The title pretty much says it all. I'm looking for any studies or experiments into language development in those born blind.

I'm interested as part of my investigations into AI on how language is developed without visual cues and if language is impaired in anyway because of this and I've yet to come across any. Has anyone heard of such an endeavor?

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    $\begingroup$ the best bet for you will be to go and do research on your own. Talk to those people and publish your study books.google.com/… $\endgroup$ – Grasper Nov 3 '15 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ You may be right but that involves a lot of work in addition to my AI research. As well as that, it's not really my field, I'm not sure I could do the research justice. I would have thought this would have come up before, it seems like a question that could come up often. Thanks for the link, looks interesting, I'll have a look. $\endgroup$ – Ross Drew Nov 4 '15 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ for AI you might need to research for any external inputs, not just visual. $\endgroup$ – Grasper Nov 4 '15 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ Lets say, for Turing test level of AI, it's very handy to know how language develops without one of the key senses to language acquisition. How you know what a cloud is without someone pointing at it? for example. The same thing also applies to -say- apples, that can be tasted by the blind but that is an extension of "Look, an apple". $\endgroup$ – Ross Drew Nov 4 '15 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ there are good videos(documentaries) on how the eyes work. And one of the things is how the brain creates a visual image in the brain based of other senses (touch,smell..) Some people even assign colors to different smells. So the idea is to combine different senses and construct a representative image that gets close to the real one. $\endgroup$ – Grasper Nov 4 '15 at 16:24

Yes, there have been a number of studies on language development in children with congenital profound visual impairment (PVI) over the years. Selma Fraiberg first described differences in early development, specifically later emergence of personal pronouns compared to typically sighted children [1]. More recent studies found that the vocabulary development of children with PVI follows a different trajectory. Vocabulary sizes is initially smaller compared to typically-sighted children, then develops rapidly and may surpass the vocabulary size of typically-sighted children of the same age [2]. Differences in the way that language is acquired in the early years, e.g. through shared gaze interaction with the caregiver, may part of the reason for the different developmental trajectories.

This is only a very superficial treatment of this question. There are entire books on this topic that offer a detailed discussion of the research:

Perez-Pereira, M., & Conti-Ramsden, G. (1999): Language development and social interaction in blind children. Hove, UK: Psychology Press/Taylor and Francis.

Pring (2004): Autism and blindness. Research and reflections. London: John Wiley & Sons.

[1] Fraiberg (1968): "Parallel and divergent patterns in blind and sighted infants" The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Vol 23, 1968, 264-300.
[2] McConachie & Moore (1994). "Early expressive language of severely visually impaired children" Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 36(3), 230–240.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, great answer. Having looked at your current field, much of what you are looking into is of interest to both my AI investigations and me, personally, having been diagnosed with ADHD early. $\endgroup$ – Ross Drew May 19 '16 at 14:11

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