Blind can learn how to see by listening to sounds
By listening to visual information converted into sound patterns,
the visual cortex of blind people is activated, making them 'see'.
It is often said that blind people ‘see’ with their hands. Recent research however shows that blind people can learn how to see via sounds that convey visual information.
A study by researchers of The Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that by providing visual information in the form of sound patterns, blind people can learn to identify objects and people, and even read words. The auditory information activated the visual cortex of congenitally blind people, and even showed the division of labor between the so called ventral “what” and dorsal “where and how” visual pathways. This research gives new insights into sensory substitution, and suggests that the visual cortex is not specific to its input sense (vision), but rather works in a task-specific manner.
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Striem-Amit, E., Dakwar, O., Reich, L., & Amedi, A. (2011). The large-scale organization of 'visual' streams emerges without visual experience. Cerebral Cortex. Advance online publication. Doi:10.1093/cercor/bhr253