≪Organizer Abstract≫
Early loss of sensory systems leads to cross-modal takeover of deafferented structures . In agreement with these findings, we showed that in blind individuals, visual cortex is recruited by auditory and haptic stimuli. In the deaf, auditory cortex is similarly colonized by vision and touch. Interestingly, this recruitment is carried out in a functionally specific manner: in the blind, dorsal 'where' areas are recruited by localization tasks and the ventral 'what' areas by pitch or voices. Similarly, in the deaf, moving dots recruit dorsal areas whereas identifying shapes created by coherent stimuli recruits ventral areas. We also show, using imaging approaches, that structural and functional modifications of areas and pathways explain these findings. But behaviourally, the supra-performance in blind at auditory and tactile discriminations could not be confirmed in the deaf for discriminating faces and in fact vision interferes with language processing in re-established audition when they are presented simultaneously.
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