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8 December 2023 - 8 December 2023

1:00PM - 2:00PM

L68, Psychology building

  • Free

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This talk is part of the Department of Psychology (Durham University) seminar series.

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Would a person born blind who regained sight via some surgical intervention be able to learn to ‘see’? That is, would that individual be able to interpret the images that reach the retina and combine them with other senses in order to build a multisensory representation of the world and to interact with the environment? I will present the results of a 6-year project conducted in Ethiopia on children and adolescents that our team surgically treated for congenital dense bilateral cataracts several years from birth. We investigated the development of multisensory integration, sensorimotor abilities, and space perception, and whether targeted audio-visuomotor training could boost such a recovery. Our findings show that, despite years of visual impairment, cataract-treated individuals retain considerable
plasticity, and can develop multisensory, sensorimotor, and spatial abilities after surgery. Such an improvement can be enhanced by employing targeted training strengthening the association between body movements and their sensory counterpart.