Blind vision : the neuroscience of visual impairment by Zaira Cattaneo

By Zaira Cattaneo

Can a blind individual see? The very concept turns out paradoxical. the following the authors learn the consequences of blindness and different different types of visible deficit at the improvement and functioning of the human cognitive system.

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Extra info for Blind vision : the neuroscience of visual impairment

Sample text

Not surprisingly, cutaneous receptors are more densely present on the tips of the glabrous digits and in the perioral region. Accordingly, receptive fields are smaller on the finger tips, where each receptor serves an extremely small area of the skin. At the cortical level, densely innervated body parts are represented by a larger numbers of neurons occupying a disproportionately large part of the somatosensory system’s body representation: in fact, the finger tips and lips provide the cortex with the most detailed information about a tactile stimulus.

In texture-discrimination tasks, subjects are usually required to move their fingers over a surface (or a surface is moved over the subject’s static fingers) and to indicate possible changes in texture. This task likely depends on signals conveyed by SA-I afferents (Merkel receptors) (Connor and Johnson 1992), although rapidly adapting afferents may also play a role (Hollins and Risner 2000). The GOT requires that subjects discriminate the orientation of a grating applied to their fingertip, and is generally considered a rigorous test of passive tactile acuity (Johnson and Phillips 1981; Craig 1999).

Alary, Duquette et al. 2009) did not find differences between sighted and blind individuals in a grating-orientation discrimination task. Accordingly, Grant, Thiagarajah, and Sathian (2000) found no difference in tactile acuity between their early blind Braille readers, late blind readers and the control group of sighted subjects in a (manual) grating-orientation task and in discriminating gratings with variable ridge widths. Instead, Grant et al. (Grant, Thiagarajah, and Sathian 2000) found an advantage of early and late blind individuals in a hyperacuity tactile task using Braillelike dot patterns.

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