New research presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego shows that blind people can understand speech at ultrafast rates, well beyond what a sighted person can comprehend. Using brain imaging, the researchers discovered how they were able to do this. The parts of the brain that process hearing get re-wired to the part of the cerebral cortex that normally handles vision. This is explained in my post on the Scientific American website, but Scientific American was not able to include the audio clip of what such high-speed speech sounds like. Have a listen here, and read the story at Scientific American News on-line: “Why can some blind people process speech far faster than sighted persons: www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-can-some-blind-people -process
Blind people in the study could hear speech as fast as 25 syllables a second!
For those of us who are sighted, here is a transcript of the sound clips:
“Blackwater, now called Xe Services, was once the United States’ go-to contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been under intense pressure since 2007, when Blackwater guards were accused of killing 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad. The company, its executives and personnel have faced civil lawsuits, criminal charges and congressional investigations surrounding accusations of murder and bribery. In April, federal prosecutors announced weapons charges against five former senior Blackwater executives, including its former president.”
My thanks to Dr. Ingo Hertrich, University of Tuebingen for generating these sound clips in English for readers to hear.