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Sensory Substitution and Augmentation$
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Fiona Macpherson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266441

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266441.001.0001

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Sensory Substitution and Non-Sensory Feelings

Sensory Substitution and Non-Sensory Feelings

(p.267) 16 Sensory Substitution and Non-Sensory Feelings
Sensory Substitution and Augmentation

David Suarez

Diana Acosta-Navas

Umut Baysan

Kevin Connolly

, Fiona Macpherson
British Academy

One limitation of sensory substitution devices (SSDs) is their inability to reproduce the non-sensory feelings that are normally associated with visual experiences, especially hedonic responses. This is sometimes reported to cause SSD users frustration and it is unclear that improvements in acuity, bandwidth, or training will resolve the issue. We offer a novel solution. Researchers can produce hedonic responses by eliciting these feelings artificially, pairing distal objects that should be pleasurable to pleasurable outputs from the SSD. We outline two strategies for accomplishing this: first, by means of a prefixed, hardwired association of distal objects to SSD outputs; and second, by means of a flexible, feedback-based association created by subject-directed matching of distal objects to SSD outputs. We evaluate both strategies, and argue that the feedback-based strategy is more promising. Researchers could use this strategy to help the blind, allowing them to take pleasure in objects they perceive using SSDs.

Keywords:   sensory substitution, blindness, pleasure, hedonic responses, feedback

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