We examined haptic perception of the horizontal in visually impaired people. Blind people (late blind and congenitally blind), persons with very low vision, and blindfolded sighted individ- uals felt raised-line drawings of jars at four angles. They had to demonstrate their understanding that water remains horizontal, despite jar tilt, by selecting the correct raised-line drawing given four choices. Low-vision subjects, with near perfect scores, performed significantly better than the other groups of subjects. While the late-blind and blindfolded sighted subjects performed slightly better than the congenitally blind participants, the difference between the late-blind and congenitally blind groups was nonsignificant. The performance of the congenitally blind subjects indicates that visual experience is not necessary for the development of an understanding that water level stays horizontal, given container tilt.
Heller, Morton A.; Brackett, Deneen D.; Scroggs, Eric; Allen, Angela C.; and Green, Shavonda, "Haptic perception of the horizontal by blind and low-vision individuals" (2001). Faculty Research and Creative Activity. 4.