05-27-09, 12:16 AM #1
Could a blind person see colors if....
OK, I remember the first time I ate mushrooms, I saw complex patterns and geometries splashing across my vision. Open eyes, closed eyes, either way there were colors.
Is it possible that the blackness blind people experience could be filled with colors while eating psychedelic mushrooms?
Why not let them have a try, they won't see anything their whole lives anyway.....
05-27-09, 12:30 AM #2
We do not know if there was any experiment about blind people reactions to psychedelic mushrooms. But I am sure that there are blind people who have tried these mushrooms without being subject to a scientific research. You should find these people.
If we want to speculate, we should ask whether if these effects are triggering what is already inside the mind in a different way, or they are pushing the colour buttons of the brain. If that so, we do not need the experience of seeing red or blue colour, because they are already wired-up into our brains and we could see them in our mental state even without having the visual experience before (!)
This is the point that I have difficulty to understand. How can a blind person describe the colour red without giving reference to something red (apple, blood etc.). Let's say basic colours were coded to the brain thanks to previous generations. They would be useless information for the brain of a blind person, since he or she couldn't associate these colours with anything.
There are people who see certain colour when you tell them certain words. Some of them are blinded after certain age (their brain has the knowledge of a colour table) and some of them are not blind at all. But a person who has always been blind? I couldn't speculate further than this point.
05-27-09, 12:45 AM #3
05-27-09, 02:22 PM #4
05-29-09, 03:17 PM #5
If a person's born blind and has no first-hand experience of colour, wouldn't it be their other senses that were more affected by eating mushrooms? ie changes in sound, taste, touch, smell sensations?
05-29-09, 03:21 PM #6
I talked to a blind guy once who had tripped on LSD many years ago.
He said he saw colors and patterns
05-29-09, 03:33 PM #7
Had he been blind since birth, or did he have some experience of colour and go blind later?
05-29-09, 03:48 PM #8
I believe he said he had been blind since birth. This had to be over 35 years ago.
Pretty sure I asked and found it quite odd that he did.
A large percentage of your brain is used for color interpretation. I would think that most who are blind, the reason is not in the brain end , but the interface
05-29-09, 04:11 PM #9
That's very interesting...it suggests there might be some innate knowledge of colour stored somewhere in the brain, perhaps?
05-29-09, 06:20 PM #10
05-30-09, 11:46 AM #11
This is a very interesting discussion.
I would have to agree that if one is blind from birth and has no direct exposure to color, then there is no way to identify color during an drug enduced reaction.
The idea that we have some predetermined and instinctual preset knowledge of color right from birth is highly unlikely, though not proven impossible (or possible for that matter) to my knowlege.
The blind use temperatures, textures, shapes, smells, tastes and noises to recognize what is what, whereas we just have to simply look at something in order to determine its identity (most of the time).
05-30-09, 01:41 PM #12
Would a color blind person suddenly be able to see colors he cannot see?
05-30-09, 03:39 PM #13
At birth, there is a significant redundancy in our neurons. The ones that we use, grow. and the others atrophy. So the part of the brain devoted to vision in an adult stone blind from birth would be severely atrophied.
The same thing happens to a human with a crossed eye. Their brain ignores the information from that eye and, even if the problem is later corrected, if it's past the "critical period (age 8), that eye will remain with severely impaired vision for life.
I've not seen studies specifically addressing the effect of "deprivation" on interpretation of color, but I'd wager that if a person who was blind from birth had any ability to discriminate different colors at all, it would be quite minimal. Since this inability is, in large part, due to underdevelopment of the brain, there would be few neurons for the hallucinogenic compound to act upon and so it's quite unlikely that they would experience the kaleidoscope of colors you experienced.
A person who became blind at a later age, on the other hand, would not suffer from atrophy of the visual cortex, and so could experience the same visual hallucinations as you.
