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Re: Implicit human echolocation
On 30 May 2007 at 9:31, Bruno L. Giordano wrote:
> I have a general knowledge of the literature on human echolocation:
> sighted-blindfolded listeners are capable of locating nearby surfaces
> from the reflections of self-generated sounds, when they are instructed
> to do so.
> However, does echolocation persist in absence of explicit instructions?
> An improbable single-trial experiment could address this question:
> blindfolded participants are asked to walk along a path, as long as they
> wish. They wouldn't be informed that a wall is obstructing the path.
> Unfortunately, the number of injuries would measure implicit
> echolocation abilities.
> Is anybody aware of related, more ethical studies?
Harry Erwin has mentioned Griffin's "Listening in the Dark".
As I recall, this book discusses an experiement almost
identical to the one you propose. I believe Griffin used a
moveable barrier in a straight hallway, set to a random
distance down the hall without the knowledge of the
blindfolded subject. The subject knew he would encounter
the barrier, but not where/when.
I think the experiment was repeated with a microphone
on a trolley in place of the subject, and the subject would
then listen through headphones as the trolley was moved
down the hall.
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