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11 - Cross-modal plasticity in sensory systems

from Section A2 - Functional plasticity in CNS system

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

Krishnankutty Sathian
Affiliation:
Departments of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
Michael Selzer
Affiliation:
University of Pennsylvania
Stephanie Clarke
Affiliation:
Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
Leonardo Cohen
Affiliation:
National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Pamela Duncan
Affiliation:
University of Florida
Fred Gage
Affiliation:
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego
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Summary

This chapter reviews studies of cross-modal interactions from two perspectives. One is the issue of crossmodal plasticity resulting from sensory deprivation, which is considered in terms of the twin questions: does deprivation of inputs in one sensory modality (1) improve perception in the remaining modalities? and (2) alter neural processing of the remaining inputs? With respect to this issue, plasticity of sensory-perceptual processing is distinguished from that of linguistic processing. Further, the effects of shortterm versus long-term sensory deprivation, and of the age of onset of deprivation are addressed, to the extent that they have been studied. A complementary perspective is offered by investigations of cross-modal involvement and multisensory processing in cortical regions that have traditionally been associated with a single sensory modality. The focus in this chapter is on studies of cross-modal interactions that affect the visual system. Similar interactions affecting the auditory system are reviewed in the previous chapter (this volume) by Rauschecker. The interested reader is referred to a review of the phenomena, neural correlates and possible mechanisms of cross-modal plasticity (Bavelier and Neville, 2002).

Superior non-visual perception in the blind

According to common belief, blindness is associated with superior non-visual perception. However, the empirical literature offers mixed support for this idea, despite over a century of investigation (Griesbach, 1899; Hollins, 1989).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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