Monday, September 26, 2011

Alvaro Pascual-Leone et al.: "Paradoxical effects of sensory loss." (2011)

This article provides a pile of evidence for the fact that deprivation of sight---even for a period of a few days---increases perceptivity with respect to other senses, especially touch. The authors provocatively state that "it is the sighted world that seems not to have truly adapted to those without sight" (p. 15).

They also call attention to the fact that a blind person's perception of distance is different from a sighted person's. For sighted person, the senses of touch and hearing will tend to be secondary to the sense of vision, providing an essentially different layout of the environment.

They quote a character from an essay on blindness by Denis Diderot---the enlightenment author who edited the encyclopedia---as saying that he would rather have "really long arms" than functioning eyes (p. 20).

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