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The power of vision: Calibration of auditory space after sight restoration from congenital cataracts

Citation

Senna, Irene (2022), The power of vision: Calibration of auditory space after sight restoration from congenital cataracts, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.w3r2280tq

Abstract

Early visual deprivation typically also results in impaired spatial cognition in the other sensory modalities (e.g., audition). It has been suggested that this happens because, since vision provides the most accurate spatial information, it is also used as a reference for calibrating space in the other sensory modalities during development. Here we found that sight restoration after several years of early-onset visual deprivation can lead to the development of more accurate and precise auditory space perception. In two experiments we assessed auditory space perception in individuals who suffered from congenital bilateral cataracts and got surgically treated for sight restoration several years after birth.

Methods

Experiment 1 assessed participants’ ability to judge the relative position of a sound (the probe) within a sequence of three laterally separated sounds presented sequentially (auditory bisection task). In each trial, participants were asked to report whether the second sound (probe) was closer to the first (left) or third (right) sound. The file ‘Exp1_bisection’ reports all experimental trials, meaning each single response from each participant in each group for each stimulus presentation: the columns report the sequence of participants, participants’ ID, the condition (group) of the participant at the time of the test (0=blind; 1=pre-op, i.e., tested before surgery; 2=post-op, i.e., tested after surgery; 3=sighted participants), position of the probe (i.e., the position–in degrees–in which the probe was presented, among 8 possible positions), and participant’s response (0=probe closer to the first (left) sound, 1= probe closer to the third (right) sound). Experiment 2 tested participants’ ability to localize single sound sources (‘Exp2_auditory_pointing’) and single flashes (‘Exp2_visual_pointing’), in two separate blocks. In each trial, participants were presented–for a few seconds– with one stimulus that could be presented at any location within a large setup in their frontal plane. After the stimulus disappeared, participants (blindfolded) had to point and reach the location on the setup where they believed the stimulus was presented. The files for each condition (visual, auditory) report for each trials: the sequence of participants, participants’ ID, the condition (group) they belonged at the time of the test (1=pre-op; 2=post-op; 3=sighted participants), sensory modality (1=vision, 2= audition), the position of the target along the azimuth (x-axis), the position of the target in the elevation (y-axis), the position of participant’s response along the azimuth (x-axis), the position of participant’s response in the elevation (y-axis), and linear error (absolute distance in cm) between target’s position and response’s position. MATLAB codes (& .txt files as input for the codes) are also provided.

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: ER 542/3-1