Program

IS28-13-2

VISUAL CORTICAL ACTIVITY DURING METAPHOR PROCESSING IN CONGENITALLY BLIND PEOPLE

[Speaker] Sathian, Krish:1
[Co-author] Stilla, Randall F:1, Lacey, Simon A:1, Occelli, Valeria:1
1:Emory University (United States of America)

We tested whether visual cortex in congenitally blind people is more responsive during processing of metaphors than in sighted people. Congenitally blind and sighted control participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in an event-related design while listening to sentences containing shape-related words in metaphorical and literal contexts, along with control sentences matched on a number of linguistic and acoustic variables. Participants judged sentence valence, in order to promote deep semantic processing without specifically attending to the shape-related words or metaphors. Compared to their sighted counterparts, the congenitally blind group exhibited significantly greater metaphor-selective activity in multiple regions of visual cortex, some of which were also visually shape-selective in sighted people. This suggests that visual cortical activity in congenitally blind people at least partly reflects semantic processing due to sensory grounding.
Advanced Search