The size-weight illusion induced through human echolocation

Gavin Buckingham*, Jennifer L Milne, Caitlin M Byrne, Melvyn A Goodale

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    240 Downloads (Pure)


    Certain blind individuals have learned to interpret the echoes of self-generated sounds to perceive the structure of objects in their environment. The current work examined how far the influence of this unique form of sensory substitution extends by testing whether echolocation-induced representations of object size could influence weight perception. A small group of echolocation experts made tongue clicks or finger snaps toward cubes of varying sizes and weights before lifting them. These echolocators experienced a robust size-weight illusion. This experiment provides the first demonstration of a sensory substitution technique whereby the substituted sense influences the conscious perception through an intact sense.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)237-242
    Number of pages6
    JournalPsychological Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


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