The effects sensory impairment had on product experience

 The humanbrain consists of Frontal lobe, Occipital Lobe, Parietal lobe, Temporal lobe, Cerebellum,Ventricles, Thalamus and the brain stem. Each area is responsible for certainfunctions within our body (The Brain and Spine Foundation, 2017). 1.       The Frontal lobe is responsible forprocessing information related to personality, character and behaviouralresponses.2.       The Occipital lobe receivesinformation from the eyes.

3.       Parietal lobe receives andinterprets information from all five senses.4.       The Temporal lobe consists of twoand receives information from the ears as well as assisting with determiningsmell.5.       The cerebellum controls your senseof balance.6.       The ventricles produce cerebrospinalfluid which helps protect the brain and spinal cord.

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7.       The brain stem controls functionssuch as the heart, lungs and blood pressure and is responsible for keeping youalive.8.       The thalamus controls your bodies temperatureas well as information relating to growth (The Brain and Spine Foundation,2017).          The brain relies on thecomplimentary roles of sensation and perception to process the informationreceived by our senses and then generate an output response. Sensation can bedefined as the process of sensing the environment utilizing senses such astouch, taste, sight, sound and smell (our five senses), this raw information isthen relayed to the brain.

Perception is the manner in which the braininterprets the relayed information received from the senses (Heffner,2018).An experiment conducted by DelftUniversity of technology in the Netherlands examined the effects sensoryimpairment had on product experience and personal well-being. Participants wererequired to complete 8 simple tasks while having one modality blocked. The experimentyielded the following results (Schifferstein & Desmet, 2007):   Modality Blocked Effects Observed Sight Highest loss of functional information Increased task duration and difficulty Fostered dependency Resulted in other sense being utilized more Product experiences increased in perceived intense Touch Perceived loss of information was less Familiar products evoked an emotion of “less of their own ” Hearing Communication problems Feeling of being isolated or cut-off Smell Decreased the intensity of the experiences  As one can see from the aboveinformation that the sense of sight outcome mainly plays a functional role inthe life of an everyday user. Sensory impairments directly affect theexperience.

Human behaviour is a direct result of experiences (Mcleod,2017). Asone can see from the above information, the basic structure of the brain is uniform,but the variable is a factor known as brain plasticity. Brain plasticity isdirectly dependent on life experiences and events. The formation of newsynapses or change of existing synapses is a function of brain plasticity(Gerrig,2013). Therefore, events, experiences and environments that we exposeourselves to directly influence the plasticity of our brains.

When we aresubjected to a sense impairment such as being deaf or blind, our brains become”rewired”, adapting and utilizing the area once used for sight now for hearing.This area adapts to help process other senses (Bates,2012). A study in thejournal of neuroscience found that an area in the brain of deaf people usuallydevoted for processing hearing information was found to be processinginformation related to touch and smell. This is known as neural reorganizationand affects the manner which deaf people perceive sensory stimuli. This canalso result in deaf people becoming susceptible to perceptual illusions whichhearing individuals did not experience. The process of cross-modal neuro plasticityas illustrated above does result in negative consequences (Bates,2012).

 After analysis of the aboveinformation, I am of the opinion that when an individual suffers from a sensoryimpairment, that our senses do not become more sensitive but rather that thebrain adapts and undergoes a process known as “cross-modal neuroplasticity”.This results in lower absolute thresholds, increased awareness regardingdifferential thresholds. Impaired individuals conform with the signal detectiontheory (Bates,2012). Due to humans being creatures of habit, individualswithout impairments become complacent and reliant on specific senses ultimatelyresulting in individuals suffering from a combination of sensory adaption andin-attentional blindness (Cherry,2017).

 

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