Echolocation is used for navigation by many animal species. Scientists have been wondering for years if humans can also acquire this ability? The answer is yes, and the most amazing thing is how quickly you learn it.
Echolocation is not an ability unique to animals. You can learn it too – in just 10 weeks! The experiments were done on a small group, but the results are very promising.
Echoed as in Daredevil?
Daredevil (aka Matt Murdock) is one of the most complex and interesting characters in the Marvel comic books. He lost his sight in an accident, but learned to use echolocation to navigate the world. While this is just a comic book fantasy, it has a lot to do with reality. A small experiment was conducted in 2021.which was attended by 12 subjects (diagnosed with childhood blindness) and 14 sighted subjects from the control group, showed that learning echolocation does not require much.
Researchers from Durham University created two groups of people – 12 blind (diagnosed with childhood blindness) and 14 sighted people (control group). They subjected them to 20 training sessions of 2-3 hours in which they had to use their mouths to “click” to navigate the maze (with T-shaped, U-shaped, and zigzag corridors). It turned out that 10 weeks (while the experiment continued) was enough to literally learn echolocation.
After completing a series of training sessions, participants were introduced to a new virtual maze that they had never entered before. Even under these conditions, the number of collisions with obstacles was much lower than at the beginning of the entire training program. what does that mean? The echo of the clicks in your mouth helps blind people navigate the maze more easily than before.
Furthermore, the researchers found that after 20 training sessions, echolocation amateurs did it as well as experts who had used the skill for years. Echolocation can be learned, not just for the blind. This skill is also available to sighted people of all ages. The study was conducted in 2021, but was warmly received by the scientific community, so we’re retracing it now.
I can’t remember any other work involving blind people that would have been so enthusiastically received.Laure Thaler is a psychologist at Durham University
With age, sight and hearing deteriorate, but research by Durham University researchers showed that even blind people as young as 79 years old were able to master echolocation. Everything is a matter of training.
Blind people learned echolocation better in their everyday lives, even after several months of experimentation. 10 out of 12 survey respondents stated that echolocation improved their independence and well-being.
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