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PLoS One. 2019 Mar 28;14(3):e0214371. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214371. eCollection 2019.

Adults' visual recognition of actions simulations by finger gestures (ASFGs) produced by sighted and blind individuals.

Author information

1
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
2
Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Lumière Lyon, Bron, France.
3
Faculty of Humanities, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Abstract

The present study examines the visual recognition of action simulations by finger gestures (ASFGs) produced by sighted and blind individuals. In ASFGs, fingers simulate legs to represent actions such as jumping, spinning, climbing, etc. The question is to determine whether the common motor experience of one's own body is sufficient to produce adequate ASFGs or whether the possibility to see gestures from others are also necessary to do it. Three experiments were carried out to address this question. Experiment 1 examined in 74 sighted adults the recognition of 18 types of ASFGs produced by 20 blindfolded sighted adults. Results showed that rates of correct recognition were globally very high, but varied with the type of ASFG. Experiment 2 studied in 91 other sighted adults the recognition of ASFGs produced by 10 early blind and 7 late blind adults. Results also showed a high level of recognition with a similar order of recognizability by type of ASFG. However, ASFGs produced by early blind individuals were more poorly recognized than those produced by late blind individuals. In order to match data of recognition obtained with the form that gestures are produced by individuals, two independant judges evaluated prototypical and atypical attributes of ASFG produced by blindfolded sighted, early blind and late blind individuals in Experiment 3. Results revealed the occurrence of more atypical attributes in ASFG produced by blind individuals: their ASFGs transpose more body movements from a character-viewpoint in less agreement with visual rules. The practical interest of the study relates to the relevance of including ASFGs as a new exploratory procedure in tactile devices which are more apt to convey action concepts to blind users/readers.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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