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.
|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|
|Keywords:||Behavioral geography, Blind, Cognitive science, Map reading, Spatial strategies, Tactile maps, Training|
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