data from blind adults
Lyn Haber, Ralph Norman Haber, Suzanna Penningroth, Kevin Novak, Hilary Radgowski
Received 27 May 1991, in revised form 30 January 1992
Abstract. Nine methods of indicating the direction to object locations were tested on twenty blind adult subjects. The task was to indicate the location of active auditory targets distributed in a semicircle with a 1.7 m radius around the subject. Target location, practice, and feedback were systematically varied for each method. The greatest accuracy and lowest variability were found for pointing methods that used body parts (directing the nose at the target, facing it with the chest, and pointing with the index finger) and extensions of body parts (pointing with a hand-held cane or with a short stick). Two less accurate methods involved rotating a dial. The least accurate methods involved drawing and a verbal description in terms of clockface labels. Method interacted significantly with target location, and with individual differences. In general, the body-part and extension method were affected less than other methods by target location and individual differences. The findings suggest that a pointing response that uses a body part or an extension of a body part is the best choice for experimental or diagnostic measurement of object location by blind subjects. Differences between the results of this study of blind subjects and auditory localization accuracy in sighted subjects are discussed, and the implications for spatial processing in the blind are considered.
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