Join 3,373 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Growing New Senses
June 20, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

More evidence of brain plasticity: Some blind people are able to use echolocation to perceive space and objects around them in surprising detail, even though the time differences in echoes necessary to do this are two small to be consciously perceived. An fMRI study by Lore Thaler, Stephen Arnott and Melvyn Goodale revealed that people who are especially adept at this use their calcarine cortex (a.k.a. V1 or primary visual cortex) to process spatial information from the echoes. The original paper. A shorter discussion. (Previously)
posted by nangar (13 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Could the echoes be consciously perceived if they were one small or three small?
posted by orthogonality at 9:06 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, the way the brain "repurposes" the visual cortex makes me think of GPGPU
posted by kcds at 9:16 AM on June 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm able to use refracted light rays to perceive space and objects around me, even their COLORS!!!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:18 AM on June 20, 2011


Will people please stop putting interesting results in PLoS One? I don't like having to scan the ultimate grab bag.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:20 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, for Christ's sake this and this are in the same journal.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:24 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the very least we may finally get an answer to philosopher Thomas Nagel's question, "What is it like to be a bat?"
posted by Philofacts at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2011


"Using a Stick Does Not Necessarily Alter Judged Distances or Reachability"

I guess they haven't used my stick. Cause that'll alter you for sure.
posted by orthogonality at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ved Mehta, a totally blind writer from India who wrote about his blindness extensively for the New Yorker, described his ability to "see" as "facial vision". In these passages (Google cache because the site seems to be down), he describes how he learned to ride a bicycle, avoiding objects by the differences in sound he perceived.
posted by beagle at 9:38 AM on June 20, 2011


It's been done.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:51 AM on June 20, 2011


cortex: the Plastic.com it's OK to like
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:57 AM on June 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others.

I think we may have found something more dangerous than TVTropes. Holy shit, I'm going to have to leave the house now.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:08 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also happens in reverse.

I'm pretty much numb nowadays.
posted by run"monty at 11:30 AM on June 20, 2011


Fascinating article
posted by caddis at 6:50 PM on June 21, 2011


« Older Congratulations Graduates! Here are some comedic c...  |  The Supreme Court has unanimou... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments