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THE ROLE OF TOUCH IN THE THEATERGOING EXPERIENCE OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED ADULTS BY SARAH GREGORY A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Psychology New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Michelle Barton Sarasota, Florida May, 2011
ii Dedication This thesis is dedicated to everyone who helped me survive this year and to flourish these past four. To my Pei (and W!) roommate Marie, without whom my New College experience would have been very different. To Amanda, for still being close even though we are so far apart. To my thesis pals (espe cially Katie) for sharing the thesis frustrati ons as well as the burdens. To Firstie and crew for reminding me of the joys of first year. To Kevin, for everything. And to my mom without whose support and unconditional love, I never would have made it. I am so grateful to have had all of you in my life.
iii Acknowledgments I would like to thank my sponsor Dr. Michelle Barton, my committee members Dr. Heidi Harley and Dr. Steve Graham, and all of the students in seminar for their input and support. In addition, I would like to thank the employees of the QRC and Duff Cooper for their help with my data. I would also especially like to thank the Director of Education and Outreach at the Asolo Theater, Brian Hersh, and Stage Manager Kelly Borgia, as well as my parti cipants. Without everyone involved, my research would not have been possible.
iv Table of Contents DEDICATION ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF TABLES v LIST OF APPENDIX MATERIALS vi ABSTRACT viii INTRODUCTION 1 Representations in the Blind 2 Un iversal Design Theory 10 Visual Media Adapted for the Blind 11 The Current Study 21 EXPERIMENT 1 22 Method 22 Results and Discussion 27 EXPERIMENT 2 32 Method 32 Results and Discussion 34 REFERENCES 44 FIGURES 48 APPENDIX 53
v List of Tables TABLE 1: Participant mean scores on the po st questionnaire variables, 48 Touch Tour group, Experiment 2 TABLE 2: Participant mean scores on the touch tour variables, 4 9 Touch Tour group, Experiment 2 TABLE 3: Participant scores on the po st questionnaire variables, 50 Control group, Experiment 2 TABLE 4: Participant means on the pos t questionnaire variables, 51 Touch Tour and Control groups, Experiment 2 TABLE 6: Participant content sco re, touch tour v control, 52 Experiment 2
vi List of Appendix Materials APPENDIX A: Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Universal 53 Design Theory APPENDIX B: Pre Questionnaire Variables for Participants in 5 6 Experim ent 1 APPENDIX C: Touch Tour Questions on the Pre Questionnaire 5 8 for Touch Tour Participants in Experiment 1 and all Participants in Experiment 2 APPENDIX D: Demographic Question s on the Pre Questionnaire 59 for Participants in Experiments 1 and 2 APPENDIX E: Vision Impairment Questions on the Pre Quest ionnaire 60 for Visually Impaired Participants in Experiment 1 APPENDIX F: Social Desirably Scale on the Pre Questionnaire for 6 1 Participants in Experiments 1 and 2 APPENDIX G: Post Questionnaire Var iables for Participants in 62 Experiment 1 APPENDIX H: Touch Tour Questions on the Post Questionnaire for 6 3 Touch Tour Participants in Experiment 1 APPENDIX I: Attendance on the Post Questionnaire for Control 6 4 Participants, Experiment 1 APPENDIX J: Content Questions on the Pre Questionnaire for 65 Participants in Experiment 1 APPENDIX K: Post Questionnaire for Participants, Experiment 2 6 6
vii APPENDIX L: Content Questions on the Pre Questionnaires for 68 Participants i n Experiment 2 APPENDIX M: Touch Tour Questions on the Post Questionnaire 70 for Touch Tour Participants in Experiment 2
viii THE ROLE OF TOUCH IN THE THEATERGOING EXPERIENCE OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED ADULTS Sarah Gregory New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT Universal Design Theory states that, as much as possible, experiences should be equivalent for those with and without disabilities (NC State University, The Center for Universal Design, 1997). However, the Principles of Universal Design Theory are still being explored as to the possibility of making equivalent entertainment experiences. The current studies attempted to add to the literature using Universal Design Theory by examining the use of a touch tour to promote equivalent theatergoing experiences be tween those with and without visual impairments. Specifically, it sought to increase the enjoyment of and understanding of a play by those with visual impairments; the experiments also looked at the positivity of the overall experiment for participants as well as their anticipated future attendance of other plays. This study found a significant effect significant effects were found. Future research should continue to e xplore the best ways to incorporate the Principles of Universal Design Theory into entertainment. Dr. Michelle Barton Division of Social Sciences
1 The Role of Touch in the Theatergoing Experience of Visually Impaired Adults In 2009, the World Health Organization estimated that there were about 314 million visually impaired people worldwide; of this number, about 45 million were blind and 269 million were classified as being low vision. These 300 million people have very littl e access to visual media. Visual media is an area of entertainment that is not often sought out by many people with visual impairments. Art exhibits, movies, TV shows, and s who are blind or low vision. While some forms of visual media have been adapted to better suit the needs of people with visual deficits, much of the entertainment industry is constructed for those without visual challenges. Theater is a largely visual f orm of entertainment to which blind and visually impaired people have limited access. The current study worked to combat this problem by gathering data on a relatively new and still experimental theater technique called a touch tour. The touch tour works t o include visually impaired audience members in the visual aspects of a play by allowing visually impaired theatergoers to explore the set and touch materials that are used in the play that they are about to attend. For example, participants are encouraged to touch the fabric of the costumes, hold crucial props, and walk the layout of the set to increase their understanding and enjoyment of the play, as well as their attendance at future events. A touch tour is a service to the blind community as it can rea ch a part of the population that may be missing out on theatergoing experiences because of their vision problems. The following literature review will include an overview of the spatial representation skills possible in blind people and the roles that soun d and touch play in
2 these skills; how visual media and entertainment is being redesigned to include the needs of the visually impaired; and the role of touch in enjoyment and understanding of visual entertainment by those with visual impairments. Representations in the Blind Blind individuals have good spatial reasoning skills, accurate spatial representations, and the ability to make cognitive maps of different environments. For example, Afonso, Blum, Katz, Tarroux, Borst, and Dennis (2010) found that the spatial representations of congenitally blind people are accurate and largely dependent on locomotion. The experimenters conducted two experiments to examine the spatial representations of blind individuals as compared to sighted individuals; part icipants were congenitally blind individuals, late in life blind individuals, and blindfolded sighted individuals. In the first experiment, the experimenters measured the scanning times of participants to try to understand the spatial representations of si ghted and blind individuals in situations without visual input. Participants learned the configuration of a mentally constructed island using either verbal or haptic cues (obtained through touch). Each participant had a small metal disk (50 cm in diameter) to hold as a reference for the size of his/her mentally constructed island. Participants were told that their island had six features around its edge: harbor, lighthouse, creek, hut, beach, and cave. Participants in the verbal condition had the disk taken away from them after they were familiar with its size. These participants had the landmarks described to them in relation to the number on experimenters put 6 magnets around the edge of the disk to act as the landmarks. The
3 the landmark it represented. For this condition, the experimenters did not use any verbal cues for the location of the magnet landmarks, nor the clock face referencing. In both conditions participants had the island explained to them three times or until they could correctly identify all of the landmarks and their locations. For the test, participants were told to i magine their island; they would then hear either the name of a landmark on the island (ex: harbor) or a word that did not represent a landmark on the island (ex: dock). Participants were instructed to visualize scanning their island for the landmark. If th e cue stood for a landmark on the island, they should press a button with their dominant hand; and if the word was not on the island, they should press a different button with their non dominant hand. This was done six times and the experimenters recorded reaction times. Both sighted and late blind participants performed well in both conditions; the data were similar enough that it appeared that similar processing mechanisms were being applied to the spatial representations of both groups. However, the congenitally blind participants showed completely different patterns in the data; while they did reach the learning criteria, it did not appear that they could construct a spatial representation of a small scale configuration in which distanc es were consistently represented. based on locomotion. The participants were once again divided into two conditions, verbal or locomotor. The same scanning paradigm was used except that this time participants were immersed in a real environment large enough to permit locomotion. The experimenters used a virtual reality (VR) platform to creat e auditory scenes with
4 which participants could interact. Participants were led into a room and walked around it so they would know its size and shape. Participants in the verbal condition were then seated in a pre placed chair and were told their position as it related to the numbers on a clock. When a sound played from around the room, participants were to mentally place the sounds at hour placed standing in the center of the room. When they heard a sound, they were to walk to the perceived location of the sound source; no verbal cues (ex: clock face) were given. The test was the same as the previous test: participants were led to a small room and told to mentally review the learned envi ronment and the position of each sound source. Participants heard a sound that was either in or not in the learned environment and had to press a button with their dominant/non dominant hand accordingly. The results were as the experimenters expected: the sighted and late blind participants looked similar in the verbal condition; participants in both groups took longer to review locomotor information than verbal information. The congenitally blind participants were superior in the locomotor task compared to the late blind and sighted participants. These data support the idea that blind individuals have accurate spatial representations when they have access to locomotor (movement) and haptic (touch) stimuli. Picard and Pry (2009) found that models are importa nt in the developing of cognitive maps in people with visual impairments. For this study, the experimenters had 10 participants with visual impairments explore with their hands a model of the town that they lived in and then tested them on the accuracy of their mental mapping. The participants first answered a questionnaire about their vision and rated their confidence in traveling in a variety of contexts: at home, on local streets, in a new environment, on a
5 sidewalk, in a tramway, and crossing a busy roa d. All participants were blind or were familiar with the city. The experimenters built a three dimensional small scale model of the old town center of Montpellier. Thi s model included main streets, green areas, fountains, and 21 museum). The buildings were made out of clay with spikes on the functional buildings to distinguish them from the cultural buildings. Felt was used for green areas and small plastic circles represented fountains. The participants went through three sessions: a pretest, a test, and a retest with one week between each session. At all of the test sessions ( pretest, test, and retest), participants were tested on two tasks of spatial configuration knowledge (modeling and recognition) and two tasks of spatial route knowledge (route distance and wayfinding). Participants were tactilely exposed to the model for 3 minutes before the tests; each test consisted of four trials. For the modeling task, participants had to locate as accurately as possible the location of three designated buildings on the model. Participants were awarded one point for each correct placeme nt of a building within a circle with a diameter of 5 centimeters; there was a maximum score of three points per trial. In the recognition task, participants tactilely explored a trio of buildings on the model and indicated whether or not the locations of the buildings were correct; if any of the locations of the buildings was incorrect, participants had to indicate which of the buildings were in the wrong place. Participants were awarded one point for each correct answer for a maximum score of three points per trial. Participants had to evaluate route distances between a designated building and three other alternatives during the route
6 distance task. Participants verbally ranked route distances by length, from the longest to the shortest route. For the wayf inding task, participants had to think of and voice the shortest distance between a designated starting building and the final arrival point. They also had to verbally indicate the correct intermediate building involved in the pathway among three alternati ve buildings. During the pretest session, participants were assessed for baseline knowledge of the area with the tests of spatial configuration knowledge and spatial route knowledge. At the end of the pretest, participants had a 5 minute tactile exposure to the model where they could touch the model, ask questions, and have the experimenter identify buildings, roads, or green spaces. distance scores increased significantly from pret est to test as well as between test and the performance level of the other scores only at retest. Wayfinding scores hit a ceiling, as did recognition scores at rete knowledge of the area prior to exposure to the model. The difference in performance scores between the tasks suggests that test of spatial configuration knowledge are complimentary rather than interch angeable; the fact that participants scored lower in the modeling task than they scored in the recognition task may be attributed to the complexity of the former task. Because of the overall increase in scores from pretest to test and then retest, however, exposure to a small scale model is an effective way to enhance the spatial knowledge of blind and low vision adults, regardless of their level of visual impairment.
7 People with severe visual impairmen ts use sound as well as touch to navigate the world. Vernat and Gordon (2010) gathered some insight into how blind people use interceptive abilities while using soun d to navigate. Three of the participants were congenitally blind and three participants were severely visually impaired, but all participants wore opaque black eye masks to block out all possible light. The experimenters opted to use the indirect intercept ion paradigm; in this paradigm, participants roll a target object (in this case, a ball) to meet another target (another ball) some distance away. Participants use echolocation sound cues from the echoes of objects in the environment to anticipate the targ et object before rolling their own target to meet it. The indirect interception paradigm allows for assessment of changes in the interceptor. The experimenters built an apparatus that had three major sections: the Target Launch track, the Target Rolling track, and the Interceptor Launch track. The Target Launch Track had three branches for three launch points; this allowed for three different rolling speeds. In this appa ratus, the Interceptor Launch track was perpendicular to the Target Rolling track. Participants launched their interceptor balls from the Interceptor Launch track in response to the sounds of the target ball being launched from one of the three Target Laun ch points; the farther away the launch point from the Target Rolling track, the greater the speed reached by the target ball. The slope of the Target Track was approximately 27. The experimenters discovered that participants performed fairly well througho ut with the accuracy of the interception actions within a few hundred milliseconds. Unsurprisingly, participants tended to perform better when they rolled the
8 slight ly better when the target was going at a moderate speed and was producing high intensity echoes. This research suggests that blind people use localized sound and echoic information to locate and respond to targets in their immediate environment. The experiences of blind people also affect brain development. There are data to suggest that there is a significant difference in the spatial reasoning of and hippocampal size of blind individuals compared to sighted individuals (Fortin, Voss, Lord, Lasso nde, Pruessner, Saint Amour, Rainville, & Lepore, 2008). Thirty eight participants were gathered and divided into three groups: early blind (people who lost their vision before the age of five), late blind (people who lost their vision after 14 years of ag e), and a control group of blindfolded, sighted individuals. Participants had to complete a route learning task and two maze tasks. For the first maze task, participants had to learn a series of routes in a human sized experimental labyrinth setting. An ex perimenter guided a participant through the maze on a specific route; the experimenter walked in front of the participant and used voice cues to lead the participant. The participant was free to explore the walls of the labyrinth with his/her hands. After the participant had been led through the maze, he/she was brought back to the beginning of the labyrinth and asked to walk the same path through the maze. The experimenter walked behind the participant and made note of any errors made by the participant. W henever the participant made a choice error, the experimenter re placed him/her so that he/she was facing the right direction, but with different numbers of directio nal choices ranging from easy (six choices) to hard (12 choices).
9 The second task in the labyrinth was a pointing task: participants were brought to three different points in the labyrinth and were asked to point as precisely as possible towards the starti ng point or the last pointing position. For the third task, the spatial layout task, participants explored a layout in a smaller room that was adjacent to the maze. After exploring the layout at their leisure, they were asked to touch five small models of possible layouts of the room and pick the correct small scale model; this task was completed for an easy and a difficult layout. The experimenters also used MRI (m agnetic resonance imaging ) to measure hippocampal size and volume of all the participants. Th e experimenters found that the blind participants significantly out performed the sighted participants in the maze tasks with the least and most directional choices (six choices and 12 choices). They also found that the blind participants did significantly better than the sighted participants in the spatial layout task: they identified the correct small scale model on average 25 times out of a possible 32, while the sighted participants only identified the correct small scale model 18 times. However, there were no differences between the blind and sighted participants in the pointing task; both groups deviated from the correct spot by less than 90 degrees, on average. They also compare d to the sighted individuals T his difference was specifically in the anterior (head) of the hippocampus. This area is thought to be related to visuo spatial memory. The data suggest that blind people are better than sighted people at understanding and enc oding spatial information when only idiothetic cues (cues from the maze path) are available, perhaps due to superior spatial navigational abilities or increased use of memory functions.
