The role of visual experience in auditory space perception around the legs

Elena Aggius-Vella, Claudio Campus, Andrew Joseph Kolarik, Monica Gori

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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It is widely accepted that vision plays a key role in the development of spatial skills of the other senses. Recent works have shown that blindness is often associated with auditory spatial deficits. The majority of previous studies have focused on understanding the representation of the upper frontal body space where vision and actions have a central role in mapping the space, however less research has investigated the back space and the space around the legs. Here we investigate space perception around the legs and the role of previous visual experience, by studying sighted and blind participants in an audio localization task (front-back discrimination). Participants judged if a sound was delivered in their frontal or back space. The results showed that blindfolded sighted participants were more accurate than blind participants in the frontal space. However, both groups were similarly accurate when auditory information was delivered in the back space. Blind individuals performed the task with similar accuracy for sounds delivered in the frontal and back space, while sighted people performed better in the frontal space. These results suggest that visual experience influences auditory spatial representations around the legs. Moreover, these results suggest that hearing and vision play different roles in different spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10992
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019

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