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Scand J Psychol. 2010 Feb;51(1):75-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2009.00722.x. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

Indirect interception actions by blind and visually impaired perceivers: echolocation for interceptive actions.

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  • 1D√©partement STAPS, Universit√© de Limoges, Limoges, France.

Abstract

This research examined the acoustic information used to support interceptive actions by the blind. Congenitally blind and severely visually impaired participants (all wearing an opaque, black eye-mask) were asked to listen to a target ball rolling down a track. In response, participants rolled their own ball along a perpendicular path to intercept the target. To better understand what information was used the echoic conditions and rolling dynamics of the target were varied across test sessions. In addition the rolling speed of the target and the distance of the participant from the target were varied across trials. Results demonstrated that participants tended to perform most accurately at moderate speeds and distances, overestimating the target's arrival at the fastest speed, and underestimating it at the slowest speed. However, changes to the target's dynamics, that is, the amount of deceleration it underwent on approach, did not strongly influence performance. Echoic conditions were found to affect performance, as participants were slightly more accurate in conditions with faster, higher-intensity echoes. Based on these results blind individuals in this research seemed to be using spatial and temporal cues to coordinate their interceptive actions.

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