Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vision Following Extended Congenital Blindness: New Study Challenges 'Critical Period' In Childhood Vision Development

Date:
January 8, 2007
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Early sensory stimulation may not be required for vision development, suggests a unique case study that appears in the December 2006 issue of Psychological Science.

Understanding how the human brain learns to perceive objects is one of the ultimate challenges in neuroscience. In 2003, Pawan Sinha, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, launched an initiative with the hopes of shedding some light on the acquisition of visual skills.

The goal of his "Project Prakash" is to find, treat, and study congenitally blind children in India. A unique case study that resulted from this project appears in the December 2006 issue of Psychological Science.

Dr. Sinha and two graduate students, Yuri Ostrovsky and Aaron Andalman, were introduced to a woman in India who was born blind due to dense congenital cataracts in both eyes. The woman lived as a blind child for 12 years before she received treatment.

Now, twenty years after her surgery, the researchers found that she is able to discern between separate objects, determine depth, localize faces amongst a background of natural scenes, and match faces by their identity. This case demonstrated that a person can acquire visual function even after being deprived of sight for an extended period during childhood.

The evidence gathered from this case study presents a scientific alternative to the widely noted "critical period" that the brain undergoes during childhood. The critical period theory asserts that the brain's learning mechanisms are significantly dependent on early sensory stimulation. Sinha and his colleagues posit that while some aspects of vision, such as acuity, might indeed be subject to critical periods, many other aspects of functional vision might be learnable even at later ages.

In other words, perhaps our brain is not as rigid as we think, and its plasticity remains even after several years of compromised sensory experience. The results of this study provide an argument for even late-stage blindness treatments and guide researchers towards an improved understanding of the complexities of the brain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Vision Following Extended Congenital Blindness: New Study Challenges 'Critical Period' In Childhood Vision Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070105074525.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2007, January 8). Vision Following Extended Congenital Blindness: New Study Challenges 'Critical Period' In Childhood Vision Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070105074525.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Vision Following Extended Congenital Blindness: New Study Challenges 'Critical Period' In Childhood Vision Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070105074525.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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