Would a blind subject, on regaining sight, be able to immediately visually recognize an object previously known only by touch? We addressed this question, first formulated by Molyneux three centuries ago, by working with treatable, congenitally blind individuals. We tested their ability to visually match an object to a haptically sensed sample after sight restoration. We found a lack of immediate transfer, but such cross-modal mappings developed rapidly.
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The authors wish to thank all members of the Project Prakash team and especially the children who participated in this study. Funding for this work was provided by the James McDonnell Foundation's Scholar Award to P.S. and the National Eye Institute (grant R21-EY015521 to P.S.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Held, R., Ostrovsky, Y., de Gelder, B. et al. The newly sighted fail to match seen with felt. Nat Neurosci 14, 551–553 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2795
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