Dr Barry Hughes, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Auckland

Dr Barry Hughes, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Auckland and Director of Ringaringa Research laboratory

Sensorimotor control and braille reading

Braille reading, like print reading, is a complex skill, engaging but simultaneous perceptual, linguistic, cognitive and motor processing.  Relative to print reading, the sensorimotor aspects of braille reading are unique to touch: although the same material may be comprehended to the same degree, how this is accomplished is quite different in braille reading. 

In this session Barry will describe these differences in order to highlight important modelling issues that they raise.  By doing so, he put braille reading in a larger context - as a special case of tactile texture perception controlled by active touch, which also may be relevant to research in tactile graphics.

Research with fluent readers reveals kinematic features of how the fingers move when reading text of varying complexity and addresses questions of what finger movements reveal about how the mind reads braille. Readers who are encountering braille for the first time may lack knowledge of the code, but they come with a working procedural knowledge of how to explore textures: how fast to move and with what pressure, which fingerpad(s) to use, and whether and when to change scanning direction.  Barry will highlight the theoretically significant aspects of these differences and suggest how and why they are relevant to both researchers and teachers.

Handout file (pdf, opens in new window)

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