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PSYC 309 Chapter Notes -Stimulus Modality, Visual Cortex, Bionics

1 pages113 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
PSYC 309
Todd Handy

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Reich ‘Sensory Substitution’ article
-brain flexible and task-based, not sensory-based (parts of brain may be independent of modality), can
change type of sensory input used with training
-invasive therapy: bionic eyes, gene therapy, photoreceptor transplant low res sight and expensive;
can use SSDs and prosthesis together
-SSDs have better functional performance, rehab CNS and bypass non-functioning peripheral parts
-SSDs take visual info auditory or tactile
-SSDs don’t give visual phenomena (USUALLY), but do help make mental rep of shape, surface
properties, and location of surroundings
-traditional view of brain: brain is divided into visual, auditory, etc cortex and only get info from once
sense. Blind ppl’s visual cortex processes other sense: good bc compensates but might make it hard to
restore sight bc brain not practiced in analyzing visual info
-new evidence: visual cortex isn’t purely visual, brain is task-based and independent of sensory modality;
ex listening to echoes activates visual cortex in ppl who know echolocation
-braille: ‘primitive’ vision substitution: when reading it visual are that processes written language
‘visual word form area’ is active
ex an area that processes shape: visually see shape it’s active or auditory stimuli convey shape it’s
active, but not when you just hear normal sounds
-visual cortex: ventral processing stream = what (split into animate and inanimate) (; dorsal processing
stream = where and how. Are used in the same way with SSD blind or sighted ppl
-which treatment to use? Depends on type and severity of visual damage: ex prosthetic eye good if
visual system in brain fine but eye damaged. If visual system past ganglion is damaged SSDs better and
low cost.
-why aren’t ppl using SSDs? They were expensive, big, hard to use inefficient, don’t want to try new
things, lack of training. Now: efficient, smaller, cheaper, easier to use
-with SSDs people have been able to: point at targets, motion discrimination, track things, tell
depth/distance, recognize objects, avoid objects, recognize routes
obstacle avoidance, depth perception, motion detection, reaching, object recognition, estimating
relative size, locating things
-late blind lady: gets visual qualia; ability to ‘see’ with SSD (vOICe) temporarily disrupted when brain
magnetically stimulated
-SSDs can be used to ‘train’ ppl’s visual areas before their vision is restored so they can use vision well
-SSD combined with prosthesis (‘explains’ visual signals) predicted to speed rehab; needs research. They
work in parallel and increase resolution together.
-SSDs can help specific types of blind ppl and good to combine with other technology
-need to work on: more pleasant stimuli, complementary colour and depth info, easier to interpret
stimuli, more ergonomic design
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