Perceptual constancy with a novel sensory skill.
Norman LJ., Thaler L.
Making sense of the world requires perceptual constancy-the stable perception of an object across changes in one's sensation of it. To investigate whether constancy is intrinsic to perception, we tested whether humans can learn a form of constancy that is unique to a novel sensory skill (here, the perception of objects through click-based echolocation). Participants judged whether two echoes were different either because: (a) the clicks were different, or (b) the objects were different. For differences carried through spectral changes (but not level changes), blind expert echolocators spontaneously showed a high constancy ability (mean d' = 1.91) compared to sighted and blind people new to echolocation (mean d' = 0.69). Crucially, sighted controls improved rapidly in this ability through training, suggesting that constancy emerges in a domain with which the perceiver has no prior experience. This provides strong evidence that constancy is intrinsic to human perception. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).