References on Spatial Abilities in Blind Persons

Some quotes from the Wikipedia page on Spatial Abilities:

"There is substantial evidence that blind people have these spatial reasoning abilities (though they may have different strategies in some details). There is also substantial evidence that pre-motor planning is part of our investigation of some of these which do involve motion: specifically mental rotation.

A very nice article about human cognition of all of these transformations, and more, is found in: Roger Shepard: The role of transformations in spatial cognition, in Spatial Cognition: Brain Bases and Developement, J. Stiles-Davis, M. Kritchevsky, and U. Bellugi (eds) Lawrence Erlbaum, 1988, pages 81-110.

This article surveys a large body of research, as well as arguments for why these abilities should be part of our brain structure and cognition from birth, and across species." ...

"There is evidence of mental maps and updating of position in these maps, among young children who are born blind."

A Useful Overview Paper

Ungar, S. (2000). Cognitive mapping without visual experience. In Kitchin, R. & Freundschuh, S. (eds), Cognitive Mapping: Past Present and Future, London: Routledge.

"In many of the studies cited above, congenitally, totally blind participants were found to perform at the level of sighted participants on spatial tasks, including tests of spatial inference. We can confidently say that lack of visual experience does not prevent the acquisition of spatial representation."

This paper is available here.

More References demonstrating the Spatial Abilities of Bind Persons

  1. Casey, S. (1978) Cognitive mapping by the blind. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 72, 297-301.
  2. Golledge, R.G., Klatzky, R.L. and Loomis, J.M. (1996) Cognitive mapping and wayfinding by adults without vision. In Portugali, J., Ed., The Construction of Cognitive Maps, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  3. Kitchin, R.M. and Jacobson, R.D. (1997) Techniques to collect and analyze the cognitive map knowledge of persons with visual impairment or blindness: issues of validity, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 91, 393-400.
  4. Millar, S. (1994). Understanding and Representing Space: Theory and Evidence from Studies with Blind and Sighted children, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. Millar, S. (1995) Understanding and representing spatial information, British Journal of Visual Impairment, 13, 8-11.
  6. Thinus-Blanc, C. and Gaunet, F. (1997), Representation of space in blind persons: vision as a spatial sense?, Psychological Bulletin, 121, 20-42.