Speaker: Drs. Virginie Crollen, Cathy Marlair, Université Catholique de Louvain
Numbers play an important role in our daily lives, they are used in a variety of contexts (e.g., to use mobile phones, cook, deal with money, tell time, etc.) and are most of the time accessed and processed through the visual modality.
This supremacy of vision in accessing numerical information has led some researchers to assume that number was a fundamental visual attribute principally processed through the neural recycling of some visuospatial brain areas.
If this assumption is true, then the lack of early visual experience should impede the development of good numerical abilities. In this talk, we will review recent data examining the impact of blindness on several numerical abilities, such as arithmetics and geometry.
We will show that congenitally blind individuals are remarkably able to overcome their lack of visual experience in most of the numerical domains despite the fact that blindness shapes some qualitative properties of the number representation.
Within this context, the study of visually deprived individuals represents a unique opportunity to test the intrinsic relation between numerical cognition and vision.
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