Struiksma M E, Noordzij M L, Postma A, 2011, "Reference frame preferences in haptics differ for the blind and sighted in the horizontal but not in the vertical plane" Perception 40(6) 725 – 738
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Reference frame preferences in haptics differ for the blind and sighted in the horizontal but not in the vertical plane
Marijn E Struiksma, Matthijs L Noordzij, Albert Postma
Received 17 August 2010, in revised form 15 June 2011; published online 1 August 2011
Abstract. We investigated which reference frames are preferred when matching spatial language to the haptic domain. Sighted, low-vision, and blind participants were tested on a haptic-sentence-verification task where participants had to haptically explore different configurations of a ball and a shoe and judge the relation between them. Results from the spatial relation “above”, in the vertical plane, showed that various reference frames are available after haptic inspection of a configuration. Moreover, the pattern of results was similar for all three groups and resembled patterns found for the sighted on visual sentence-verification tasks. In contrast, when judging the spatial relation “in front”, in the horizontal plane, the blind showed a markedly different response pattern. The sighted and low-vision participants did not show a clear preference for either the absolute/relative or the intrinsic reference frame when these frames were dissociated. The blind, on the other hand, showed a clear preference for the intrinsic reference frame. In the absence of a dominant cue, such as gravity in the vertical plane, the blind might emphasise the functional relationship between the objects owing to enhanced experience with haptic exploration of objects.
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