10 The blind are capable of accurate spatial representations (Afonso et a l., 2010) and use sound or touch to correctly interpret the world around them (Picard & Pry, 2009; Vernat & Gordon, 2010). However, despite the various strengths of visually impaired people, visual entertainment has not fully been adapted to suit their str engths and address their needs. Visual media can and should be better adapted to include these strengths in an effort to bridge the deficit in enjoyment and understanding that is caused by loss of vision. One method that exists today to create equivalent e xperiences for those with disabilities is Universal Design Theory. Universal Design Theory Universal design theory got its start in the late 20 th century as the average life span increased and more people were living with disabilities. Universal design th eory is founded on the idea of making buildings, products, experiences, and environments that are inherently accessible to and used by both people with disabilities and people without (where accessible features were segregated for those with disabilities from those without disabilities) was determined to be too costly and not beneficial to the entire population. Universal Design Theory focuses on seven principles that are meant to be us ed by people seeking to create equivalent experiences for those with and without disabilities. The Principles of Universal Design were conceived and developed by The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University (NC State University, The C enter for Universal Design, 1997). The seven Principles of Universal Design are as follows (for full list of principles and guidelines, see Appendix A): 1. Equitable Use
11 2. Flexibility in Use 3. Simple and Intuitive Use 4. Perceptible Information 5. Tol erance for Error 6. Low Physical Effort 7. Size and Space for Approach and Use Some examples of products that were designed for people with disabilities but are used by all and were created using The Principles of Universal design are lever handles for ope ning doors rather than twisting knobs, sidewalk ramps, and volume controls on auditory output. For people with visual impairments, things like buttons and other controls that can be distinguished by touch; instructions that present material orally as well as visually; and signs with light on dark visual contrast are all examples of things reimagined with the principles of Universal Design Theory in mind. Universal Design Theory is a large proponent of adapting aesthetic, as well as practical, elements of th e modern world to better suit a population with diverse abilities. Visual Media Adapted for the Blind Audio for the Blind. Thanks largely in part to Universal Design Theory, some forms of visual media are being adapted for blind consumers. Audio descripti on, sound effects, and narration, in addition to the normal audio of a television program or movie, are integral in enhancing the understanding of visually impaired audiences. With the addition of these sound oriented aides, blind audiences can gleam as mu ch information from some visually presented media as sighted individuals. To this end, Peli, Fine, and Labianca (1996) conducted an experiment to determine the importance of audio
12 description to visually impaired consumers. The experimenters gathered 78 pa rticipants who were 55 years old and older. The participants were divided into three groups: low vision, normal vision, and those whose vision was unrelated to the current study and therefore not recorded. Participants in the low and normal vision groups w atched several segments of two different television programs, a mystery show and a nature documentary, with both the normal audio of the program and with additional audio description. Immediately after each segment, participants were asked questions that p ertained to that segment. The audio description of the program described visual details that people with visual impairments would ordinarily miss out on; for example, the audio description might give physical details of the characters or description of the landscapes on the television. Participants in the third group heard the normal audio of the two programs but did not see the programs themselves. The participants watched and/or heard the segments of the television programs and were interrupted on occasio n to answer questions about the content. The questions were two alternative forced choice questions that were designed to test whether a visual detail described by DVS (Descriptive Video service) was noticed or unnoticed by the participant. An example of t his is hearing the faced, gray haired woman. She glances the woman had many wrinkles or a smooth face. There were approx imately 50 questions per television program. The mean percentages of correct answers were as follows: in the normal vision group, 79.4 for the nature program and 87.3 for the mystery program; in the low vision group 69.8 (nature program) and 73.0 (mystery program) and for the audio only group,
13 54.1 (nature program) and 55.0 (mystery program). While all participants did better than chance, those with normal vision performed the best and those who only heard the audio performed the worst; this suggests that while not all of the visual information was contained in the audio description, enough was there that the participants with low vision benefited from it. The experimenters also indicated that they had collected some data that suggested that some portions o f the audio description were redundant, however they did not specify what kind of data this was or how it was collected. They suggest that the time spent on redundancies could be better used to describe elements of the programs that visually impaired viewe rs and blind audiences are unable to obtain elsewhere. Some of the redundancy of audio description can be blamed on the style of narration. Presently, third person narration is the most common style of narration in video description. Fels, Udo, Diamond, an d Diamond (2006) found that first person narration should be explored as an alternative to the standard third person narration in video description for the visually impaired. The experimenters recruited blind and sighted participants to listen to the audio description of a television program in both first and third person narration. In the first person narration style, the main character provides a first person oral account of the important visual concepts in the episode; the main character narrates in the past tense and includes subjective and emotional tones that are expected of the character. In comparison, third person narration involves inserting accurate Described Video Information (DVI) as close to the visual equivalent as possible, without subjective or emotional responses. The experimenters administered both pre and post viewing questionnaires to participants who watched four clips from a television show. They found that while blind individuals did enjoy the first person narrative more
14 than they enj oyed the third person narrative, they were also suspicious of it. Participants were unsure of the accuracy of description and felt that the audio description might be leaving out important information. While participants enjoyed the intimate storytelling n ature of first person narration, they disliked the possibility of hearing information that first person narrative would be best suited for comedy and drama. The researc hers concluded that since many participants were intrigued by first person narration, it should be further explored as an alternative to third person narration. This is an example of how the wants, as much as the needs, of visually impaired people are now being studied. Also important is the style of audio description for live visual productions. Udo and Fels (2009) summarized conventional and alternative audio description methods for describing a live theater production. Audio description is the descripti on of visually important information for blind and vision impaired audiences during pauses in the dialogue of performance pieces. This description gives visually impaired audiences better access to visual entertainment. Conventional audio description relie s mainly on anecdotal evidence; the describer must interpret and explain visual action and objects using descriptive language. This method focuses on what is seen by the audience and often ntrating on specific pieces that are visible to the audience, the describer may prevent blind audience members from being able to suspend their disbelief because the description reinforces their dependence on and lack of access to visual stimuli. Conventio nal audio description does not present blind audiences with an equal experience to that of a sighted audience. Alternative approaches to audio description have the describer using a subjective,
15 emotional style to describe the feeling behind the stage layou t, the movements of the actors, and the interaction between the two. Udo and Fels make the point that while the research on the effectiveness of live audio description on audiences is decidedly limited, production of Hamlet and an audio describer to create, develop, and perform an alternative audio description that would remain true to th entertaining to the audience, use dialogue that is stylistically consistent, provide another avenue for audience members to find meaning in the play, and be incorporated seamlessly into the experience. While they did not co llect quantitative data from audience members, the authors assert that this approach is feasible and encourage others to attempt it. Audio description is only one option for making the visual media experiences of blind individuals similar to that of sighte d individuals; it is also possible to present a clear storyline solely through sound by employing sound effects, sound processing, and surround sound. Lopez and Pauletto (2009) wanted to develop an audio film that could be an alternative to audio descripti on for blind consumers. The audio film would eliminate the need of visual elements and of a describer by providing information solely through sound, sound processing, and spatialization. To create an audio film, the experimenters focused on many issues. Th e experimenters had to create soundmarks, a type of sound signify the inside of a house). The experimenters had to create sounds that would describe character obje ct interactions; they had to broadcast internal sounds and
16 utterances; and they used music to help set the scene for blind audiences. The experimenters processed the sound so that it would seem as if it were coming through glass or from another room to fit in with the actions of the characters in the storyline. To test the effectiveness of the audio film which had no visual aids, 13 sighted participants were asked to listen to the film and then complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire asked questions con cerning plot understanding, clarity of the audio film, the recognition of different characters, and the recognition of spaces and sound sources. A majority of the participants were able to summarize the plot accurately, and the main characters were recogni zed by all participants. The spaces that were best recognized were those that had either soundmarks or sound effects typically related with the space. Using sound effects and processing, the audio film was successfully understood by most of the participant s; it is clear that the field of audio films for the visually disabled has a lot of potential for future research. Video games are another traditionally visual form of entertainment that is being updated so that visually impaired people can actively partic ipate. Sanchez and Lumbreras (1999) found that blind children can successfully navigate a 2D spatial environment with the use of 3D sound. Sanchez and Lumbreras developed AudioDoom, a type of computer software that enables blind children to interact with v irtual worlds through 3D aural representations of the space. The experimenters had two goals they wanted to accomplish blind children as well as to demonstrate that 3D auditory experiences can be successfully used to help blind children render spatial representations of 2D spaces. AudioDoom uses Hyperstory, a story that occurs in a hypermedia environment. Hyperstory is an interactive
17 story guided by an intentional argum entative structure. The plot is not linear; the child can use action, objects, and dialog to change the outcome in the plot of the story. The participants were familiarized with the AudioDoom program over several sessions. The game somewhat resembles the class game Doom; the story is about the protagonist (manipulated by the child in first person representation) trying to save the world from an extraterrestrial invasion. The children must navi gate a set of perpendicular corridors inside a flying craft and interact with virtual objects like monsters, barricades, and windows. Children respond to the position of the sound by using a joystick to navigate through the corridors. After familiarization with the game, the experimenters asked seven blind children, 7 to 11 Lego blocks. The Lego blocks were assigned as representations of certain objects: long blocks were used to represent part of the corridor, small cubes represented monsters, and the smallest blocks represented the box of bullets. By the last familiarization session, the children were successfully recreating the AudioDoom environment using the Lego blocks. The e xperimenters concluded that blind children can successfully navigate a 2D spatial environment using the cues from 3D sound. Another way in which sound is being used to aid visually impaired people is in navigation of and access to museum exhibits. Landau, Weiner, Naghshineh, and Giusti (2005) created a user activated, sound based navigation system for visually impaired museum patrons ( Ping! ). Landau, a sighted inventor, created Ping! along with the input of a blind museum access expert. The concept was ins pired by the challenges in navigating open spaces without familiar landmarks or audio cues faced by visually
