The role of visual experience for the neural basis of spatial cognition

Achille Pasqualotto, Michael J. Proulx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (SciVal)


Blindness often results in the adaptive neural reorganization of the remaining modalities, producing sharper auditory and haptic behavioral performance. Yet, non-visual modalities might not be able to fully compensate for the lack of visual experience as in the case of congenital blindness. For example, developmental visual experience seems to be necessary for the maturation of multisensory neurons for spatial tasks. Additionally, the ability of vision to convey information in parallel might be taken into account as the main attribute that cannot be fully compensated by the spared modalities. Therefore, the lack of visual experience might impair all spatial tasks that require the integration of inputs from different modalities, such as having to represent a set of objects on the basis of the spatial relationships among the objects, rather than the spatial relationship that each object has with oneself. Here we integrate behavioral and neural evidence to conclude that visual experience is necessary for the neural development of normal spatial cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1187
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number4
Early online date6 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


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