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Archive for October 4th, 2012

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Charon /detail-from an etching

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Evidence from recent brain-imaging experiments indicates that blind people’s brains harness the same visual cortex for getting their way around. Naturally question arises why use it if one is blind? “When blind people read Braille using touch, the sensory data is being sent to and processed in the visual cortex,” said Morton Heller, a psychologist who studies spatial cognition and blindness at Eastern Illinois University. “Using touch, they get a sense of space” — and the relative locations of the raised dots that from Braille letters — “that’s not visual, it’s just spatial.”
For blind people who are adept at echolocation, sound information routes through the visual cortex as well. Their brains use echoes to generate spatial maps, which are sometimes so detailed that they enable mountain biking, playing basket ball etc.,
Sighted people visualize the surrounding world by detecting borders between areas rich in different wavelengths of light, which we see as different colors. Gabias who is blind from birth builds pictures using his sense of touch, and by listening to the echoes of clicks of his tongue and taps of his cane as these sounds bounce off objects in his surroundings, a technique called echolocation.
“There’s plenty of imagery that goes on all the time in blind people,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries. “It just isn’t visual.”
Gabias is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who conducts research on perceptual and cognitive aspects of blindness. His personal and professional experience leads him to believe that the brains of blind people work around the lack of visual information, and find other ways to achieve the same, vitally important result: a detailed 3D map of space.
The brain region neuroscientists normally think of as the “visual” cortex, rather than being left to languish, plays a key role in the blind’s mental mapping process.
In sighted people, visual information first goes to the visual cortex, which is located in the occipital lobe at the back of the brain. From there, it goes to the parietal lobe, sometimes referred to as the “where system” because it generates awareness of a sensed object’s location. Next, the information is routed to the temporal lobe, also known as the “what system” because it identifies the object.(ack:LiveScience.com/Natalie Wolchover-Oct 3,’12)
Is this a compensatory mechanism by which the loss of sight in a person is given another option to be on spatial mode?
I remember the case of Louis Pasteur who lost power of speech after a stroke. He seems to have created new speech areas in his brain. I would think there is a compensatory mechanism in the universe that gives every life form and species ways to compensate their inadequacies. Call it Natural selection or evolutionary triggering mechanism.
ii
Earlier the bottom line was that energy is neither created nor destroyed. Now we know energy is borrowed and through the entire universe there is a kind of barter system going on by which law of Negation and Law of Compensation work at tandem to give all life forms their comeuppance and rewards. We sense from our own situation what are the possibilities and if we work out our hunches lo and behold we find new grounds in spite of frustrating failures. Alfred Adler was the first to describe this. In Natural World also we see this. How dogs, eagles dolphins make sense of the world are different and if such variety has helped each species we may think such compensation is not isolated or rare.
benny

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