When the mind's eye processes language


THE mind’s eye can develop a knack for language in people who have been blind since birth. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures blood flow in the brain to determine which neurons are most active. Since the 1990s the technology has shown, surprisingly, that the visual cortex flares up even in blind people. More puzzlingly, this activity occurs when they are carrying out language tasks. Rebecca Saxe at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the result seemed implausible, because the visual cortex is not thought to be useful for language tasks. So to investigate,
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