Early visual deprivation impairs multisensory interactions in humans

Nature Neuroscience – 10, 1243 – 1245 (2007)
Published online: 16 September 2007; | doi:10.1038/nn1978

Lisa Putzar1, Ines Goerendt1, Kathrin Lange2, Frank Rösler3 & Brigitte Röder1

Animal studies have shown that visual deprivation during the first months of life permanently impairs the interactions between sensory systems. Here we report an analogous effect for humans who had been deprived of pattern vision for at least the first five months of their life as a result of congenital binocular cataracts. These patients showed reduced audio-visual interactions in later life, although their visual performance in control tasks was unimpaired. Thus, adequate (multisensory) input during the first months of life seems to be a prerequisite in humans, as well as in animals, for the full development of cross-modal interactions.


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