Early but not late-blindness leads to enhanced auditory perception

Wan, Catherine Y., Wood, Amanda G., Reutens, David and Wilson, Sarah J. (2010) Early but not late-blindness leads to enhanced auditory perception. Neuropsychologia, 48 1: 344-348. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.08.016

Author Wan, Catherine Y.
Wood, Amanda G.
Reutens, David
Wilson, Sarah J.
Title Early but not late-blindness leads to enhanced auditory perception
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2010-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.08.016
Volume 48
Issue 1
Start page 344
End page 348
Total pages 5
Editor A. R. Mayes
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
020402 Condensed Matter Imaging
920107 Hearing, Vision, Speech and Their Disorders
Abstract The notion that blindness leads to superior non-visual abilities has been postulated for centuries. Compared to sighted individuals, blind individuals show different patterns of brain activation when performing auditory tasks. To date, no study has controlled for musical experience, which is known to influence auditory skills. The present study tested 33 blind (11 congenital, 11 early-blind, 11 late-blind) participants and 33 matched sighted controls. We showed that the performance of blind participants was better than that of sighted participants on a range of auditory perception tasks, even when musical experience was controlled for. This advantage was observed only for individuals who became blind early in life, and was even more pronounced for individuals who were blind from birth. Years of blindness did not predict task performance. Here, we provide compelling evidence that superior auditory abilities in blind individuals are not explained by musical experience alone. These results have implications for the development of sensory substitution devices, particularly for late-blind individuals.
Keyword Blind
Auditory perception
Brain plasticity
Onset age
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 45 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 54 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 14 Jan 2010, 11:48:51 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute