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Volume: 28 | Article ID: art00007
Blind individuals represent the auditory space in an egocentric rather than allocentric reference frame
  DOI :  10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.16.HVEI-096  Published OnlineFebruary 2016

It is not clear to date how visual deprivation affects auditory spatial perception. Recent psychophysical evidences described a spatial auditory deficit in congenitally blind individuals while some others found a spatial auditory improvement. Particularly, Gori, Sandini, Martinoli, & Burr (2014) and Vercillo, Milne, Gori, & Goodale (2015) reported that people who were born blind were less efficient in localizing sound sources with respect to auditory landmarks than sighted individuals. On the other side, blind people performed similarly or even better than sighted participants during the localization of single sound sources. We investigated auditory spatial perception in early blind using different auditory spatial tasks and found that blind individuals did not succeed in localizing sound sources in an external frame of reference. The performance of early blind was severely impaired during the localization of brief auditory stimuli with respect to acoustic landmarks (allocentric frame of reference) but was comparable to that one of sighted participants when they had to localize sounds with respect to their own body (egocentric reference frame). Our results suggest that, after early visual deprivation, auditory spatial perception is centered on an egocentric reference system.

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Tiziana Vercillo, Monica Gori, "Blind individuals represent the auditory space in an egocentric rather than allocentric reference framein Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Human Vision and Electronic Imaging,  2016,

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