18 impaired people; the essentiality of cell phones by those with visual impairments; and how wayfinding in complex exhibit spaces is based on environ mental information. The Ping! navigational system by people with visual impairments. To use Ping! while at a museum, visually impaired patrons call a toll free phone num ber using a mobile phone and interact with a computerized, human voiced narrator; Ping! can accommodate up to 3 users at a time. Participants first choose a unique noise from the available sounds (chirps, whistles, etc); once a certain noise has been chose n, it is removed from the bank of available noises and cannot be chosen by another participant while it is in use. The participants make all choices by pressing buttons on their phone or by verbally communicating their selection. Participants select a dest ination from a list that is presented aurally over the phone; destinations are presented from nearest to the participant to farthest away. Once a destination is chosen, participants press a button to activate their unique Ping! sound; the sound comes from a wireless beacon at the requested destination. The participants use the sound cues to navigate to their destination; they indicate their arrival by pressing another button on their mobile phone. Once at the desired destination, participants receive audio description of the exhibit content, including the physical layout of the exhibit, a discussion on the concepts presented, and directions for interaction with the exhibit. At the end of the experience, participants are asked to participate in a customer sur vey, also conducted over the phone. The experimenters tested a total of 12 participants (in 4 groups of 3 participants each) on their use of Ping! All of the participants used phones provided by the experimenters to navigate the museum exhibits during normal operating hours among
19 normal museum patrons. All of the participants were able to successfully follow their Ping! sounds to reach the destinati on they were seeking and once there, interact with exhibit components. The presence of other museum guests did not affect the participants and the use of Ping! by the participants did not adversely affect other museum goers. Eight of the 12 participants ra ted their experience as excellent or good, and none of the participants rated it as being very disappointing. The creation and use of Ping! is an example of combining modern technology with the skills of visually impaired people to make visual experiences accessible to those with visual impairments. The Role of Touch in Visual Entertainment for the Blind. Juricevic (2009) argued that visual art can and should be translated into tactile art for an equivalent experience. He claimed that if an aesthetic experi ence is determined by the interaction between the characteristics of the input and the characteristics of the observer then it may be possible to produce the same or similar aesthetic experience in two different observers with different observer characteri stics, if you manipulate the characteristics of the input. An example Juricevic provided was for color; he named contrast and saturation of color as the manipulative characteristics of the input. Juricevic pin pointed the sensitivities of the color channel as the characteristics of the observer. He asserted that that it is possible to produce equivalent experiences in people with different sensitivities by changing the qualities of the colors so that they would appear the same to people. Juricevic cites evi dence that suggests that vision and touch share the same type of mechanisms for spatial perception. For example, drawings by the blind and sighted show that both use lines to represent edges and that both groups use proper linear perspective (Kennedy, 1993 1997; Kennedy & Juricevic, 2006); he also cited neurological data that
20 shows that touch can activate visual cortex areas (Blake, Sobel, & James, 2004; Merabet et al., 2004). Juricevic contended that the possibility of creating an equivalent aesthetic exp erience depends on determining and changing the characteristics of the input and the observer and how they interact. He admits that the major limitation is that it is likely that some things would still be lost in translation, but that the implication of o pening up a world of art to visually impaired and blind people is too great to ignore. The importance of touch in the understanding and enjoyment of visual media is a topic that is still being explored; with this in mind, Udo and Fels (2010) conducted a s tudy to examine the feasibility of applying museum based touch tours for blind and low vision guests to visually impaired audience members in a theater. The researchers worked e a touch tour to an audio described performance of Hamlet The experimenters hypothesized that tactile familiarization of the set, costumes, and props would enhance understanding and enjoyment of the play, and supplement audio description that is often in complete. All of the participants in this experiment were blind or classified as being low vision. An hour prior to the performance, participants in the touch tour were given an introduction to the play by the theater manager. They were allowed to touch ce rtain props and costumes and were able to go on stage to explore the set. Participants were given a pre tour and post tour questionnaire that was aimed at discovering what expectations participants had of a touch tour, if the tour was effective at engaging blind and low vision audience members in the play, and if the touch tour enhanced the overall theatergoing experience. Participants had many different expectations of the touch tour but most expected that the tour would be helpful; 21 out of the 24 indivi duals reported in the post
21 appreciation of the play. The success of this experiment introduces the idea that a touch tour can be used to enhance the theatergoing expe rience for blind and low vision individuals. The Current Study Unfortunately, the previous study was a feasibility study: there was no control group whose scores could be compared to the scores obtained by participants in the touch tour and they did not co llect objective data about the effectiveness of the touch tour. The current study focused on collecting quantitative data to support the claims of the research conducted by Udo and Fels (2010) which suggests that a touch tour can be used to enhance the the ater experience of visually impaired people. By using both an experimental group as well as a control group, the current study was able to examine any differences in the theater experience of visually impaired participants. Visually impaired as well as nor mally sighted people were recruited to participate in the study. All participants attended a play at a local theater and two of the participants also participated in a touch tour before the play. During the touch tour, the participants had the plot of the play explained and were allowed to explore the set and touch props and costumes; the significance of the props as well as the layout of the stage was also explained. The quantitative data were collected by the means of two questionnaires administered inter view style over the phone. The first questionnaire examined theater and movie attending habits of the participants, among other things. The post questionnaire looked for any effects of the touch tour on enjoyment and understanding of the play. Because it i s known that visually impaired people are capable of accurate spatial
22 representations (Fortin et al., 2008) and that they use locomotion and tactile familiarity with small scale models to do so (Afonso et al, 2010; Picard & Pry, 2009), and because of the r esearch conducted by Udo and Fels (2010) that found that participants considered enhance the theater experience of visually impaired people. It was hypothesized that parti cipants who participated in the touch tour would report more enjoyment of the play, a better understanding of the play, and would be more likely to attend other plays. Experiment 1 Method Participants. A total of six participants started this experiment ( three visually impaired adults and three sighted adults). Each of the visually impaired participants was assigned to one of three groups (control, touch tour, and question and answer). However, only four participants completed the entire study and the ques tion and answer group was eliminated. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 57 years old; the sighted touch tour participant declined to provide her age. Gender was evenly divided: there was one male and one female per group; the male was the visually imp aired participant in both the touch tour and the control group. Only the blind control participant has been visually impaired since birth; the blind touch tour participant as well as the blind Q&A participant lost their vision as adults. Participants were recruited through the snowball method: two local organizations that work with people with visual impairments were contacted about participation in this study. Both organizations informed their members about this project; interested parties contacted the e xperimenter about participating in this study. Each visually impaired
23 participant brought a sighted companion to act as a guide; these sighted companions served as the sighted participants in this study. Visually impaired participants were randomly assigne d to one of the two conditions (touch tour or control); sighted participants were yoked (they acted as guides to the visually impaired participants and so were assigned to the group of their partner). Each group had one visually impaired adult and one sigh ted adult. Materials. There were a total of four different versions of two questionnaires for the participants; the pre and post questionnaires were slightly different for each group (sighted touch tour, blind touch tour, sighted control, and blind contro l). Pre questionnaire. Section 1 of the pre questionnaires (Appendix B) asked participants to rate their familiarity with the plot of the play. Responses were measured using a Likert scale from 1 ( Strongly Agree ) to 5 ( Strongly Disagree ). Section 1 also as ked how often participants attend the theater for visual events and to indicate from the list provided all of the reasons that they attend and do not attend the theater. Participants in the touch tour condition were asked if they had ever participated in a touch tour session at either a museum or a theater (Appendix C). Section 2 of the pre questionnaire asked all participants to supply basic demographic information (Appendix D); in addition, the questionnaires for visually impaired participants included t wo questions about the cause of and length of time for their vision impairments (Appendix E). In addition, all questionnaires included a 10 item social desirability scale (Appendix F); possible scores ranged from 0 to 10. The social desirability scale used was a shortened version of the Marlow Crowne scale (Strahan & Gerbasi, 1972).
24 Post questionnaire. The post questionnaire asked all participants to rate their enjoyment of the play, their perceived understanding of the play, and the positivity of the over all experience (Appendix G). In addition, the participants in the touch tour group were asked to rate their enjoyment of the touch tour, their perceived inclusion in the touch tour, and the likelihood of attending another play if a touch tour was or was no t provided (Appendix H), while the participants in the control group were asked to rate the likelihood of attending another play (Appendix I). All of the above questions were answered using a Likert scale from 1 ( Strongly agree ) to 5 ( Strongly disagree ). T he post questionnaire also contained 15 content questions (Appendix J) designed to test how well participants understood and could remember specific elements of the play (ex: the name of the main character, the ending of the play). Scoring. The questions on the questionnaire that were answered using a Likert scale were all scored from 1 ( Strongly agree ) to 5 ( Strongly disagree ). The social desirability scale (Appendix F) had a possible minimum score of 0 and a possible maximum score of 10; participants wer e given one point for each question that they answered in a socially desirable manner. High scores indicated that participants answered the questions in a socially desirable way while low scores indicated that participants answered the questions more truth fully. The content question score was the sum of the correct answers provided by participants. Questions 1 3, 5 13, and 15 on the content questions (Appendix J) were each worth 1 point, question 4 was worth 6 points, and question 14 was worth 3 points. Ea ch correct answer was worth 1 point; the minimum possible score was 0 and the maximum possible score was 28.
