Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Montreal Study Shows Superior Sound-location Skills In The Blind

Date:
October 8, 2004
Source:
University Of Montreal
Summary:
A research team led by Professor Franco Lepore, director of the Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognition at the Université de Montréal, has shown that both early- and late-onset blind people have better sound discrimination abilities than people with normal vision.

A research team led by Professor Franco Lepore, director of the Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognition at the Université de Montréal, has shown that both early- and late-onset blind people have better sound discrimination abilities than people with normal vision. Reported in the latest edition of the journal Current Biology, the study demonstrates for the first time that blind people from both groups perform equally well in tests requiring them to map auditory space beyond their peri-personal environment. These results led the researchers to conclude that neural structures can be reorganized even after the first few years of life.

Until now, similar studies have mainly focused on hearing in near space that can be calibrated by touch or, for example, with a cane. For this particular study, Professor Lepore and his team subjected three groups of ten people each (early- and late-onset blind subjects and a control group of blindfolded, sighted subjects) to spatial hearing tests in which each subject had to locate sounds from three meters away and distinguish them from other ambient noise. The early- and late-onset blind participants were far more successful than the control group at both tasks.

"Humans are remarkably adaptable. We can't quite explain these results," said Professor Lepore. "Of course, hearing is far more important to blind people so it's possible that they spend proportionately more time developing this sense. It's also possible that their superior performance reflects cross-modal cortical reorganization."

Professor Lepore's research team has long been interested in cross-modal cortical reorganization and the use of different sensory systems to compensate for losses. Back in 1998, Nature published the team's study on near-space auditory mapping by blind people. Earlier this year, this same journal published another study by this group on superior tone discrimination abilities in the blind. The study published today is the first to show that early- and late-onset blind people performed at similar levels and better than sighted people. New studies are underway that will evaluate the response of deaf people to visual stimuli and the ability of blind people to navigate in a maze.

###

This study was made possible thanks to the co-operation of the Nazareth and Louis Braille Institute for the Blind as well as financial support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Research Chairs program awarded to Professors Franco Lepore and Maryse Lassonde, the Quebec Fund for Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

The Centre for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognition at the Université de Montréal is a network of over one hundred researchers and graduate students focused on three research thrusts: inter-hemispheric communication and hemispheric specialization, language and memory, and the study of sensory systems.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Montreal. "University Of Montreal Study Shows Superior Sound-location Skills In The Blind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041008024251.htm>.
University Of Montreal. (2004, October 8). University Of Montreal Study Shows Superior Sound-location Skills In The Blind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041008024251.htm
University Of Montreal. "University Of Montreal Study Shows Superior Sound-location Skills In The Blind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041008024251.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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