Our investigations are focusing on sensory plasticity in humans. Do blind people develop “supranormal” abilities in using their other senses, i.e. audition, touch, proprioception or olfaction, to perceive, to localize, to recognize or to mentally represent objects or scenes? Which is the brain correlate of these abilities? Using behavioral tests and functional imaging techniques, in the frame of projects supported by FRSM grants, we wish to get better insight into these questions. We demonstrated that, in subjects who became blind early in life, non-visual sensory modalities colonize the “visual” cortex, which is characterized by unusually high rates of glucose metabolism at an adult age. And this crossmodal reorganization of visually deprived brain areas does not occur at random: the functional specialization that prevails in sighted subjects is preserved but changes of sensory modality. We now continue and extend this work by orienting our projects towards the investigation of unimodal versus crossmodal brain plasticity and sensory substitution in subjects affected by early-onset blindness, deafness and acquired hearing disorders, with a special attention paid on the role of olfaction in multisensory perception and multisensory integration in the human brain.
Collaborations linked to these projects are :
Technical and administrative staff
| 15/11/2012 |