How do the blind see in their dreams?
January 31, 2005 1:48 PM   Subscribe

This has puzzled me for a long time. People who've been blind since birth - how can they dream images? Do they? Without a visual history for reference, how can it happen?
posted by davebush to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Cecil comes through again!
posted by kimota at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2005

I don't know if you've seen this article on New Scientist (your question might have been inspired by it), but I came across this the other day and found it fascinating.

The article seems to cover that general question, focusing on a blind painter. I've always been interested in this myself, and certainly look forward to anyone else here who can provide some insight.
posted by Stunt at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2005

This piece by Oliver Sacks in the New Yorker was incredibly interesting. He details his experiences with how the blind visualize. Worth a read.
posted by brheavy at 2:23 PM on January 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

This AMS article about blind mathematicians has a particular emphasis on geometry and topology and suggests that tactile input is another way of building the same kind of internal models that visual input builds. I had a hard time phrasing that, and am still not sure I got it entirely accurate.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:40 PM on January 31, 2005

Not only that, but even people who have been blind from birth use hand gestures while speaking!
(The link is only so-so. I actually saw this on a science show on tv once.)
posted by kreinsch at 7:53 PM on January 31, 2005

Glad someone asked. These articles made my night. Thanks all.
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:30 AM on February 1, 2005

Wow, this is cool.

The New Scientist article about blind painter Esref Armagan led me to this gallery of his work. Really amazing stuff. I really like the one of a whale playing a stand up bass(?).
posted by fourstar at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2005

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