25 Procedure. Communication with the participants was established 2 to 4 weeks before the date of the play. In the week before the play, all participa nts were called to be pre interviewed; the pre questionnaire was conducted as a structured interview over the participants were also informed as to what group they were in and what they would be doing on the day of the play. On the day of the play, the participants in the touch tour group arrived at the theater for the touch tour two hours prior to the start of the play. These participants were met by the experimenter and the stage manager; the stage manager led the tour while the experimenter observed. The stage manager had been told the purpose of the tour and had been instructed on specific details that were to be incorporated (the explanation and touching of the costume s, set, etc). However, the stage manager did not have a script; she was in charge of leading the tour and devised the exact methodology of the tour itself. The touch tour began with a brief overview of the plot of the play, explained by the stage manager; participants were allowed to ask questions during this time. After the explanation of the plot, the stage manager escorted the participants and the experimenter backstage where costumes were hung up and props were arranged. Participants were encouraged to touch the costumes and props that were available while the stage manager described their appearance as well as their significance in the play. There were multiple stations that held props and costumes and participants interacted with them all. When the pa rticipants had finished with the props and costumes, they were led on stage by the stage manager; she described the appearance of the stage as well as the functions of the pieces on stage. Participants walked around the perimeter of the stage and touched t he
26 doors and doorways while the stage manager explained their significance to the play. Participants were able to touch the borders of the stage (the walls and floor that were built for the play) and interacted with the furniture on stage (they sat on the chair and couch, spun the globe, etc). The stage manager also shared some secrets of the stage design with the participants; for example, participants learned that all of the art on the stage was made by the set department for the play. Participants were e ncouraged to ask questions throughout the tour and there was a nearly constant dialogue between the stage manager and the participants; the entire tour took about 30 minutes. 1 At the conclusion of the touch tour, participants were released for the remaining time before the play started with instructions to return to the lobby of the theater 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the play; the participants in the control group had been given the same instructions. The participants and the experimenter were seated together in one row and all of the participants were seated before the play began. All participants stayed for the entirety of the play; the play lasted approximately 100 minutes. Before participants were released, they were asked to not intent ionally do anything that would strengthen their memory of the event: discussing the play, researching the play, and/or quizzing themselves or each other on details of the play. All participants were given the post questionnaire within 24 hours of one anoth er, 4 or 5 days after the play. The post questionnaire was administered as a structured 1 To determine whether touch, rather than additional information, was aiding understanding of enjoyment of the play, and anticipated attendance of future plays, originally two participants were assigned to a question and answer (Q&A) condition. Participants in the Q&A condition were to be present during the touch tour and to have access to the same verbal information as the participants in the touch tour. Unlike the touch tour participants however, the Q&A participants would not have been allowed to walk the stage or touch the costumes or props. Unfortunately, due to participant attrition the day of the performance, this group was dropped from analysis.
27 interview over the phone in the same fashion as the pre questionnaire. At the end of their interview participants were thanked for their involvement and asked if they w anted to be notified of results at the end of the experiment; all participants did want to be contacted again when results had been analyzed. Results and Discussion The pre questionnaires were completed by all 6 of the initial participants. However, only four participants completed the entire experiment; the participants originally assigned to the touch tour group did not attend the touch tour or the play and did not complete the post questionnaire. To deal with this change, the question and answer group was eliminated and the participants assigned to that group were reassigned to be in the touch tour group for the actual play experience as well as the post questionnai re. For the purposes of analysis, the question and answer group is removed from the post questionnaire data; but it is important to remember that the Q&A group completed the Q&A pre questionnaire but they did the touch tour post questionnaire. Pre questio nnaire. Some interesting results emerged from the pre questionnaire. For example, all of the visually impaired participants cited transportation challenges as one reason that they do not attend the theater more often; none of the sighted participants cited this. Since transportation appears to be a factor in attendance, theaters may want to look into providing transportation if they wish to increase attendance of visually impaired audience members. All of the visually est in a
28 attend the theater; the blind TT 2 participant however attends the th more often than twice a year. Of the touch tour group, neither participant had participated in a touch tour at a museum before; however, the blin d TT participant had participated in a touch tour at a hands on museum. In the Q&A 3 group, the sighted participant had never been to a question and answer session at a museum or theater; again however, the blind participant had been to a Q&A session at a m useum, but not at a theater. This may suggest one of two things: either that visually impaired people are more likely to participate in extra informational events than sighted people; or that these types of informational sessions are more common in museums than it theaters. Future research is necessary to determine if either of these possibilities is true. When asked to indicate from the list of reasons that they do not attend the theater, sighted participants often; they were the only participants to choose this re sponse, but they were also the only college students included in the participant pool. Moreover, the blind control participant also cited difficulty seeing and distance from the stage as another reason that he does not attend the theater. Five of the six participants also scored moderately to very high on the Social Desirability scale (out of a possible score of 10; sighted TT: 10; blind Q&A: 9; sighted 2 Participants labeled as belonging to the touch tour or TT group in the pre questionnaire did not attend the play or complete the post questionnaire. 3 Participants labeled as belonging to the question and answer or Q&A group were reassigned as touch tour or TT in the post questionnaire section; they completed the touch tour before the play, taking the spot of the previously mentioned TT participants.
29 Q&A: 9; blind control: 7; sighted control: 6); the blind TT participant scored quite low (2). While it i s possible that the answers to questions that used the Likert scale (Appendices G, H, and I) were affected by participants answering in a socially desirable way, there were no questions for which a socially desirable answer was obvious. However, most impor tant to this study was the content score and this could not be affected as participants could not answer in a socially desirable way. Post questionnaire. At first glance, the responses to many of the variables looked the same across conditions. All of the Strongly agree (Appendix G). Both of the touch tour participants 4 Strongly agree The sighted touch tour participant seemed the least pleased with the overall experience; all of the participants except for the sighte d touch tour participant chose Strongly agree Agree Agree Strongly agree. Agree Strongly agree Strongly agree 4 These participants were labeled as belonging to the question and answer or Q&A group in the pre questionnaire section; however, they participated in the touch tour and completed the post questionnaire as the touch tour participants.
30 Neither agree nor disagree people visually impaired or normally sighted attending a play, but because this is a case study approach, it is hard to know whether these differences can be attributed to the difference in conditions or to the individual differences in the participants. Most importantly for this study, however, was the content score; the content score indicated how well participants u nderstood and remembered certain elements of the play (plot, characters, set design, etc). Each participant could get a minimum score of 0 and a maximum score of 28 on the content questions. A near ceiling effect was observed for the content questions and the scores for the participants in the touch tour condition were nearly identical to those received by the participants in the control group (visually impaired TT: 24, sighted TT: 21; visually impaired control: 21, sighted control: 24). Any difference seen between the scores is marginal and because of the size of the population, it was undetermined if it was significant. In summary, the results of this study suggest that there may be differences between the control and touch tour conditions. For example, t he visually impaired participant had the same score on the content questions as the sighted control and that score was higher than the one achieved by the blind control participant; this is suggestive of some possible effect of the touch tour on understand ing of the play. The blind touch tour participant was more likely to attend another play than the blind control participant; this is possibly suggestive of an effect of touch tour on projected future attendance of other plays.
31 To determine if the touch tou r rather than individual differences among the participants was affecting understanding, enjoyment, and projected future attendance, a follow up study was completed. An increased sample size was sought to eliminate the possibility of individual differences affecting the collected data. Because of the difficulty obtaining a large sample of visually impaired participants, it was determined that the entire sample would consist of normally sighted participants and that half of the total group would be blindfold ed. Those in the blindfold condition would be blindfolded for the touch tour as well as the play, if they were assigned to the experimental group. To minimize differences among the groups and to learn more about the experience and familiarity of participan ts with touch tours, all participants were given the same pre questionnaire (Appendices B, C, D, and F ). The post questionnaires were also adjusted; participants in the control group all received the same post questionnaire (Appendices K and L) as did the participants in the touch tour group (Appendices K, L, and M) regardless of the vision condition assigned (blindfolded or sighted). In addition, to increase the difficulty and get rid of the ceiling effect seen in Experiment 1, the time between the play a nd the post questionnaire interview was doubled and more content questions were added (Appendix L). The rest of the study design was identical to that of Experiment 1. It was hypothesized that of the blindfolded group, those in the touch tour would have a higher content score and score higher on enjoyment, perceived inclusion, and would have higher projected attendance than those in the control group. Since Universal Design Theory is founded on the idea of equivalent experiences (Appendix A; NC State Unive rsity, The Center for Universal Design, 1997), for a touch tour to be effective there
32 would be no difference seen in the content score, enjoyment, perceived inclusion, and projected future attendance rates between those in the blindfolded touch tour condit ion and both of the sighted conditions (touch tour and control). Experiment 2 Method Participants. For this experiment, 19 sighted college students (9 male, 10 female) between the ages of 18 and 23 participated 5 Participants were recruited by the use of to participate in a thesis experiment that was examining the relationship between theater experience and touch. The email also detailed that all participants would be comp ensated with a free ticket to a play, but stipulated that the offer was valid only for the first 20 people who agreed to participate in the experiment. Interested students were given full details about the experiment; once all participants had been determi ned, each participant was assigned to a condition. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: blindfolded touch tour (participants who were blindfolded and participated in the touch tour in addition to the play); sighted touch tour (partici pants who were not blindfolded and participated in the touch tour in addition to the play); blindfolded control (participants who were blindfolded and attended the play but did not participate in the touch tour); and sighted control (participants who were not blindfolded and attended the play but did not participate in the touch tour). Participants who were assigned to either of the blindfold conditions were blindfolded for the duration of their participation in the 5 Twenty participants completed the pre questionnaire but only 19 went to the play and completed the post questionnaire. One sighted control participant dropped out of the study after the pre questionnaire, and one sighted touch t our participant missed the touch tour and was moved into the sighted control group for the play and post questionnaire. This accounts for the discrepancies in the number of participants per group.
