Viewing angle matters in British Sign Language processing

Autor/a: WATKINS, Freya; ABDLKARIM, Diar; WINTER, Bodo; THOMPSON, Robin
Año: 2024
Editorial: Scientific Reports, 14(1043)
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Aspectos psicológicos y cognitivos


The impact of adverse listening conditions on spoken language perception is well established, but the role of suboptimal viewing conditions on signed language processing is less clear. Viewing angle, i.e. the physical orientation of a perceiver relative to a signer, varies in many everyday deaf community settings for L1 signers and may impact comprehension. Further, processing from various viewing angles may be more difficult for late L2 learners of a signed language, with less variation in sign input while learning. Using a semantic decision task in a distance priming paradigm, we show that British Sign Language signers are slower and less accurate to comprehend signs shown from side viewing angles, with L2 learners in particular making disproportionately more errors when viewing signs from side angles. We also investigated how individual differences in mental rotation ability modulate processing signs from different angles. Speed and accuracy on the BSL task correlated with mental rotation ability, suggesting that signers may mentally represent signs from a frontal view, and use mental rotation to process signs from other viewing angles. Our results extend the literature on viewpoint specificity in visual recognition to linguistic stimuli. The data suggests that L2 signed language learners should maximise their exposure to diverse signed language input, both in terms of viewing angle and other difficult viewing conditions to maximise comprehension.