Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

Program

Psychology - General

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Mounia Ziat

Second Advisor

Dr. Adam Prus

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Drum

Abstract

Rehabilitation is an important training phase for those suffering from upper limb paralysis as a result of brain injury. When successfully completed, the re-trained limb should be able to successfully complete daily life activities. An alternative to traditional therapy is the usage of effective rehabilitation by using haptic devices in a virtual environment. The type of haptic device and task are crucial for the success of the therapy training sessions. After presenting a state-of-art literature review of several haptic devices that has been used in research and clinical facilities, we thought to use the black hole illusion (BHI), a night landing illusion, as a potential way to investigate the benefits of using a haptic device in a featureless environment. The purpose was to explore whether under a visual clueless environment, individuals could rely on their tactile and haptic modality to perform a task. More specifically, we asked the participants to land a virtual object during featured (F) and featureless night conditions (NF); with (H) and without haptic feedback (WH). The results showed that haptic feedback aided featureless night landing along the mediolateral direction. However, this benefit was less evident in a featured condition suggesting that participants were relying on visual cues during the task. This confirms previous findings related to night landing that the BHI is due to the fact that experienced pilots rely mainly on the visual input during the glide.

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