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Elena Aggius-Vella, Claudio Campus, Monica Gori; Role of senses in representing portions of spaces around our body.. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1050. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.1050.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Vision has a central role in the development of spatial skills of other senses. Most of the studies on auditory spatial representation have focused on the frontal space, especially at head level. Few is known about the role of senses in representing spaces where vision is not available (i.e. in the back space) and around other body spaces (i.e. around the foot, where walking produces audio feedback of movement). To clarify these points, we performed a sound localization task by manipulating the sound's source (front vs. back and at thigh vs. at foot level) and sensory experiences (by testing sighted and blind people). We hypothesized that visual calibration on hearing could spread over all spaces around the body, but hearing may have a special role in representing the rear space and the space around foot. We adopted a generalized linear mixed model where the answers of each subject were regressed as a function of sound level (thigh vs foot level) and longitudinal position (front vs rear space) as factors within subjects, while group (blind vs sighted) as factor between subjects. Results supported our hypotheses by showing that sighted people were similarly accurate in localizing frontal and rear sounds, while blind people were more accurate in localizing rear sounds. Furthermore, by comparing the two groups, we found that sighted people were more accurate on the frontal zone than blind, while blind performed better than sighted in the rear space. Summarizing, our study showed that space around us could be split in different portions where senses and visual experience have a different weight.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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