Four experiments investigated the young blind child's ability to discover, construct and transform representation of objects, in particular those that preserve the spatial relationships among object parts. Experiment 1 showed that three 18-36-month-old blind children systematically explored novel objects using distinctive haptic manipulations linked to novel shape versus texture. Experiments 2, 3 and 4 pursued a single blind child's ability to represent and transform the spatial configurations of objects. By 2 1 12 years, this child was able to rapidly recognize and identify familiar geometric figures following brief exploration (Experiment 2). By 3 years, she was able to recognize novel objects under 180° rotations when their configurations differed from distractors only in the spatial relationships holding among object parts (Experiment 3). At this age, she was also able to infer the locations corresponding to spatial parts of novel objects (the top, bottom, front, back and side) when the objects were upright or rotated, defined only by the location of a single "anchor" term that established their orientation (Experiment 4). In all cases, the blind child's performance was quite similar to that of sighted controls. The results indicate that visual experience is not necessary for the early natural emergence of the capacity to represent and transform spatial descriptions of objects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Cognitive Neuroscience