Human echolocators use visual part of brain

PSYCHOLOGISTS have for the first time investigated the neural processes underlying the ability of some blind people to locate objects by producing mouth clicks and listening for the returning echoes, just like bats or dolphins.

In an experiment with two blind echolocators, who use their talent in daily life to enable them to play basketball and go mountain biking, researchers in Canada compared their brain activity to that of sighted controls listening to the same clicks.

Surprisingly, the MRI scans showed the echolocators' processing of click echoes was "uncannily similar to vision".