OAXACA, Mexico — Deaf police officers have been recruited to monitor security cameras in the Mexican city of Oaxaca because of their ‘heightened visual abilities’.
There’s a brief and somewhat clunky English-language news article from the local paper that describes the project:
“Ignacio Villalobos Carranza, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Public Security of Oaxaca, said most of the monitoring of the 230 cameras is done by law enforcement officials that are hearing or speech impaired. He noted these police officers have a very strong deaf and visual sense and can better detect what is happening in different places where the cameras are located; they can often remotely read the conversations of people, to the benefit of this security system that operates 24 hours a day.”
The ability to lip read conversations is a fantastic advantage, but the project raises the question of whether deaf people would actually be better at security monitoring in general.
As far as I know, there are no studies comparing hearing and deaf people on specific monitoring tasks but there is evidence that deaf people have certain advantages in visual attention.
This isn’t vision in general, such as having sharper visual acuity – where there seems to be no difference, but there is good evidence that deaf people are better at noticing things in the periphery of vision and detecting movement.
This potentially makes them perfect for the job and likely better than their hearing colleagues.
So the project turns out to be a targeted way not of recruiting ‘disabled people’ into the workforce, but of recruiting the ‘super able’. In fact, turning the whole idea of disability on its head.
There’s also a Spanish-language video report from BBC Mundo if you want more información.
This entry was written by vaughanbell and posted on September 8, 2012 at 8:54 am
Source: Mind Hacks