Table of Contents
ISRN Rehabilitation
Volume 2012, Article ID 490950, 15 pages
Research Article

Looking into Task-Specific Activation Using a Prosthesis Substituting Vision with Audition

1Neural Rehabilitation Group, Institute of Neuroscience, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate 54, UCL B1.54.09, 1200 Brussels, Belgium
2Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Section, Department of Radiology, Université Catholique de Louvain, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Avenue Hippocrate 10, 1200 Brussels, Belgium

Received 26 August 2011; Accepted 25 October 2011

Academic Editors: G. Kerkhoff and C. I. Renner

Copyright © 2012 Paula Plaza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A visual-to-auditory sensory substitution device initially developed for the blind is known to allow visual-like perception through sequential exploratory strategies. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test whether processing the location versus the orientation of simple (elementary) “visual” stimuli encoded into sounds using the device modulates the brain activity within the dorsal visual stream in the absence of sequential exploration of these stimuli. Location and orientation detection with the device induced a similar recruitment of frontoparietal brain areas in blindfolded sighted subjects as the corresponding tasks using the same stimuli in the same subjects in vision. We observed a similar preference of the right superior parietal lobule for spatial localization over orientation processing in both sensory modalities. This provides evidence that the parietal cortex activation during the use of the prosthesis is task related and further indicates the multisensory recruitment of the dorsal visual pathway in spatial processing.