The effectiveness of an interactive audio-tactile map for the process of cognitive mapping and recall among people with visual impairments
Background: People with visual impairments can experience numerous challenges navigating unfamiliar environments. Systems that operate as prenavigation tools can assist such individuals. This mixed-methods study examined the effectiveness of an interactive audio-tactile map tool on the process of cognitive mapping and recall, among people who were blind or had visual impairments. The tool was developed with the involvement of visually impaired individuals who additionally provided further feedback throughout this research. Methods: A mixed-methods experimental design was employed. Fourteen participants were allocated to either an experimental group who were exposed to an audiotactile map, or a control group exposed to a verbally annotated tactile map. After five minutes’ exposure, multiple-choice questions examined participants’ recall of the spatial and navigational content. Subsequent semi-structured interviews were conducted to examine their views surrounding the study and the product. Results: The experimental condition had significantly better overall recall than the control group and higher average scores in all four areas examined by the questions. The interviews suggested that the interactive component offered individuals the freedom to learn the map in several ways and did not restrict them to a sequential and linear approach to learning. Conclusion: Assistive technology can reduce challenges faced by people with visual impairments, and the flexible learning approach offered by the audio-tactile map may be of particular value. Future researchers and assistive technology developers may wish to explore this further.
open access article
Citation : Griffin, E., Picinali, L., and Scase, M. (2020). The effectiveness of an interactive audio-tactile map for the process of cognitive mapping and recall among people with visual impairments. Brain and Behavior, 00:e01650
Research Institute : Institute for Psychological Science
Peer Reviewed : Yes