For my research topic I will be examining if it is possible to walk in a straight line while blindfolded. Experiments have shown that it is not possible to walk in a straight line without a visual landmark. However, I plan on using first hand study and research to see if different sounds will help to keep people on a straight path.
This video and article provides a clear description of the problem that people can not walk in a straight line when they have no visual landmarks to work off of. It gives specific examples of people who have tried this experiment and what the results were.
I will be using this to to establish what others have done to test this problem. I will also be using it to help guide me through my own personal research.
In this video The Mythbusters, Jamie in particular, offer up a theory that we cant walk in a straight line because the body makes fluid movements and is not perfect. Eventually, all of the little errors that are made while walking, without correction, will pile up causing us to walk in circles.
I will use this as a possible answer to the mystery question of if there is any way for us to actually stay on a straight path without the help of visual landmarks. I also noticed in the video that while doing the experiment they were wearing noise cancelling headphones, so that still leaves my theory that noise can substitute as a landmark open.
This article gives more information about Jan Souman’s experiment where she blindfolded participants and let them attempt to walk straight in the desert or through an open plain. There is also a video about her experiment.
I will use this to help me determine how large of an area I should use to conduct my own experiments. Unfortunately, I will not be able to use an area as large as in the original experiments.
Gives all of the information about the experiments where she had subjects walk through the woods on a cloudy day as opposed to blindfolding them. Also gives more information about all of the separate tests since this is her main research paper.
I will use this as my main source in my research paper, getting most of my information about her theories and experiments from it.
5. Personal experiment
I will do my own experiment to see if we can walk in a straight line while blindfolded. I will also attempt to find out if noise can be used as a stand in for a visual landmark.
This is an academic paper about the physiology of walking. It explains how we walk, and also goes into some detail on why walking is not perfect. I will use this to help me define walking, and how it is, in itself, a very complicated and flaws process.
This explains how animals navigate and find their way during migration. The article states that many animals use the same techniques for navigation as humans do. For example, a visual landmark. It also talks about an experiment where sea turtles were “blinded” from sensing a magnetic force that they used as a landmark and ended up getting lost. I will use this to make a comparative argument between our navigation and animals navigation.
This article describes all of the different ways that ancient sailors used to navigate on the open seas. Just like how it is impossible to walk in a straight line while blindfolded, it is impossible to sail straight without the help of navigation. I will compare the methods used to navigate on the open sea to those used while on land.
I will use this to help me define what exactly a straight line is, and what definition goes along with my topic.
Background: An experiment done in Helsinki Finland where people were sent to walk in a virtual environment and given auditory clues. The participants were told to find the source of the noise.
How I will use it: This is the closest study I could fine to the one I am doing. I am going to use it to support my own findings, since they found very similar results.
Background: Gives more insight into the theories of why we can’t walk in a straight line. Also has a picture of the paths taken by the original participants in Jan Souman’s study.
How I will use it: I will use the examples it gives of when something like this happens in movies, but we never really notice or think about it. Also, I would like to put the picture in my essay, to give the reader a clearer idea.
Background: Article about how homing pigeons find their way home from distant unfamiliar locations.
How I will use it: I will compare the possible techniques used by the homing pigeons to those used by humans
Background: An experiment done to test an auditory navigation system for the blind. It was found that the farther away someone is to the cue the less accurate they are in finding it.
How I will use it: I believe this is why, in my experiment, Everyone walked in a curved line when walking toward the aural cue. I will try to draw a direct correlation with the help of this paper.
Background: Gives more detailed information about Jan Souman’s experiment. Has graphs, and pictures that make it more easily understood.
How I will use it: I will use it to help me explain the topic more thoroughly.