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Some Blind People 'See' With Their Ears, Neuropsychologists Show

Date: 18.3.2011 

Dr. Olivier Collignon of the University of Montreal's Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre compared the brain activity of people who can see and people who were born blind, and discovered that the part of the brain that normally works with our eyes to process vision and space perception can actually rewire itself to process sound information instead.

The research was undertaken in collaboration with Dr Franco Lepore of the Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognition and was published March 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research builds on other studies which show that the blind have a heightened ability to process sounds as part of their space perception. The visual cortex, as its name would suggest, is responsible for processing sight. The right and left hemisphere of the brain have one each. They are located at the back of the brain, which is called the occipital lobe.



Original Paper:

O. Collignon, G. Vandewalle, P. Voss, G. Albouy, G. Charbonneau, M. Lassonde, F. Lepore. Functional specialization for auditory-spatial processing in the occipital cortex of congenitally blind humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; 108 (11): 4435 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013928108




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