Date of Award

8-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

Program

Psychology - General

First Advisor/Chairperson

Mounia Ziat

Second Advisor

Sheila Burns

Third Advisor

Scott Drum

Abstract

In order to determine if the neck could be used a site for vestibular-to-tactile sensory substitution, two experiments were performed to take an in-depth look of the tactile sensitivity of the neck and how it responds to vibrotactile stimuli. Experiment 1 explored how participants respond to a vibrotactile neck device, the Arraysense, and how well this device conveys information about a single contact point on the participant’s skin. Results showed that determining the exact point of stimulation is difficult for participants, but they can identify the area of stimulation with ease. Additionally, our results showed that the front of the neck has pointedly lower accuracy rates than other areas, despite the duration or frequency used. This information led us to explore the spatial acuity of the neck in Experiment 2, where we used a two-point orientation discrimination task. Results showed that tactile sensitivity around the neck is uniform, despite the location of the stimulus with exception to the very front of the neck. From these two experiments it can be concluded that the neck can convey tactile information and additional studies should further explore the best tactile features for a successful vestibular-tactile sensory substitution.

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