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From Perception to Metacognition: Auditory and Olfactory Functions in Early Blind, Late Blind, and Sighted Individuals

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ABSTRACT

Although evidence is mixed, studies have shown that blind individuals perform better than sighted at specific auditory, tactile, and chemosensory tasks. However, few studies have assessed blind and sighted individuals across different sensory modalities in the same study. We tested early blind (n = 15), late blind (n = 15), and sighted (n = 30) participants with analogous olfactory and auditory tests in absolute threshold, discrimination, identification, episodic recognition, and metacognitive ability. Although the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed no overall effect of blindness and no interaction with modality, follow-up between-group contrasts indicated a blind-over-sighted advantage in auditory episodic recognition, that was most pronounced in early blind individuals. In contrast to the auditory modality, there was no empirical support for compensatory effects in any of the olfactory tasks. There was no conclusive evidence for group differences in metacognitive ability to predict episodic recognition performance. Taken together, the results showed no evidence of an overall superior performance in blind relative sighted individuals across olfactory and auditory functions, although early blind individuals exceled in episodic auditory recognition memory. This observation may be related to an experience-induced increase in auditory attentional capacity.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

(A–F) Correlations of judgments of learning (JOLs) with episodic recognition (d') for odors (A–C) and sounds (D–F) in early blind, late blind, and sighted participants. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (rP) with fitted regression line (ordinary least squares), and the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rS) are depicted. *p < 0.05.
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Figure 2: (A–F) Correlations of judgments of learning (JOLs) with episodic recognition (d') for odors (A–C) and sounds (D–F) in early blind, late blind, and sighted participants. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (rP) with fitted regression line (ordinary least squares), and the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rS) are depicted. *p < 0.05.

Mentions: Participants' metacognitive skills for predicting episodic recognition performance were examined by analyzing the relationship between judgments of learning (JOLs) and episodic recognition performance (d') in early blind, late blind, and sighted participants for odors (Figures 2A–C) and sounds (Figures 2D–F), respectively. The positive relationships between JOLs and recognition (d') were stronger for the early blind participants than for late blind and sighted participants and were more pronounced for sound recognition. It should be noted, however, that neither of the differences between groups reached statistical significance. The pairwise comparisons were z tested according to Fisher's formula, after each Pearson correlation coefficient had been converted into r'. For olfaction, there were no significant differences between early blind and late blind (z = 0.77), early blind and sighted (z = 0.49), or late blind and sighted participants (z = −0.41; ps > 0.05). Likewise, no significant differences were found between early and late blind (z = 1.81), early blind and sighted (z = 1.78), or late blind and sighted participants (z = −0.35; ps > 0.05).


From Perception to Metacognition: Auditory and Olfactory Functions in Early Blind, Late Blind, and Sighted Individuals
(A–F) Correlations of judgments of learning (JOLs) with episodic recognition (d') for odors (A–C) and sounds (D–F) in early blind, late blind, and sighted participants. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (rP) with fitted regression line (ordinary least squares), and the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rS) are depicted. *p < 0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037222&req=5

Figure 2: (A–F) Correlations of judgments of learning (JOLs) with episodic recognition (d') for odors (A–C) and sounds (D–F) in early blind, late blind, and sighted participants. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (rP) with fitted regression line (ordinary least squares), and the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rS) are depicted. *p < 0.05.
Mentions: Participants' metacognitive skills for predicting episodic recognition performance were examined by analyzing the relationship between judgments of learning (JOLs) and episodic recognition performance (d') in early blind, late blind, and sighted participants for odors (Figures 2A–C) and sounds (Figures 2D–F), respectively. The positive relationships between JOLs and recognition (d') were stronger for the early blind participants than for late blind and sighted participants and were more pronounced for sound recognition. It should be noted, however, that neither of the differences between groups reached statistical significance. The pairwise comparisons were z tested according to Fisher's formula, after each Pearson correlation coefficient had been converted into r'. For olfaction, there were no significant differences between early blind and late blind (z = 0.77), early blind and sighted (z = 0.49), or late blind and sighted participants (z = −0.41; ps > 0.05). Likewise, no significant differences were found between early and late blind (z = 1.81), early blind and sighted (z = 1.78), or late blind and sighted participants (z = −0.35; ps > 0.05).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Although evidence is mixed, studies have shown that blind individuals perform better than sighted at specific auditory, tactile, and chemosensory tasks. However, few studies have assessed blind and sighted individuals across different sensory modalities in the same study. We tested early blind (n = 15), late blind (n = 15), and sighted (n = 30) participants with analogous olfactory and auditory tests in absolute threshold, discrimination, identification, episodic recognition, and metacognitive ability. Although the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed no overall effect of blindness and no interaction with modality, follow-up between-group contrasts indicated a blind-over-sighted advantage in auditory episodic recognition, that was most pronounced in early blind individuals. In contrast to the auditory modality, there was no empirical support for compensatory effects in any of the olfactory tasks. There was no conclusive evidence for group differences in metacognitive ability to predict episodic recognition performance. Taken together, the results showed no evidence of an overall superior performance in blind relative sighted individuals across olfactory and auditory functions, although early blind individuals exceled in episodic auditory recognition memory. This observation may be related to an experience-induced increase in auditory attentional capacity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus