To verify whether loosing a sense or two has consequences on a spared sensory modality, namely touch, and whether these consequences depend on practice or are biologically determined, we investigated 13 deafblind participants, 16 deaf participants, 15 blind participants, and 13 matched normally sighted and hearing controls on a tactile short-term memory task, using checkerboard matrices of increasing length in which half of the squares were made up of a rough texture and half of a smooth one. Time of execution of a fixed matrix, number of correctly reproduced matrices, largest matrix correctly reproduced and tactile span were recorded. The three groups of sensory- deprived individuals did not differ in any measure, while blind and deaf participants outscored controls in all parameters except time of execution; the difference approached significance for deafblind people compared to controls only in one measure, namely correctly reproduced matrices. In blind and deafblind participants, performance negatively correlated with age of Braille acquisition, the older being the subject when acquiring Braille, the lower the performance, suggesting that practice plays a role. However, the fact that deaf participants, who did not share tactile experience, performed similarly to blind participants and significantly better than controls highlights that practice cannot be the only contribution to better tactile memory.

Tactile short-term memory in sensory deprived individuals

Lara Mantovan;
2017

Abstract

To verify whether loosing a sense or two has consequences on a spared sensory modality, namely touch, and whether these consequences depend on practice or are biologically determined, we investigated 13 deafblind participants, 16 deaf participants, 15 blind participants, and 13 matched normally sighted and hearing controls on a tactile short-term memory task, using checkerboard matrices of increasing length in which half of the squares were made up of a rough texture and half of a smooth one. Time of execution of a fixed matrix, number of correctly reproduced matrices, largest matrix correctly reproduced and tactile span were recorded. The three groups of sensory- deprived individuals did not differ in any measure, while blind and deaf participants outscored controls in all parameters except time of execution; the difference approached significance for deafblind people compared to controls only in one measure, namely correctly reproduced matrices. In blind and deafblind participants, performance negatively correlated with age of Braille acquisition, the older being the subject when acquiring Braille, the lower the performance, suggesting that practice plays a role. However, the fact that deaf participants, who did not share tactile experience, performed similarly to blind participants and significantly better than controls highlights that practice cannot be the only contribution to better tactile memory.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3701563
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