33 experiment: those assigned to the blindfo lded touch tour group were blindfolded for both the touch tour as well as the entirety of the play while participants who were assigned to the blindfolded control group wore their blindfolds for the entire play. Participants were allowed to remove their bl indfolds in the lobby but were not permitted to see the inside of the theater. Each blindfolded participant was matched with a sighted participant who guided them from the lobby to their seat in the theater; in addition, each participant in the touch tour was guided through the tour and around the stage by a sighted participant. Materials and Procedure. The procedure used in Experiment 2 was nearly identical to that which was used in Experiment 1. All of the participants were interviewed within 3 days prior to the play and were interviewed again after the play. However, the time delay between the play and the post interview was increased from 4 to 5 days to 9 days to determine if latency had any effect on the score achieved on the content questions. Pre questionnaire. The questionnaires were updated to reflect the sighted population; all references to vis ual impairments were removed from the demographic from the pre questionnaire in Experiment 1 about previous participation in a touch tour at a museum and a theater were included in this pre questionnaire (Appendix C). To minimize differences between the groups, all participants received the same pre questionnaire (Appendices B, C, D, and F). The Likert scale was reversed for both the pre and post questionnaires (Appendic es K and M) so that Strongly disagree was worth 1 point and Strongly agree was worth 5 points.
34 Post questionnaire. All of the touch tour participants received the same post questionnaire (Appendices K, L, and M); everyone in the control condition received the same post questionnaire as well (Appendices K and L), but it was different than the one content scores in Experiment 1, questions were added to the content secti on of the post questionnaires to increase the difficulty (Appendix L). The number of questions was increased from 15 to 19; the minimum possible score on the content questions was 0 and the maximum possible score was 36. Questions 1 4, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 17 and 19 were each worth 1 point; question 14 was worth 2 points; questions 5 8 and 18 were worth 3 points each; and question 11 was worth 7 points. Results and Discussion The pre questionnaires were completed by all of the participants; however, only 19 participants completed the entire experiment 6 Pre questionnaire. For the purposes of examining the data, the data were divided into the two groups: touch tour and control. Touch Tour Group. There were a total of nine participants in the touch tour group, five of whom were blindfolded. There were five males and four females in this group (three of the females were blindfolded). In section 1 (Appendix K), participants were asked to rate their familiarity with the plot on a 1 to 5 scale with 1 indicating extreme unfamiliarity, 5 indicating extreme familiarity, and 3 as being neither familiar nor unfamiliar with the plot. The average score for all of the touch tour participants was 1.85 which ind icated a high degree of unfamiliarity with the plot of the play (average for 6 Twenty participants completed the pre questionnaire. See fifth footnote of document (located on page 29) for details.
35 blindfolded participants: 2.2; for sighted participants: 1.5). Eight of the nine participants in this group reported going to the theater infrequently (ex: once every month or few months) while one participant reported attending the theater as often as possible. The results for movie theater attendance were similar: all nine participants reported seeing a movie in a movie theater infrequently (ex: once a month, several times a year etc). When asked to indicate reasons that they attend the theater, all of the participants 7 When asked for reasons that they might not attend the theater, the most commonly in dicated answer was tend the theater and one mid range (4.6; average for blindfolded: 4.2; average for sighted: 5); this su ggests that participant whose score was low (2) and one whose score was high (8). None of the participants had ever participated in a touch tour in either a museum or a theater, which suggests either that these events are not very common or that sighted people in this age range are not motivated to participate in these events. 7
36 Control Group. There were a total of 11 participants 8 in the control group, five of whom were blindfolded. Six of the participants were female and five were male (the blindfolded group was entirely female and there was only one female in the sighted group). In section 1 (Appendix K), the average score for plot familiarity was 2.185, indicating tha t participants were familiar, but not strongly so, with the plot (average for blindfolded participants: 2.2; for sighted participants: 2.17). Only one participant reported going to the theater more than once a month and none of the participants reported an attendance rate higher than once a month when referring to movie theaters. When asked to indicate reasons that they attend the theater, eight of the eleven show. For the participants who selected other, one person cited having a student play pass as in those found in the touch tour group were found for those in the control group when participants were asked for the reasons that they might not attend the theater. A maj ority data found in the touch tour group and in Experiment1 and suggests that price and personal schedule are important reasons that affect attendance at theaters. O nly one 8 Da ta were collected from 11 participants for this group, due to participant error. See fifth footnote of document located on page 29 for details.
37 average on the social desi rability measure (Appendix F) was moderately low (2.85; average for blindfolded: 3; average for sighted: 2.7); one participant scored a zero and none of the participants had a score higher than five. This means that the participants in the control group we re not likely to answer the questionnaire questions in a socially desirable manner. Four of the participants had participated in a touch tour at a museum (three of these participants were in the blindfold condition) and one participant, also in the blindfo ld condition, had participated in a touch tour at a theater. This goes against the finding in the touch tour group and suggests that perhaps touch events are more common than is usually thought. Post questionnaire. Once again, data were broken down into the two main groups (touch tour and control) for analysis. Touch Tour. In the first section of the post questionnaire (Appendix K), participants were asked to rate their enjoyment of the play on a 1 to 5 scale with 1 indicating that they extremely did n ot enjoyed it, 5 indicating that they extremely enjoyed the touch tour participants was 4.15 which indicated a high degree of enjoyment of the play among partici pants (average for blindfolded participants: 3.8, for sighted participants: 4.15). In the same section participants were asked to rate their perceived understanding of the play; the average score for the touch tour participants was 4.6, indicating that par ticipants felt that they understood the play extremely well (average for blindfolded participants: 4.2, for sighted participants: 5). However, when asked to rate how confusing they found the action on stage, the average for sighted participants was
38 1.25, w hich indicated that they did not find the action on stage confusing at all, while the average for blindfolded participants was 3.4, indicating that they were approximately halfway between agreeing and neither agreeing nor disagreeing that they found they a ction on stage confusing. The average score for perceived inclusion was 3.35 (blindfolded: 3.2, sighted: 3.5), which again indicated that participants were approximately halfway between agreeing and neither agreeing nor disagreeing that they felt included positivity of the experience was 3.8 (blindfolded: 3.6, sighted: 4) which demonstrated that they felt that the experience was positive but not extremely so. Participants were also assessed for any increased frequency in their theater attendance habits after their question; in other words participants were between agreeing and neither agreeing nor di sagreeing that they would attend plays more frequently after this experience. However, the sighted participants were slightly more likely to increase their theater frequency than the blindfolded participants (blindfolded mean: 3.6, sighted mean: 4); partic ipants indicated that the blindfolds were uncomfortable, so it is possible that this could explain the difference. When asked about their experience participating in the touch tour (Appendix M), overall participants rated their enjoyment on the touch tour 4.2 (blindfolded: 4.4, sighted: 4) which signified that they enjoyed the touch tour but not extremely so. Participants ean score for this was 3.325 which indicated that, overall, the participants were approximately halfway between agreeing and
39 neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the statement. However, the mean of the blindfolded participants was 4.4 which indicated that they agreed, almost strongly, with the statement, while the mean of the sighted participants was 2.25, demonstrating that they almost disagreed with the statement. When asked to rate their agreement with the would not increase how often participants att end the theater. For full list of participant means on every post questionnaire variable, see Figures 1 4. Control. In section 1 of the post questionnaire (Appendix K), participants were asked to rate their enjoyment of the play on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 i ndicating that they extremely enjoyed it, 1 indicating that they extremely did not enjoy it, and 3 as being that (blindfolded: 4, sighted: 4.17) which indicated that a ll of the control participants enjoyed the play. When asked how well they understood the play and how confusing they found the action on stage, participants answered pretty consistently: they understood the play (total mean: 4.375, blindfolded: 4.25, sight ed: 4.5) and did not find the action confusing (average mean: 2.25). However, it was clear from the mean scores that the blindfolded participants found the play more confusing than did those who were not blindfolded (blindfolded: 3, sighted: 1.5). Particip ants were also asked to rate the extent to which they felt included in the overall experience; the mean was 2.665 (blindfolded: 2.5, sighted: 2.83), indicating that participants were approximately halfway between neither feeling including or feeling not in cluded and feeling not included. When asked if they would
