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Thread: What do blind people 'see'?

  1. #1 What do blind people 'see'? 
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    What do blind people see? Do they even see? Do they see darkness? or Do they not see anything, like how our hands and feet don't see anything?

    Is 'seeing' it the same for: 1) Dead eye retina nerve 2) Empty eye socket

    Is it like how we see darkness when we close our eyes? Or is it... something magical


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    You should explain in greater detail what they were supposed to be looking at for varification.After all this is a SCIENCE FORUM.


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    IN what aspect?

    I went to school with a blind girl. One day, she asked if she could "see" me. I said sure.

    She proceeded to take my face in her hands and study it with her fingers and hands. Her observations were awesome.

    There are different levels of BLIND.

    Five weeks ago, I was just shy of legally blind in my right eye. Some blind people can see shadows....and shapes...some nothing.

    Since I deal with acute glaucoma, and eye issues on a day to day basis, and I have almost lost the sight in one eye.....blind is not much fun...whether in one eye or both.
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    Most earth creatures have eyes and view a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.Fish reptiles birds bugs animals people.It's something that we all still share.I am inclimed to think that nessesity was the mother of invention when it comes to senses in general.There is present an electromagnetic spectrum and it connects to external information at a distance.Creatures need to use that information and eyes evolved.As to the question of blind people seeing,the fact that they are blind iplies that they can not.As for sensing of the electromagnet spectrum they cannot sense the visable portion,but that does not make them imuned to X-ray.So some part of them is still sensing electromagnetic.As to whether they can actually see somehow is debatable since some have reported what apears to be sight even without their normal vision functioning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapien View Post
    You should explain in greater detail what they were supposed to be looking at for varification.After all this is a SCIENCE FORUM.
    im aware there are different degree of blindness, but i am not talking about those who see shadows/sight-impared.
    im referring to those who, case 1: have lost their eye balls, case 2:not-working retina nerves
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    totally blackness... is what they see
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  8. #7  
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    they see black, or, they see nothing, are different, your hands/feet doesnt see anything. when your eyes look at something black/total darkness, you see black/blackness.
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    I speculate that blind people do not detect light and thus do not receive nor process visual information in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe (i.e. phototransduction could be absent). As such, I think they are surrounded by darkness, but I do not know if they are aware of this.
    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; October 16th, 2013 at 04:57 PM.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    I speculate that blind people do not detect light and thus do not receive nor process visual information in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe (i.e. phototransduction could be absent). As such, I think they surrounded by darkness, but I do not know if they are aware of this.
    yes they must be because brain stil works...
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  11. #10  
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    do we process visual information in pure darkness?
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    The blind people that I know of think sight is just an extra sense.What people with good vision see,people without do not see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    do we process visual information in pure darkness?

    If I recall it correctly, there are rod cells in the retina that can distinguish between darkness and light.
    One type of bipolar cells (OFF bipolar cells) release a neurotransmitter when there is no signal from the rod cell (i.e. there are no photons that activate rhodopsin in the rod cells).
    Thus I think (again, this is mere speculation and should be treated as such) that the brain receives incoming information when we are in complete darkness.
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    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Also brain wiring the optic nerve connections also extend foward up to the prefrontal cortex and thus imagination and memory might also be involved if the memory or imagined were in visual,such as someone who wasn't blind but then lost sight.
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  15. #14  
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    This is an ongoing topic on the Medical Sciences Forum

    Blind people see blackness?
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    I speculate that blind people do not detect light and thus do not receive nor process visual information in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe (i.e. phototransduction could be absent). As such, I think they surrounded by darkness, but I do not know if they are aware of this.
    yes they must be because brain stil works...
    There was an interesting case in Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat of someone who lost his sight due to brain damage. But he also lost the whole concept of sight. When they explained that he was now blind his response was puzzlement, something like, "what are you talking about, what is this 'sight' of which you speak?"
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    sight sense is used through other senses , by completely blind people.
    so we can say that indirectly they "SEE" by listening, touching, smell etc. nobody is blind 100%
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    sounds like something a blind guy might say.Dude,how are you reading this forum?
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  19. #18  
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    the thread in post #14 has a reply about a question that's like: "Do deaf people hear nothing, or do they not hear?"

    it doesn't seem similar to this question...
    at least i don't think its about the same thing.

