Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Behavioral and neurological studies in tactile map reading and training by persons who are blind or visually impaired
by Lawrence, Megan McNally, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 2011, 116; 3466366
Abstract (Summary)

This research investigates the relationship between map use tasks, spatial abilities and training-based effects in persons who are blind or visually impaired. A mixed-method approach using theories and methods in behavioral geography, tactile cartography and functional magnetic resonance imaging have produced finds that identify both behaviorally-based as well as biologically-based impacts resulting from systematic tactile map use and spatial thinking training. The neurological results indicate that prior to training a dominant egocentric/route strategy is used to answer all experimental map tasks, while after training an allocentric/survey strategy is used. The current study demonstrates that the adoption of an allocentric perspective is coupled with improved behavioral performance. The findings provide supporting evidence that people who are blind are capable of learning and applying sophisticated spatial strategies. The systematic progression from egocentric/route processing to allocentric/survey processing in the participant population follows traditional developmental models of spatial knowledge.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lobben, Amy
Commitee: Bartlein, Patrick, Marcus, Andrew, Young, Michal
School: University of Oregon
Department: Department of Geography
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Geography
Keywords: Behavioral geography, Blind, Cognitive science, Map reading, Spatial strategies, Tactile maps, Training
Publication Number: 3466366
ISBN: 9781124794082
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