05-30-09, 04:04 PM #14
05-30-09, 05:56 PM #15
05-30-09, 06:18 PM #16
05-30-09, 06:46 PM #17
There is a famous and often replicated experiment with two kittens a week or two old (I forget exact age) usually from the same litter. Each is constrained to stay in its own basket. The two baskets are hung , just above the floor, at the ends of a pole supported by a central pivot so the pole can rotate. One of the cats makes it rotate as its feet can touch the floor, thru holes in the bottom of its basket. There is a circular wall surrounding this two basket merry-go-round and both cats see exactly the same pattern as it rotates. For example, vertical black and white stripes, and some at 45 degrees etc. with exact repeat after 180 degrees around on the surrounding wall.
Only the active cat which caused the pattern to move will learn to see the stripes! After the critical period it can be trained to get a reward by discrimination of stripe orientation patterns. - The cat that only rode in the basket cannot be even though it had exactly the same visual experience.
If you know than V1 holds the "line orientation" detectors Hubel and Wesel got the Nobel prise for discovering you can better understand this result. There is in cat a very limited period in which these neural detectors get functionally organized.
Likewise humans that are blind at birth, but later have sight restored, never can learn to accurately make bi-ocular based distance judgments. They missed the period when that processing should have been established and it cannot be learned later.
Last edited by Billy T; 05-30-09 at 06:54 PM.
05-31-09, 01:44 PM #18
This is one of the main reasons we recommend every child get an eye exam by age 5 (at the latest). Most parents assume they will be able to tell if their child has vision problems. But this is often not the case. If only one eye is affeced, for instance, the child will seem to function perfectly normally by using only the "good" eye. Often, a pair of glasses prescribed at a young age can mean the difference between having two good eyes with normal depth perception; and being legally blind in one eye.
05-31-09, 08:05 PM #19
Bach-y-Rita did experiment with blind who had lost their sight. Restoring low quality vison to them by stimulating an electrode array on the backs which was driven by a compact head-mounted forward-looking camera. They do not learn to experience the stimulation as “seeing” instead of back stimulation, if they cannot move around but just sit in a chair and watch a movie for weeks. When they control / cause the visual field to change, some cease to experience the stimulation as on the back* but as vision in only a few hours, most in a day or two. That is why I am so sure a rich routine of hand eye interactions will greatly help you cure patients with a functional but ignored lazy eye.
Here is a link to Paul’s concepts now commercially applied to provide the blind with low resolution vision (via tactile stimulation array on the back):
Here is Wiki link to the field of sensory substitution – a field that Paul Back-y-Rita invented, as least as far as practical applications:
I have read one of his books,** several of his papers, and exchanged a few letters with him many years ago.
Because the lazy eye child's brain is not rigidly developed yet, the brain plasticity effects should make it much easier to correct his lazy eye with active participation of his arm and hand than Paul's adult patients could learn to see with their backs. Try this suggestion on even some eight year olds that normally cannot be helped.
*In the cane using blind this "transferred perception" is so common, it is hardly ever commented on! I.e. they do NOT experience / percieve the actual vibrations and pressures in their hand, but the world at the tip of the cane.
This is also one of many facts that supports my strange POV that ALL PERCEPTION is due to the Real Time Simulation, RTS, construced in parietal brain, not the result of neural computational transforms of sensory stimulations. I.e. it hardly matters how the external world conditions are reported, especially in the young child with lazy eye, just learning to percieve with it, as vision is not perceived in some neural computational transformed fashion from the retina stimulation - stimulation of the back can also become vision. (Admittedly it is low resolution as the stimulation points of the array are very few in comparison to the retina, but it is vision none the less, not back stimulation that is experienced.)
We internally construct the world we perveive and use external sensory information to guide that construction. So you can, as Paul has proven, see with an array stimulated on your back and experience it as "vision" in the RTS as if the infomation came from an equal number of retinal cells.
** Bach-y-Rita P. Brain Mechanisms in Sensory Substitution, Academic Press New York:1972.
Last edited by Billy T; 05-31-09 at 08:51 PM.
05-31-09, 08:46 PM #20
For moderate cases, I might patch the good eye and suggest that the parent allow the child to play video games only while patching the good eye. If the child likes video games, this can be a very effective technique.
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