Cross-modal plasticity of tactile perception in blindness

K. Sathian, Randall Stilla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This review focusses on cross-modal plasticity resulting from visual deprivation. This is viewed against the background of task-specific visual cortical recruitment that is routine during tactile tasks in the sighted and that may depend in part on visual imagery. Superior tactile perceptual performance in the blind may be practice-related, although there are unresolved questions regarding the effects of Braille-reading experience and the age of onset of blindness. While visual cortical areas are clearly more involved in tactile microspatial processing in the blind than in the sighted, it still remains unclear how to reconcile these tactile processes with the growing literature implicating visual cortical activity in a wide range of cognitive tasks in the blind, including those involving language, or with studies of short-term, reversible visual deprivation in the normally sighted that reveal plastic changes even over periods of hours or days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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