Visual experience facilitates allocentric spatial representation

Article


Pasqualotto, Achille, Spiller, M., Jansari, A. and Proulx, Michael J. 2012. Visual experience facilitates allocentric spatial representation. Behavioural Brain Research. 236 (1), pp. 175-179.
AuthorsPasqualotto, Achille, Spiller, M., Jansari, A. and Proulx, Michael J.
Abstract

Representing the position of the objects independently from our own position is a fundamental cognitive ability. Here we investigated whether this ability depends on visual experience. Congenitally blind, late blind and blindfolded sighted participants haptically learnt a room-sized regularly shaped array of objects, and their spatial memory was tested to determine which spatial reference frame was used. Crucially, the use of an object-based reference frame requires representing the regular structure of the array. We found that blindfolded sighted and late blind participants, that is those with visual experience, showed a preferential use of the object-based or ‘allocentric’ reference frame. On the contrary, congenitally blind participants preferred a self-based, or egocentric, reference frame. This suggests that, due to its developmental effect on the multisensory brain areas involved in spatial cognition, visual experience is necessary to develop a preference for an object-based, allocentric reference frame.

Keywordsspatial cognition; multisensory integration; visual experience; blindness; reference frames; neural plasticity
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Journal citation236 (1), pp. 175-179
ISSN0166-4328
Year2012
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2012.08.042
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1670
Publication dates
PrintAug 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Aug 2012
Copyright informationNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Behavioural Brain Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Behavioural Brain Research, vol 236, 1 January 2013, pp. 175-179, DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2012.08.042
Additional information

Citation:
Pasqualotto, A., Spiller, M.J., Jansari, A.S. and Proulx, M.J. (2012), 'Visual experience facilitates allocentric spatial representation', Behavioural Brain Research, in press.

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