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J Exp Psychol Gen. 1993 Mar;122(1):73-91.

Nonvisual navigation by blind and sighted: assessment of path integration ability.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106.


Blindfolded sighted, adventitiously blind, and congenitally blind subjects performed a set of navigation tasks. The more complex tasks involved spatial inference and included retracing a multisegment route in reverse, returning directly to an origin after being led over linear segments, and pointing to targets after locomotion. As a group, subjects responded systematically to route manipulations in the complex tasks, but performance was poor. Patterns of error and response latency are informative about the internal representation used; in particular, they do not support the hypothesis that only a representation of the origin of locomotion is maintained. The slight performance differences between groups varying in visual experience were neither large nor consistent across tasks. Results provide little indication that spatial competence strongly depends on prior visual experience.

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