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Blindness Memory Perks: Restructuring Access into the System


Karen Arcos

Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz


I offer cognitive research (Arcos, Jaeggi, & Grossman, 2022) and desires to diversify academic spaces.

Use of verbal encoding strategies among blind individuals may train cognitive systems that maintain and manipulate verbal information. We investigated whether early visual deprivation is linked to improved verbal short term memory (STM) abilities. Blind adults recalled more items on a verbal STM digit span task than did sighted participants. However, blind individuals recalled fewer items in reverse on a braille STM digit span task. We conclude that memory benefits associated with blindness might be restricted to auditory-verbal STM and likely reflect strategy use and practice. Therefore, educators may wish to consider the format in which they expose students to information depending on information type and on how learners are expected to engage with the material, which may affect recall.

In this presentation, I also describe my interest in learning and contributing to creating diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive spaces using a set of evidence-based strategies from the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change initiative. I am committed to implementing strategies for all to flourish as individuals while discovering themselves.