    but in reply to post #8, sometimes i'm surrounded in total darkness, but im not aware of it too!
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    The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
    Helen Keller


    Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
    Helen Keller

    Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf - blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
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  21. #20  
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    she didnt say about what she saw(if she saw anything)
    well, helen keller says first
    1)The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen.
    2)
    Walking with a friend in the dark

    cannot be seen = see dark?
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  22. #21  
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    How the brain interprets blindness depends on when the blindness first occurred. If you were born blind you wouldn't know about the concept of blackness, you wouldn't know anything about the concept of sight. Whatever part of the brain would have been used for sight would be divided up by the other senses. You wouldn't see anything including blackness.

    If you met someone who was born blind. Do you think you could explain sight so they could understand it? Really understand it? If you asked if they lived in blackness they wouldn't even understand the question.

    However if someone had good sight for many years before losing it, they would be living in darkness at least for many years.

    Personally I fear blindness more than I do death.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    How the brain interprets blindness depends on when the blindness first occurred. If you were born blind you wouldn't know about the concept of blackness, you wouldn't know anything about the concept of sight. Whatever part of the brain would have been used for sight would be divided up by the other senses. You wouldn't see anything including blackness.

    If you met someone who was born blind. Do you think you could explain sight so they could understand it? Really understand it? If you asked if they lived in blackness they wouldn't even understand the question.

    However if someone had good sight for many years before losing it, they would be living in darkness at least for many years.

    Personally I fear blindness more than I do death.
    I fear it also.
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  24. #23  
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    Personally I fear blindness more than I do death. ]
    I do not fear anything, I learned to accept what happens to me in life and just adapt to those changes. Same with death, it will happen one day and so therefore I accept that as well and have planed what to do if it does, funeral arraignments that is. Always try to adapt to anything that might happen to you in life and "roll with the punches".
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Personally I fear blindness more than I do death. ]
    I do not fear anything, I learned to accept what happens to me in life and just adapt to those changes. Same with death, it will happen one day and so therefore I accept that as well and have planed what to do if it does, funeral arraignments that is. Always try to adapt to anything that might happen to you in life and "roll with the punches".
    I do fear going blind.

    I live alone 7 months a year and isolated. I have to be self sufficient. I also am a whirlwind of a person.......I think it would drive me crazy! ok maybe (er)
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  26. #25  
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    I think the word "see(ing)" used here may be causing some confusion/misunderstanding to readers.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    What do blind people see? Do they even see?
    If you are referring specifically to ocular vision; they do not "see" in the same way as people with unimpaired sight, but many of them have developed other means; such mapping objects (tactile senses) and their immediate environment (competent visuospatial abilities) that the visually unimpaired wouldn't normally utilize.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    Do they see darkness? or Do they not see anything, like how our hands and feet don't see anything? Temporary ignoring that there may be varying degrees of blindness, but if you are referring to being born hundred percent blind at birth
    I suspect, and strictly speaking from a fully blind person at birth, this would be like asking us how does it feel to wiggle a non-existent tail around. The reason for this is because light, darkness, shades, and colours wouldn't mean anything to them, but texture on the other hand does (at least from the one I've spent some time with).

    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    Is it like how we see darkness when we close our eyes?
    If you mean the visual noise like static effect, I honestly do not know, but I doubt they will experience it with the lack of functioning photoreceptor cells in truly blind people.
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    I have often remarked that sculptors "see" with their fingertips
    Much like babe's schoolmate, I can reconstruct that which I have touched as accurately(if not more so) as that which i have only seen--I suspect that i am using the "knowledge" processing of the visual cortex with inputs from the nerves in my fingertips.

    many(most?, all?) people who have gone blind re-task the visual cortex with other sensory inputs(mostly sound) to "see" the world around them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    I have often remarked that sculptors "see" with their fingertips
    Much like babe's schoolmate, I can reconstruct that which I have touched as accurately(if not more so) as that which i have only seen--I suspect that i am using the "knowledge" processing of the visual cortex with inputs from the nerves in my fingertips.

