Adaptions and Blindness
Expectations and adaptations to the world of non-sight.
How one afflicted with blindness adjusts to the world without the benefit of sight.
Imaging shows that in the non-sighted, visual centers in the brain are smaller than in sighted individuals, yet other sensory ares in the brain will be larger. It is as if the brain will compensate for what is not there. As a result, auditory and tactile sensory is enhanced and the skill of echolocation can be used in navigation.
In the case of blindness, the areas typically used for sight in sighted individuals such as the occipital cortex, also functions to aid non-sighted individuals. For example, those who read and interpret braille, brain activity has been observed via imaging techniques showing the use of typical visual processes in the non-sighted. As such, the visual cortex has been shown to function as both a visual and language processor.
Burton, H., Snyder, A. Z., Conturo, T. E., Akbudak, E., Ollinger, J. M., & Raichle, M. E. (2002). Adaptive Changes in Early and Late Blind: A fMRI Study of Braille Reading. Journal of Neurophysiology, 87(1), 589–607.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2011, March 1). Parts of brain can switch functions: In people born blind, brain regions that usually process vision can tackle language. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 16, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228163143.htm
Merluzzi, A. (2013). Brain Development and Neuroplasticity: Environmental Influences can Shape Neural Circuitry. Association for psychological science. Retrieved March 16, 2016 from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2013/october-13/brain-development-and-neuroplasticity.html
The Blind Brain: Part 1 of 2. (2007). Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/the-blind-brain-part-1-of-2/3398832#transcript
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, November 19). Blindness causes structural brain changes, implying brain can re-organize itself to adapt. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118143259.htm