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Science showcase presents psychology's 'hands-on' benefits
Date:8/2/2011

WASHINGTON The American Psychological Association plans to feature three public demonstrations of psychological science applications, including one that enables "seeing" with one's ears rather than eyes, at the organization's 119th Annual Convention here this week.

The Science Showcase will be open to the public Aug. 5 and 6, near the entrance to the convention exhibits and registration area at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

"The science of psychology affects everyone's daily life in ways that most people don't realize," said Steven J. Breckler, PhD, executive director of APA's Science Directorate. "The Science Showcase presents practical uses of psychological research that can be of great service to individuals and society as a whole."

A device known as the vOICe, which helps determine where and what an object is without using eyesight, was selected as best demonstration, with a prize of $3,000. A panel of six psychological research scientists reviewed 13 proposals and also selected two other demonstrations for the showcase: an interactive home energy-use feedback system and a brief task to determine on-the-job fatigue associated with sleep loss.

"Imagine losing your sense of sight and being able to 'see' instead with your ears," said Michael Proulx, PhD, of Queen Mary University in London and presenter of the vOICe demonstration.

Proulx will show how the vOICe maps visual images to sound and provides blindfolded users with a sense of what an object is and where it is located. This reveals that although we think we see with our eyes, sight actually takes place in the brain. Through "sensory substitution," a person deprived of one sense, such as sight, is capable of receiving the missing input through another sense, such as hearing, Proulx explained.

The vOICe maps visual images to sound via three primary dimensions: pitch, loudness and timed-stereo panning, which is much like pann
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Contact: Lisa Bowen
lbowen@apa.org
202-336-5707
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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