Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Haptic anchoring with eye tracking: for right handers only?

Clip art: Clker
Early in the development of HICP, I explored using eye tracking to enhance anchoring, a technique used in many disciplines and therapies. (See earlier posts.) What I discovered quickly was that that technique seemed to work well for some but, for others, it could be disconcerting or even disorienting to the point of feelings of vertigo and nausea! This 2008 research summarized by Munger of Cognitive Daily by Logan and Roediger, helps to explain why.

For the strongly right hand dominant, those procedures, in some contexts (such as recalling lists), can be highly effective. For others, the eye saccade exercise seems to downgrade performance. When working with individuals I still may use significant eye tracking of hand movement, but not if they are ambidextrous (as I am) or occasionally left handed, depending on their real eye dominance. In class work, likewise, we have learned that even excessive repetitions of basic haptic anchoring, which do not require explicit eye engagement (which should NEVER be necessary if done correctly anyway) should be avoided.

What is interesting is that a similar "follow the windshield wiper" technique is used to desensitize emotionally traumatized (left or right handed) patients in psychotherapy. You might try that version on "haptically or methodologically challenged" colleagues or students, in fact. It works "both ways," so to speak . . .

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