    many(most?, all?) people who have gone blind re-task the visual cortex with other sensory inputs(mostly sound) to "see" the world around them.
    Vocalists feel with their souls...and hearts...it is a lesson or experience in your life that you convey through the music. Theatre....you are another person outside of yourself and your observations of movement, dialect, feelings...and portrayal of the character.....is something you create. It is not given to you.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    our hands and feet don't see anything
    If you asked only to convey that elegant answer, I thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    Is it like how we see darkness when we close our eyes?
    If you mean the visual noise like static effect, I honestly do not know, but I doubt they will experience it with the lack of functioning photoreceptor cells in truly blind people.
    does lack of functioning of photoreceptor cells = the same effect as having no photoreceptor cells?
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    If you mean the visual noise like static effect, I honestly do not know, but I doubt they will experience it with the lack of functioning photoreceptor cells in truly blind people.
    does lack of functioning of photoreceptor cells = the same effect as having no photoreceptor cells?
    Not necessarily. Having a non-functioning cellular phone isn't quite the same as not having a cellular phone.

    But if I think I understand what it is you are really trying to ask, I'm not sure if they both share the same "lack of" experience. That is to say whether the lack of functioning photoreceptor cells and/or having no photoreceptor cells share the same experience of having no idea what visual noise is like. Perhaps someone else here with more knowledge on neuroscience/biology can answer that to some degree of accuracy.
    Last edited by scoobydoo1; October 17th, 2013 at 08:22 AM. Reason: typo correction
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RamenNoodles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    If you mean the visual noise like static effect, I honestly do not know, but I doubt they will experience it with the lack of functioning photoreceptor cells in truly blind people.
    does lack of functioning of photoreceptor cells = the same effect as having no photoreceptor cells?
    Not necessarily. Having a non-functioning cellular phone isn't quite the same as not having a cellular phone.

    But if I think I understand what it is you are really trying to ask, I'm not sure if they both share the same "lack of" experience. That is to say whether the lack of functioning photoreceptor cells and/or having no photoreceptor cells share the same experience of having no idea what visual noise is like. Perhaps someone else here with more knowledge on neuroscience/biology can answer that to some degree of accuracy.
    I once was visiting Carlsbad Caverns and they do turn the lights out when you are deep in the cave. It's quite an experience (much blacker than just closing your eyes).
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    Why are you debating about the meaning of sight? It seems obvious the OP is talking about receptors in the eye not functioning at all, or the eyes missing entirely. Answer: They see blackness, no light at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Why are you debating about the meaning of sight? It seems obvious the OP is talking about receptors in the eye not functioning at all, or the eyes missing entirely. Answer: They see blackness, no light at all.
    If you've never had sight you don't see anything not even blackness. Seeing is actually a function of the brain that interprets input from the optic nerves. If you've never experienced light you you can't know what blackness is. You will have no reference to work with. But if you had sight and then lost it, you do have a reference to work with and will see blackness.
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    I suppose one would have to ask blind people to learn the real answer.

    Bit ironic really, since I guess they wouldn't respond to this forum. (Or are there ways they can - I don't know?).

    OB
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    Interesting, considering the absence of light, would be darkness. This is just getting into the realms of what nothing would look like :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by One beer View Post
    I suppose one would have to ask blind people to learn the real answer.

    Bit ironic really, since I guess they wouldn't respond to this forum. (Or are there ways they can - I don't know?).

    OB
    Blind people use computers also...*S* There is software out them for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Blind people use computers also...*S* There is software out them for it.
    then, who operates computer?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sir ir r aj View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Blind people use computers also...*S* There is software out them for it.
    then, who operates computer?
    they do....I think it is more voice command programmed *S*

    Facing blindness...one tends to check this stuff out JUST in case you need it
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sir ir r aj View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Blind people use computers also...*S* There is software out them for it.
    then, who operates computer?
    they do....I think it is more voice command programmed *S*

    Facing blindness...one tends to check this stuff out JUST in case you need it
    confusion cleared!
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    So I did some digging (it has been a while), but I found the video. It's an interesting take on the concept I believe you're talking about. Enjoy.

    Out of Sight - YouTube
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmac217 View Post
    So I did some digging (it has been a while), but I found the video. It's an interesting take on the concept I believe you're talking about. Enjoy.

    Out of Sight - YouTube
    I have known some of those experiences after eye surgeries. What a wonderful video.....THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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    Just came across this video by Discovery News on Youtube, it seems to explain this whole question.

    How The Blind Sense and Use Light - YouTube
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