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To search out these answers, Gabias and I created raised-line drawings of five different wheels, depicting spokes with lines that curved, bent, waved, dashed and extended beyond the perimeter of the wheel. We then asked 18 blind volunteers to assign one of the following motions to each wheel: wobbling, spinning fast, spinning steadily, jerking or braking. Which wheel do you think fits with each motion? Our control group consisted of 18 sighted undergraduates from the University of Toronto. All but one of the blind subjects assigned distinctive motions to each wheel.

Moreover, I wanted to discover whether there were differences in how the blind and the sighted interpreted lines of motion. To search out these answers, Gabias and I created raised-line drawings of five different wheels, depicting spokes with lines that curved, bent, waved, dashed and extended beyond the perimeter of the wheel. We then asked 18 blind volunteers to assign one of the following motions to each wheel: wobbling, spinning fast, spinning steadily, jerking or braking. Which wheel do you think fits with each motion?

Because motion devices are unfamiliar to the blind, the task we gave them involved some problem solving. Evidently, however, the blind not only MOTION can be suggested by irregular lines. When blind and sighted volunteers were shown five diagrams of moving wheels (right), they generally interpreted them in the same way. Most guessed that the curved spokes indicated that the wheel was spinning steadily; the wavy spokes, they thought, suggested that the wheel was wobbling; and the bent spokes were taken as a sign that the wheel was jerking.

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