Some blind people 'see' spatially with their ears

fMRI showing specific right-sided occipital subregions in congentially blind that were preferentially activated for the spatial processing of sounds (image credit: Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre/PNAS)

The visual cortex, the part of the brain that normally works with our eyes to process vision and space perception, can rewire itself to process sound information instead, Dr. Olivier Collignon of the University of Montreal’s Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre and Dr. Franco Lepore of the Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognition have found.

The research builds on other studies that show that the blind have a heightened ability to process sounds as part of their space perception. The researchers worked with 11 individuals who were born blind and 11 who were not.

Their brain activity was analyzed via fMRI scanning while they were subjected to a series of tones. “The results demonstrate the brain’s amazing plasticity,” Collignon said.

References^ published (

Similar Posts