Is vision necessary for the development of the categorical organization of the Ventral Occipito-Temporal Cortex (VOTC)? We used fMRI to characterize VOTC responses to eight categories presented acoustically in sighted and early blind individuals, and visually in a separate sighted group. We observed that VOTC reliably encodes sound categories in sighted and blind people using a representational structure and connectivity partially similar to the one found in vision. Sound categories were, however, more reliably encoded in the blind than the sighted group, using a representational format closer to the one found in vision. Crucially, VOTC in blind represents the categorical membership of sounds rather than their acoustic features. Our results suggest that sounds trigger categorical responses in the VOTC of congenitally blind and sighted people that partially match the topography and functional profile of the visual response, despite qualitative nuances in the categorical organization of VOTC between modalities and groups.
Processed data have been made available on OSF at the link https://osf.io/erdxz/. To preserve participant anonymity and due to restrictions on data sharing in our ethical approval, fully anonymised raw data can only be shared upon request to the corresponding author.
Categorical representation from sound and sight in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex of sighted and blind - open dataOpen Science Framework, erdxz.
- Olivier Collignon
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: The ethical committee of the University of Trento approved this study (protocol 2014-007) and participants gave their informed consent before participation.
- Tamar R Makin, University College London, United Kingdom
© 2020, Mattioni et al.
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