Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Blind Really Do Hear Better

Date:
July 23, 2004
Source:
Montreal Neurological Institute / McGill University
Summary:
Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University and at the Université de Montréal have shown that the blind really do hear notes more precisely but only if they became blind when they were very young.

Nearly everyone has heard the popular notion that the blind hear better than the sighted – possibly to make up for their inability to see. Now, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University and at the Université de Montréal have shown that the blind really do hear notes more precisely but only if they became blind when they were very young. Their findings, Pitch discrimination in the Early Blind, were published in the journal Nature (July 15th).

Dr. Robert Zatorre, a cognitive neuroscientist at the MNI at McGill University, and member of the research team, explained that the idea that blindness can aid musical development is an old one. However, previous studies have not been able to quantify this possibly because they did not take into account the age at which subjects went blind.

In the present study, researchers at McGill and at Université de Montréal tested people from 3 categories: those who were fully sighted, “early blind” (blind at birth or lost their sight during the first two years of life), and “late blind” (those who became blind later in life). The groups were tested for their ability to recognize changes in pitch. The subject listened to a pair of tones and had to decide whether the second tone was higher or lower than the first.

'Early blind' subjects outperformed the other groups in every task, continuing to make correct distinctions as the notes got either shorter or closer in pitch. However, there were no significant differences in performance between sighted and late blind subjects.

These findings reveal the brain's capacity to reorganize itself early in life. At birth, the brain's centres for vision, hearing and other senses are all connected. Pascal Belin at the Université de Montréal and study leader believes that these connections which are gradually eliminated in normal development, might be preserved and used in the early blind to process sounds.

Nature communications - Neuropsychology: Pitch discrimination in the early blind

Nature News article


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Montreal Neurological Institute / McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Montreal Neurological Institute / McGill University. "The Blind Really Do Hear Better." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040723093712.htm>.
Montreal Neurological Institute / McGill University. (2004, July 23). The Blind Really Do Hear Better. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040723093712.htm
Montreal Neurological Institute / McGill University. "The Blind Really Do Hear Better." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040723093712.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins