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Training-induced plasticity enables visualizing sounds with a visual-to-auditory conversion device

Abstract : Sensory substitution devices aim at restoring visual functions by converting visual information into auditory or tactile stimuli. Although these devices show promise in the range of behavioral abilities they allow, the processes underlying their use remain underspecified. In particular, while an initial debate focused on the visual versus auditory or tactile nature of sensory substitution, since over a decade, the idea that it reflects a mixture of both has emerged. In order to investigate behaviorally the extent to which visual and auditory processes are involved, participants completed a Stroop-like crossmodal interference paradigm before and after being trained with a conversion device which translates visual images into sounds. In addition, participants' auditory abilities and their phenomenologies were measured. Our study revealed that, after training, when asked to identify sounds, processes shared with vision were involved, as participants' performance in sound identification was influenced by the simultaneously presented visual distractors. In addition, participants' performance during training and their associated phenomenology depended on their auditory abilities, revealing that processing finds its roots in the input sensory modality. Our results pave the way for improving the design and learning of these devices by taking into account interindividual differences in auditory and visual perceptual strategies.
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https://hal.sorbonne-universite.fr/hal-03296048
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 3:30:35 PM
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Jacques Pesnot Lerousseau, Gabriel Arnold, Malika Auvray. Training-induced plasticity enables visualizing sounds with a visual-to-auditory conversion device. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 11 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-94133-4⟩. ⟨hal-03296048⟩

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