The Impact of Vision Loss on Allocentric Spatial Coding

Chiara Martolini, Giulia Cappagli, Antonella Luparia, Sabrina Signorini, Monica Gori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Several works have demonstrated that visual experience plays a critical role in the development of allocentric spatial coding. Indeed, while children with a typical development start to code space by relying on allocentric landmarks from the first year of life, blind children remain anchored to an egocentric perspective until late adolescence. Nonetheless, little is known about when and how visually impaired children acquire the ability to switch from an egocentric to an allocentric frame of reference across childhood. This work aims to investigate whether visual experience is necessary to shift from bodily to external frames of reference. Children with visual impairment and normally sighted controls between 4 and 9 years of age were asked to solve a visual switching-perspective task requiring them to assume an egocentric or an allocentric perspective depending on the task condition. We hypothesize that, if visual experience is necessary for allocentric spatial coding, then visually impaired children would have been impaired to switch from egocentric to allocentric perspectives. Results support this hypothesis, confirming a developmental delay in the ability to update spatial coordinates in visually impaired children. It suggests a pivotal role of vision in shaping allocentric spatial coding across development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number565
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 16 2020

Keywords

  • allocentric reference frame
  • egocentric reference frame
  • spatial frame of reference
  • spatial perception
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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