Sensory substitution devices and behavioural transference: a commentary on recent work from the lab of Amir Amedi

Brown, D. (2018) Sensory substitution devices and behavioural transference: a commentary on recent work from the lab of Amir Amedi. In: Macpherson, F. (ed.) Sensory Substitution and Augmentation. Series: Proceedings of the British Academy (219). British Academy by Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 122-129. ISBN 9780197266441

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Abstract

Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) are most familiar from their use with subjects who are deficient in a target modality (e.g. congenitally blind subjects), but there is no doubt that the use and potential value of SSDs extend to persons without such deficits. Recent work by Amedi and his team (in particular Levy-Tzedek et al. 2012) has begun to explore this. Their idea is that SSDs may facilitate behavioural transference (BT) across sense modalities. In this case, a motor skill learned through visual perception might be subsequently employed in response to auditory perception, using an SSD as a mediator. They infer from the existence of such BT that the learned skill is amodally represented. After a brief overview I identify ways to more fully test for BT within this experimental paradigm and argue that their conclusion about amodal representation is premature. Additionally, I argue that their preferred SSD (Eyemusic) is of limited value for the project. While my remarks are critical, my intention is to be constructive, particularly in light of the fact that Levy-Tzedek et al. (2012), is, I believe, the first output from Amedi's lab concerning this line of research.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brown, Dr Derek
Authors: Brown, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Publisher:British Academy by Oxford University Press
ISBN:9780197266441
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