COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGYTactile maze solving in congenitally blind individualsGagnon, Léaa; Kupers, Ronb; Schneider, Fabien C.c d e; Ptito, MauriceaAuthor Information aChaire de Recherche Harland Sanders, School of Optometry, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada bInstitute of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark cRadiology Department, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne dCentre de Neurosciences Cognitives UMR, Bron eUniversité de Saint Etienne, Jean Monnet F-42023, Saint Etienne, France Correspondence to Dr Ron Kupers, PhD, Institute for Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3B, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark Tel: +45 3545 6890; fax: +45 3545 3989; e-mail: [email protected] Received 19 July 2010 accepted 25 July 2010 NeuroReport: October 27, 2010 - Volume 21 - Issue 15 - p 989-992 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833eaaf9 Buy Metrics Abstract Vision is undoubtedly important for navigation although not essential as blind individuals outperform their blindfolded seeing counterparts in a variety of navigational tasks. It is believed that the blind's superior performance is because of their efficient use of proprioceptive signals and environmental cues such as temperature and echolocation. We hypothesize that by limiting these cues, blind individuals will lose their advantage compared with controls in spatial navigation tasks. We therefore evaluated the performance of blind and sighted individuals in small-scale, tactile multiple T mazes. Our results show that blindfolded sighted controls outperformed blind participants in the route-learning tasks. This suggests that, contrary to indoor large-scale spaces, navigational skills inside small-scale spaces benefit from visual experience. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.