Superior verbal abilities in congenital blindness

Valeria Occelli, Simon Lacey, Careese Stephens, Krish Sathian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have found that congenially blind individuals have better verbal memory than their normally sighted counterparts. However, it is not known whether this reflects a superiority of verbal abilities or of memory abilities. In order to distinguish between these possibilities, we tested congenitally blind participants and age-matched, normally sighted control participants on verbal and spatial memory tasks, as well as on verbal fluency tasks and a spatial imagery task. Congeni tally blind participants were significantly better than sighted controls on the verbal memory and verbal fluency tasks, but not on the spatial memory or spatial imagery tasks. Thus, the congenitally blind have superior verbal, but not spatial, abilities. This may be related to their greater reliance on verbal information and to the growing literature endorsing involvement of visual cortex in language processing in the congenitally blind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging 2016, HVEI 2016
EditorsThrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Huib de Ridder, Bernice E. Rogowitz
PublisherSociety for Imaging Science and Technology
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781510827943
StatePublished - 2016
EventHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging 2016, HVEI 2016 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 14 2016Feb 18 2016

Publication series

NameHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging 2016, HVEI 2016


OtherHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging 2016, HVEI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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