How vision shapes touch

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A neuroimaging study published in the Journal of Neuroscience reveals the neural network responsible for attributing the sense of touch to a location in space develops and operates differently in individuals blind from birth compared to sighted individuals.

Virginie Crollen, Olivier Collignon and colleagues replicated a previous finding in 11 blindfolded, sighted individuals, who performed much worse on a that asks them to discriminate the order of air blasts applied to both their left and right fingers when their hands are crossed. The eight participants blind from birth did not show this deficit.

Using functional resonance imaging, the authors found that in sighted individuals performing this task with crossed hands elicited greater activity in parietal and premotor areas than with uncrossed hands. Although the blind did not display any regional differences in activity between the two postures, the functional connectivity between their frontal and parietal brain regions was stronger in the crossed position compared to sighted participants, which may contribute to their superior task performance in this posture. Overall, the study highlights a crucial role of visual experience in the development of the brain network underlying the localization of touch.

More information: Visual experience shapes the neural networks remapping touch into external space, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1213-17.2017

Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience

Citation: How vision shapes touch (2017, September 25) retrieved 30 March 2023 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Brain mechanism underlying the recognition of hand gestures develops even when blind


Feedback to editors