Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology
Jeffrey B. Wagman
The ecological approach to perception-action seeks to understand an individual’s control of goal-directed actions by focusing on the relationship or fit between animal and environment (Turvey, 2019). This fit determines what behaviors are possible for that animal – what Gibson (1979/2014) referred to as affordances. Affordances emerge from this fit between the animal and the environment; however, this fit is malleable such as with the addition of a tool. Tools can also modify a person’s ability to perceive affordances. Tools such as sensory substitution devices (SSDs) utilize one modality (such as touch) when another modality is unavailable or compromised (such as in individuals who are visually impaired) to allow the user to perceive and act within their environment. In this thesis, I plan to make and support two claims about SSDs: 1) SSDs can be used to perceive and act on affordances in the context of performing everyday behaviors, such as navigating from place to place and 2) since SSDs can be used to perceive affordances, the devices can be used in rehabilitation therapies for people who are (or have become) visually impaired or “balance-impaired”. Furthermore, I will explain why SSDs and why one SSD in particular - the enactive torch (ET) - should be incorporated into other fields of research (specifically, rehabilitation).
Hartling, Stephanie Nicole, "Feeling the Light: Sensory Substitution Devices in Research and Rehabilitation" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 1438.