Published On: 25/01/2005|Categories: 2003–2007, Vol.26 (1), Vol.26 (2005)|

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This article reviews recent research on perception of tangible pictures in sighted and blind people. Haptic picture naming accuracy is dependent upon familiarity and access to semantic memory, just as in visual recognition. Performance is high when haptic picture recognition tasks do not depend upon semantic memory. Viewpoint matters for the ease or difficulty of interpreting haptic pictures of solid objects. Top views were easiest for sighted and blind persons when geometrical solids had constant crosssections in the vertical axis. The presence or absence of viewpoint effects depends upon the nature of the solids that are represented. Congenitally blind people do not spontaneously produce perspective drawings, but recent data suggests that depictions including linear perspective can be understood after minimal experience. The results suggest that two-dimensional configurations are not necessarily problematic for touch.

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