40 consider attending plays more frequently after their participation in this experiment, participants were midway between agreeing and neither agreeing nor disagreeing (overall mean: 3.585). However, the blindfolded participants represented those that agreed with the statement (mean: 4) while the sighted were those that neither agreed nor disagreed (mean: 3.17). This could mean that the novelty of being blindfolded increased questionnaire variable, see Figures 1 4. Blindfolded Control Comparisons. Four independent sample t tests were done to determine if there were any significant differences between those in the control groups perceived inclusion as an audience member, possible increased frequency of attendance of future plays, and the overall positivity of the experience (see Fig ures 1, 3, and 4 for means) No significant differences were found between any of these variables (all of the p values were greater than .05), suggesting that the touch tour had no effect on participants' overall theater experience. Four independent sampl es t tests were done also to di scover any significant difference in enjoyment, perceived inclusion, increase in frequency in future attendance and positivity of the overall experience between those in the blindfolded groups compared to those in the non bl indfolded or sighted groups (see Figures 1 3 and 4 for means) There were no significant differences found between any of these variables in the two groups (all of the p values were greater than .05). This suggests that those who were blindfolded had an experience equivalent to those who were sighted, which might mean that lack of visual cues did not negatively affect the theatergoing experience for these
41 participants. However, since it was not possible to statistically explore any interaction between the se variables, it is not known if the experiences of all of the participants were completely equivalent. However, when a 2 (Touch Tour vs. Control) x 2 (blindfolded vs. sighted) analysis of variance was done to determine if there were any significant diff erences in the content scores participants in each of the four conditions (blindfolded touch tour, sighted touch tour, blindfolded control, and sighted control; see Figure 5), a significant di fference between the groups was detected, F (3, 15)=6.563, p =.005 Post hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean score for those in the blindfolded control condition ( M =16 .5 SD =2.38) was significantly lower than the scores in both the sighted control ( M =27, SD =5.62) and sighted touch tour ( M =26, SD =1.15) conditions. This means that, unsurprisingly, all of the sighted participants did significantly better than did the blindfolded participants who only attended the play. The difference in scores between the blindfolded control condition ( M =16.5 SD = 2.38 ) and the blindfolded touch tour condition ( M =23.4 SD = 3.36 ) was approaching significance ( p =.075), and with a larger sample size, it is possible that significance would have been reached. This indicates that, although it was not seen in this samp le, it is possible that the participating in a touch tour increases understanding of a play for those without visual cues. There were no significant differences found between the scores of the participants in the blindfolded touch tour group ( M =23.4, SD =3. 36) with those in the sighted control ( M =27, SD =5.62) and the sighted touch tour groups ( M =26, SD =1.15). T h e r e w a s a l s o n o d i f f e r e n c e f o u n d b e t w e e n t h e s c o r e s o f t h o s e i n t h e s i g h t e d t o u c h t o u r g r o u p ( M =26, SD =1.15 ) a n d t h o s e i n t h e
42 s i g h t e d c o n t r o l g r o u p ( M =27, SD =5.62 ) If the s e results are true, it makes a case for the continuation of touch tours to increase understanding of patrons with visual impairments. General Discussion. The main goal of the current studies was to explore the role touch plays in the theater experience for adults with visual impairments. To examine this, visually impaired, sighted, and blindfolded participants were able to tactilely explore the stage, the costumes, and the props of a play before attending the play ; this hands on experience is called a touch tour It was hypothesized that those who participated in the touch tour would report more enjoyment of the play, a better understanding of th e play, more positivity of the theater experience, and would be more likely to attend other plays than those who did not participate in the touch tour T his difference was specifically expected between those with visual impairments and those without, and between those who were blindfolded and those who were not. Overall the results indicate that those in the touch tour had a greater understanding of the play but that there were no other significant differences in the theatergoing e xperience when comparing those who participated in the touch tour to those who did not Further research into the role of touch in the visual media experience for those with visual impairments is needed to fully understand the importance of touch to those with visual impairments. Limitations and Implications. The obvious limitations in this study were in the sample obtained; for example, while it was not a small sample, it was not large enough to make generalizations about the greater population. In additi on, all of the participants in the sample obtained in Experiment 2 were normally sighted; this could be also problematic when trying to generalize the results of this experiment. Much is known about the differing abilities of those sighted compared to thos e with visual impairments
43 (Fortin et al., 2008) and the significant differences found on the content score might not be applicable when comparing sighted and visually impaired populations. However, data exists that suggests that late blind people and sight ed people use similar processing mechanisms for making spatial representations (Afonso et al., 2010), so it is possible that the findings of this study can be generalized to the extent of late in life blind populations. The same research suggests that cong enitally blind use different processing mechanisms than sighted or late blind individuals and that congenitally blind individuals depend more on touch; it is possible that congenitally blind individuals would be even more affected by the presence or absenc e of a touch tour. Another limitation was the range in age; participants in Experiment 2 were all between the ages of 18 and 23. It needs to be considered that adults in this age range might respond differently to theater: they might enjoy it more or less and their theater attendance habits might be different than those of other ages. With all of the limitations being taken into consideration, there are still some implications of this study. For example, there was a significant difference found in the cont ent questions between those in the blindfolded touch tour group and those in both the blindfolded and sighted control group. If the blindfolded group can be accurately compared to late in life blind adults, then this suggests that the touch tour increased how well they understood and remembered details of the play. In summary, by comparing the participants in the blindfolded group to those in the sighted group it was determined that there were no significant differences in their experience in terms of how much participants enjoyed the play, how much they felt they understood the play, how positively they viewed the experience, and the frequency at
44 which they would attend plays in the future. While this would ordinarily suggest that the experimenter was succ essful in achieving the goal set forth of making the theater experience equivalent for those with and without sight ( la Universal Design Theory), since no significant differences were found when comparing the experiences of those in the touch tour group to the participants in the control group, it appears that the experiences were equivalent without regard to the touch tour experience. However, significance was found in how well participants understood and remembered details of the play; this was reflecte d in the differences in the content scores among groups. These findings suggest that while people without visual cues do not differ from those with such cues in terms of how they view their overall theatergoing experience, a touch tour has a positive effec t on the overall understanding and remembering of plot, set, and costumes by all those involved. While there are still several steps between the findings of this study and the wide spread availability of a completely equivalent theatergoing experience for those with and without visual impairments, the data collected demonstrated the benefit of a touch tour on overall understanding of the play by all participants. Future research would do well to continue exploration into the benefits of the application of the principles of Universal Design Theory on visual entertainment for those with visual impairments.
45 References Afonso, A., Blum, A., Katz, B. F. G., Tarroux, P, Borst, G., & Denis, M. (2010). Structural properties of spatial representations in blind people: Scanning images constructed from haptic exploration or from locomotion in a 3 D audio virtual environment. Memory & Cognition 38 ( 5 ), 591 604. Fels, D.I., Udo, J. P., Diamond, J. E., & Diam ond, J. I., (2006). A comparison of alternative narrative approaches to video description for animated comedies. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness 295 305. Fortin, M., Voss, P., Lord, C., Lassonde, M., Pruessner, J., Saint Amour, D., Rainville, C. & Lepore, F. (2008). Wayfinding in the blind: larger hippocampal volume and supranormal spatial navigation. Brain 131, 2995 3005. doi: 0.1093/brain/awn250 Howell, C., Modern, T. & Porter, D. Re assessing practice: Visual art, visually impaired people and the web. Juricevic, I. Translating visual art into tactile art to produce equivalent aesthetic experiences (2009). Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 3 (1), 22 27. doi: 10.037/a0014758 Lahav, O. & Mioduser (2008). Construction of cogniti ve maps of unknown spaces using a multi sensory virtual environment for people who are blind. Computers in Human Behavior 24 1139 1155. Landau, S., Weiner, W., Naghshineh, K. and Giusti, El. (2005). Creating accessible science museums with user activate d environment audio beacons (ping!), Assistive Technology 17 133 143.
46 Leporini, B. & Paterno, F. (2008). Applying web usability criteria for vision impaired users: does it really improve task performance? International Journal of Human Computer Intera ction 24 17 47. doi: 10.1080/10447310701771472 Lopez, M. J. and Pauletto, S. (May 2009). The design of an audio film for the visually impaired. Paper presented at the 15 th International Conference on Auditory Display, Copenhagen, Denmark. Peli, E., Fine, E. M., & Labianca, A. T. (1996). Evaluating visual information provided by audio description. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness 378 385. Picard, D. & Pry, R. (2009). Does knowledge of spatial configuration in adults with visual impairments improv e with tactile exposure to a small scale model of their urban environment? Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. Sanchez, J. and Lumbreras, M. (1999). Virtual environment interaction through 3D audio by blind children. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2(2 ), 101 111. 193. The Center for Universal Design (1997). The Principles of Universal Design, Version 2.0. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness 178 183. Udo, J. P. & Fels, D. I. (2009). The development of a new theatrical tradition: Sighted students audio describe school play for a blind and low vision audience. International Journal of Education & the Arts 10 1 27.
