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Volume: 28 | Article ID: art00002
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Superior verbal abilities in congenital blindness
  DOI :  10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.16.HVEI-094  Published OnlineFebruary 2016
Abstract

Numerous studies have found that congenitally blind individuals have better verbal memory than their normally sighted counterparts. However, it is not known whether this reflects a superiority of verbal abilities or of memory abilities. In order to distinguish between these possibilities, we tested congenitally blind participants and age-matched, normally sighted control participants on verbal and spatial memory tasks, as well as on verbal fluency tasks and a spatial imagery task. Congenitally blind participants were significantly better than sighted controls on the verbal memory and verbal fluency tasks, but not on the spatial memory or spatial imagery tasks. Thus, the congenitally blind have superior verbal, but not spatial, abilities. This may be related to their greater reliance on verbal information and to the growing literature endorsing involvement of visual cortex in language processing in the congenitally blind.

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Valeria Occelli, Simon Lacey, Careese Stephens, Krish Sathian, "Superior verbal abilities in congenital blindnessin Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Human Vision and Electronic Imaging,  2016,  https://doi.org/10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.16.HVEI-094

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