Organisms have specific abilities allowing them to use different parameters of the environment for satisfying their needs and achieving adaptive outcomes. Vision, as one of these abilities, provides the faculty for using certain optic parameters of the environment in new experience acquisition and behaviour organization. If vision is limited, organisms are still often capable of satisfying their needs and achieving necessary outcomes. However, learning and behaviour are usually complicated without vision. This work is focused on studying how individuals with an intact visual system and normal visual development deal with a familiar task and learn a new task in the absence of visual contact with the environment. As ecological significance of vision varies among species, one of the questions we put here was: can any specificity be observed in behavioural dynamics of learning without vision by humans, who use vision widely, as opposed to rats, whose need for vision in solving their evolutionary problems is not so crucial as for other senses? We used two experimental models of cyclic behaviour; one for rats (Experiment 1) and one for humans (Experiment 2). In both models, Group 1 had to learn the task with closed eyes and Group 2 with open eyes. After the task had been acquired, its performance was studied in three experimental stages, or conditions. For Group 1, the sequence of stages was closed-open-closed eyes, and for Group 2, open-closed-open eyes. It has been shown that individuals could learn a new task successfully regardless of whether they had visual contact with the environment or not, and this was the case for both rats and humans, whose visual abilities and ecological importance of vision are different. However, the dynamics of the task performance with closed and open eyes was different in individuals trained without vision compared to those who were free to use it; and this dynamics was specific for rats and for humans. These results could indicate that even if optic parameters of the environment are not so crucial to learn a task successfully, they can still be an important part of formation and realization of inward individual experience.
Arutyunova, K.R. Learning and performing the task with closed and open eyes in rats and humans / K.R. Arutyunova, V.V. Gavrilov // . – 2012. – P. 23-25