47 Udo, J. P. and Fels, D. I.(2010) 'Enhancing the entertainment experience of blind and low vision theatregoers through touch tours', Disability & Society 25 ( 2 ), 231 240 Vernat, J. & Gordon, M. S. (2010). Indirect interception actions by blind and visually impaired perceivers: Echolocation for interceptive actions. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 51 75 83. doi: 10.111/j.1467 9450.2009.00722.x http://www.random.org/lists/
48 Figures Figure 1: Participant mean scores on the post questionnaire variables, Touch Tour group, Experiment 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 Likert scale values Post questionnaire variables Blindfolded Sighted
49 Figure 2: Participant mean scores on the touch tour variables, Touch Tour group, Experiment 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 Enjoy Affect Other plays with TT Other plays without TT Frequency with TT Frequency regardless of TT Likert scale values Touch tour variables Blindfolded Sighted
50 Figure 3: Participant scores on the post questionnaire variables, Control group, Experiment 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 Likert scale values Post questionnaire variables Blindfolded Sighted
51 Figure 4: Participant means on the post questionnaire variables, Touch Tour and Control groups, Experiment 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 Likert scale values Post questionnaire variables Touch Tour Control
52 Figure 5: Participant content score, touch tour v control, Experiment 2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 Blindfold Sighted Content questions score Group Touch Tour Control
53 Appendix A Principles a nd Guidelines for the Use of Universal Design Theory application of the Principles in any form by an individual or organization is separate and distinct from the Principles and does not constitute or imply acceptance or endorsement PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. Guidelines: 1a. Provide the same means of use for all users: identical whenever possible; equivalent when not. 1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users. 1c. Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users. 1d. Make the design appealing to all users. PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. Guidelines: 2a. Provide choice in methods of use. 2b. Accommodate right or left handed access and use. 2c. Facilita te the user's accuracy and precision. 2d. Provide adaptability to the user's pace. PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentratio n level. Guidelines: 3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity. 3b. Be consistent with user expectations and intuition. 3c. Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills. 3d. Arrange information consistent with its importance. 3e. Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.
54 PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. Guidelines: 4a. Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information. 4b. Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings. 4c. Maximize "legibility" of essential information. 4d. Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions). 4e. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations. PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. Guidelines: 5a. Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated, or shielded. 5b. Provide warnings of hazards and errors. 5c. Provide fail safe features. 5d. Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance. PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigu e. Guidelines: 6a. Allow user to maintain a neutral body position. 6b. Use reasonable operating forces. 6c. Minimize repetitive actions. 6d. Minimize sustained physical effort. PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use Appropriate size and s pace is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility. Guidelines: 7a. Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user. 7b. Make reach to all components comfo rtable for any seated or standing user.
55 7c. Accommodate variations in hand and grip size. 7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.
56 Appendix B Pre Questionnaire Variables for Participants in Experiment 1 Sectio n 1 Today I am going to pre interview you to establish any baseline knowledge of the play and of the experiment itself; I will also ask you some demographic questions and about some of your habits. Please answer everything honestly. If at any point you have a question, please stop me and I will explain as best I can. Feel free to ask me to repeat something or to speak louder if you have a hard time hearing me. The first question is in the form of a statement. I will read the statement to you and then the ans wer choices; please pick the answer choice that is closest to how you feel. 1. I am familiar with the plot/background of this play, Boeing, Boeing Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 2. How often do you go to the theater for a play, ballet, or opera? 3. What are some reasons that you attend the theater? I will read the choices and then please indicate all that apply: Enjoyment Free tickets/events Interest in particular shows Free time Request of fri end and/or family member(s) Other (please explain) 4. What are some reasons that you do not attend the theater? I will read the choices and then please indicate all that apply: Not enjoyable Expensive No interest Too busy Transportation challenges O ther (please explain)
57 5. How often do you attend a movie in a theater?
58 Appendix C Touch Tour Questions on the Pre Questionnaire for Touch Tour Participants in Experiment 1 and all Participants in Experiment 2 Section 1b A touch tour is a tour designed for vision impaired guests, typically at a museum or a theater. Guests are invited to touch important elements of the exhibit or show. For instance, at a museum a guest may be allowed to touch examples of frames, canvases, a nd style of art like oil painting, while at a theater a guest may touch costumes, props, and set. 1. Have you ever participated in a touch tour at a museum? 2. Have you ever participated in a touch tour at a theater?
59 Appendix D Demographic Questions on the Pre Questionnaire for Participants in Experiments 1 and 2 Section 2 1. How old are you? 2. What is your gender?
60 Appendix E Vision Impairment Questions on the Pre Questionnaire for Visually Impaired Participants in Experiment 1 Section 2b 1. What is the reason for your vision impairments? 2. How long have you been visually impaired?
61 Appendix F Social Desirably Scale on the Pre Questionnaire for Participants in Experiments 1 and 2 The following questions are to be answered by saying whether indicate your answer: 1. I never hesitate to go out of my way to help someone in trouble. 2. I have never intensely disliked anyone. 3. When I don't know something I don't at all mind admitting it. 4. I am always courteous, even to people who are disagreeable. 5. I would never think of letting someone else be punished for my wrong doings. 6. I sometimes feel resentful when I don't get my way. 7. There have bee n times when I felt like rebelling against people in authority even though I knew they were right. 8. I can remember "playing sick" to get out of something. 9. There have been times when I was quite jealous of the good fortune of others. 10. I am sometimes ir ritated by people who ask favors of me.
62 Appendix G Post Questionnaire Variables for Participants in Experiment 1 Section 1 Today I am going to interviewing you about the play you attended last weekend. Please answer everything honestly. If at any point you have a question, please stop me and I will explain as best I can. Feel free to ask me to repeat something or to speak loud er if you have a hard time hearing me. The following questions are in the form of a statement. I will read the statement to you and then the answer choices; please pick the answer choice that is closest to how you feel. 1. I enjoyed the play. Strongly ag ree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 2. I feel that I understood the play. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 3. The experience was positive for me. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
63 Appendix H Touch Tour Questions on the Post Questionnaire for Touch Tour Participants in Experiment 1 Section 1b 1. I enjoyed the touch tour. Strongly agree Agree Ne ither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 2. I felt included in the touch tour. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 3. I would definitely attend other plays if touch tours were provided. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 4. I would definitely attend other plays if touch tours were not provided. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly dis agree
64 Appendix I Attendance Variable on the Post Questionnaire for Control Participants, Experiment 1 1. I would definitely attend other plays. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree
65 Appendix J Content Questions on the Pre Questionnaire for Participants in Experiment 1 The following questions are to test your knowledge of the play Boeing, Boeing. After I read the question, please tell me your response. The questions are open ended; I will not be providing you with answer choices. Please answer everything as best you can. If you question. I will not revisit any question once we have moved on. Are you ready to begin? 1. W hat is the name of the central male character? 2. 3. 4. 5. Where does Bernard live? 6. How many doors/doorways are off of the m ain room? 7. Where does each of the doorways lead? 8. How does Robert know Bernard? 9. Where is Robert from? 10. What do the girlfriends do for a living? 11. What time period is the play set in? 12. What is the duration of time in the play? 13. How does Bertha feel about Bern 14. What are the relationships at the end of the play? 15.
66 Appendix K Post Questionnaire for Participants, Experiment 2 Section 1 Today I am going to be interviewing you about the play you attended last weekend. Please answer everything honestly. If at any point you have a question, please stop me and I will explain as best I can. Feel free to ask me to repeat something or to speak l ouder if you have a hard time hearing me. These questions are about the play, Boeing Boeing Please think only about this play as you answer the following questions. Disregard anything that might have happened before or after the play and concentrate on the time that you were in your seat, watching the play. The following questions are in the form of a statement. I will first read the statement to you and then the answer choices; please pick the answer choice that is closest to how you feel. 1. I enjoyed the play. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 2. I understood the play. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 3. The action on stage was hard to foll ow, confusing, or hard to keep track of. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 4. I would attend other plays in the future. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agr ee Str ongly Agree 5. The overall theater experience was positive for me. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree A gree Strongly Agree
67 6. I felt included as an audience member during the play. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 7. After attending this play, I would consider attending plays more frequently than I do currently. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree
68 Appendix L Content Questions on the Pre Questionnaires for Participants in Experiment 2 The following questions are to test your knowledge of the play Boeing, Boeing. After I read the question, please tell me your response. The questions are open ended; I will not be providing you with answer choices. Please answer everything as best you can. If you question. I will not revisit any question once we have moved on. Are you ready to begi n? 1. What is the name of the central male character? 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What are the nationalities o 7. What airline does each fianc fly? 8. What colors are associated with each fianc? Gloria: Gabriella: Gretchen: 9. Where does Bernard live? 10. How many doors or doorways are off of the main room? 11. Starting from stage right and moving clockwise, where does each of the doors or doorways lead? 12. How does Robert know Bernard? 13. Where is Robert from?
69 14. goal by the end of the play? 15. What time period is the play set in? 16. What is the duration of time in the play? 17. 18. What are the relationships at the end of the play? 19.
70 Appendix M Touch Tour Questions on the Post Questionnaire for Touch Tour Participants in Experiment 2 Section 1b The next questions are about your experience on the touch tour and any impact it had on your overall experience. These questions are in the form of a statement. I will first rea d the statement to you and then the answer choices; please pick the answer choice that is closest to how you feel. 1. I enjoyed the touch tour. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 2. I feel that the touch tour affected my overall theater experience. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 3. I would attend other plays if a touch tour were offered. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 4. I would attend other plays regardless of whether a touch tour were offered. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree 5. I would attend plays more often if touc h tours were offered. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree 6. I would attend plays more often regardless of whether touch tours were offered. Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disa gree Agree Strongly Agree