They’ve never seen animals like hippos and sharks but adults born blind have rich insight into what they look like, a new Johns Hopkins University study found. “First-person experience isn’t the only way to develop a rich understanding of the world around us,” says Judy Kim, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins and corresponding author of a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Essentially, the question is, how do we know what we know?” While some previous research has shown that blind people do have knowledge of things like light and color, researchers still have little understanding of what blind people know about appearance and how such information is learned. Some studies suggest that people born blind remember verbal facts, like ‘flamingos are pink,’ so the research team wanted to investigate further. “People often have the intuition that we can’t know what we can’t see,” says Kim.
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