The task-specific principle asserts that, following deafness or blindness, the deprived cortex is reorganized in a manner such that the task of a given area is preserved even though its input modality has been switched. Accordingly, tactile reading engages the ventral occipitotemporal cortex (vOT) in the blind in a similar way to regular reading in the sighted. Others, however, show that the vOT of the blind processes spoken sentence structure, which suggests that the task-specific principle might not apply to vOT. The strongest evidence for the vOT's engagement in sighted reading comes from orthographic repetition–suppression studies. Here, congenitally blind adults were tested in an fMRI repetition–suppression paradigm. Results reveal a double dissociation, with tactile orthographic priming in the vOT and auditory priming in general language areas. Reconciling our finding with other evidence, we propose that the vOT in the blind serves multiple functions, one of which, orthographic processing, overlaps with its function in the sighted.

You do not currently have access to this content.