Visual objects in the auditory system in sensory substitution: How much information do we need?

David Brown, Andrew J R Simpson, Michael J. Proulx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Sensory substitution devices such as The vOICe convert visual imagery into auditory soundscapes and can provide a basic 'visual' percept to those with visual impairment. However, it is not known whether technical or perceptual limits dominate the practical efficacy of such systems. By manipulating the resolution of sonified images and asking naïve sighted participants to identify visual objects through a six-alternative forced-choice procedure (6AFC) we demonstrate a 'ceiling effect' at 8 × 8 pixels, in both visual and tactile conditions, that is well below the theoretical limits of the technology. We discuss our results in the context of auditory neural limits on the representation of 'auditory' objects in a cortical hierarchy and how perceptual training may be used to circumvent these limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-357
Number of pages21
JournalMultisensory Research
Volume27
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • auditory
  • blindness
  • cross-modal
  • object recognition
  • Sensory substitution
  • The vOICe
  • visual impairment

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