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Re: Implicit human echolocation


thanks for all the references and comments!

I have to say that my interest in implicit echolocation stood in the need to avoid potential confounds in an experiment I am collaborating to:

would sighted and blindfolded participants echolocate while carrying another task?

The general impression I have now is: probably not, but we really do not know, AKA we have to be careful with the design of the apparatus.

Now, to give my humble opinion about the debate, and to state some more or less obvious points:

1. perception = estimation of the properties of the environment from sensory information.

2. Individual differences are found for any perceptual skill. In my opinion, a theory of perception should, ultimately, explain individual differences in perceptual skills in the population at large (ideally one should also focus on the skills used for a daily interaction with the environment). As such, I don't think there is something dishonest in investigating echolocation in both sighted and blind participants. On the other hand, investigating perceptual performance only in golden ears can be rather uninformative. Focusing on golden ears we would find that accurate echolocation is possible and focuses on a given type of auditory information, but we would still know nothing about how echolocation develops, about what kind of auditory information is used by poor echolocators, and about why not everybody is able to echolocate accurately.

All the best,


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bruno L. Giordano, Ph.D. Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory CIRMMT http://www.cirmmt.mcgill.ca/ Schulich School of Music, McGill University 555 Sherbrooke Street West Montréal, QC H3A 1E3 Canada Office: +1 514 398 4535 ext. 00900 http://www.music.mcgill.ca/~bruno/