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Nat Neurosci. 2007 Jun;10(6):687-9. Epub 2007 May 21.

Shape conveyed by visual-to-auditory sensory substitution activates the lateral occipital complex.

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  • 1Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The lateral-occipital tactile-visual area (LOtv) is activated when objects are recognized by vision or touch. We report here that the LOtv is also activated in sighted and blind humans who recognize objects by extracting shape information from visual-to-auditory sensory substitution soundscapes. Recognizing objects by their typical sounds or learning to associate specific soundscapes with specific objects do not activate this region. This suggests that LOtv is driven by the presence of shape information.

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