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The newly sighted fail to match seen with felt

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 26 August 2011

This article has been updated


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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Figure 1: Stimuli and testing procedure.
Figure 2: Intra- and inter-modal matching results.

Change history

  • 04 May 2011

    In the version of this article initially published, author Beatrice de Gelder’s name was misspelled. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


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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.).

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R.H., B.d.G., P.S. and Y.O. designed the study. S.G. and U.M. performed the surgical procedures and conducted the ophthalmic assessments. R.H., Y.O., T.G., B.d.G. and P.S. conducted the match-to-sample experiments and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Richard Held or Pawan Sinha.

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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).

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