Construction of cognitive maps of unknown spaces using a multi-sensory virtual environment for people who are blind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Most of the information used by people for the cognitive mapping of spaces is gathered through the visual channel. People who are blind lack the ability to collect the required visual information either in advance or in situ. This study was based on the assumption that the acquisition of appropriate spatial information (perceptual and conceptual) through compensatory sensorial channels (e.g., haptic) within a virtual environment simulating a real target space may assist people who are blind in their anticipatory exploration and cognitive mapping of the unknown space. The two main goals of the study were: (a) the development of a haptic-based multi-sensory virtual environment enabling the exploration of an unknown space and (b) the study of the cognitive mapping process of the space by people who are blind working with the multi-sensory virtual environment. The findings suggest strong evidence that the work within the multi-sensory virtual environment provided a robust foundation for the participants' development of comprehensive cognitive maps of the unknown space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1155
Number of pages17
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

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