We examined haptic viewpoint effects in blindfolded-sighted (BS) and visually impaired subjects: early blind (EB), late blind (LB), and very low vision (VLV). Participants felt complex objects and matched tangible pictures to them. In experiment 1, the EB and BS subjects had similar overall performance. Experiment 2 showed that the presence of a detail on the target object lowered performance in the BS subjects, and that matching accuracy was lower overall for top views for the blind subjects. In experiments 3 ^ 5, EB, LB, VLV, and BS subjects made judgments about perspective pictures of a model house with more salient object details. In experiment 3, performance was higher for side views than for corner views. Elevated side views were identified more readily than elevated corner views in experiment 4. Performance for top views was higher than for elevated side views in experiment 5, given the relative simplicity of the top-view depictions and salient details. The EB and BS participants had somewhat lower matching accuracy scores than the other groups. We suggest that visual experience is helpful, but not essential for picture perception. Viewpoint effects may vary with experience and object complexity, but the relevant experience need not be specifically visual in nature.
Heller, Morton A.; Riddle, Tara; Fulkerson, Erin; Wemple, Lindsay; Walk, Anne McClure; Guthrie, Stephanie; Kranz, Crystal; and Klaus, Patricia, "The influence of viewpoint and object detail in blind people when matching pictures to complex objects" (2009). Faculty Research and Creative Activity. 12.