brain consists of Frontal lobe, Occipital Lobe, Parietal lobe, Temporal lobe, Cerebellum,
Ventricles, Thalamus and the brain stem. Each area is responsible for certain
functions within our body (The Brain and Spine Foundation, 2017).
1. The Frontal lobe is responsible for
processing information related to personality, character and behavioural
2. The Occipital lobe receives
information from the eyes.
3. Parietal lobe receives and
interprets information from all five senses.
4. The Temporal lobe consists of two
and receives information from the ears as well as assisting with determining
5. The cerebellum controls your sense
6. The ventricles produce cerebrospinal
fluid which helps protect the brain and spinal cord.
7. The brain stem controls functions
such as the heart, lungs and blood pressure and is responsible for keeping you
8. The thalamus controls your bodies temperature
as well as information relating to growth (The Brain and Spine Foundation,
The brain relies on the
complimentary roles of sensation and perception to process the information
received by our senses and then generate an output response. Sensation can be
defined as the process of sensing the environment utilizing senses such as
touch, taste, sight, sound and smell (our five senses), this raw information is
then relayed to the brain. Perception is the manner in which the brain
interprets the relayed information received from the senses (Heffner,2018).
An experiment conducted by Delft
University of technology in the Netherlands examined the effects sensory
impairment had on product experience and personal well-being. Participants were
required to complete 8 simple tasks while having one modality blocked. The experiment
yielded the following results (Schifferstein & Desmet, 2007):
Highest loss of functional information
Increased task duration and difficulty
Resulted in other sense being utilized more
Product experiences increased in perceived intense
Perceived loss of information was less
Familiar products evoked an emotion of “less
of their own ”
Feeling of being isolated or cut-off
Decreased the intensity of the experiences
As one can see from the above
information that the sense of sight outcome mainly plays a functional role in
the life of an everyday user. Sensory impairments directly affect the
experience. Human behaviour is a direct result of experiences (Mcleod,2017). As
one can see from the above information, the basic structure of the brain is uniform,
but the variable is a factor known as brain plasticity. Brain plasticity is
directly dependent on life experiences and events. The formation of new
synapses or change of existing synapses is a function of brain plasticity
(Gerrig,2013). Therefore, events, experiences and environments that we expose
ourselves to directly influence the plasticity of our brains. When we are
subjected to a sense impairment such as being deaf or blind, our brains become
“rewired”, adapting and utilizing the area once used for sight now for hearing.
This area adapts to help process other senses (Bates,2012). A study in the
journal of neuroscience found that an area in the brain of deaf people usually
devoted for processing hearing information was found to be processing
information related to touch and smell. This is known as neural reorganization
and affects the manner which deaf people perceive sensory stimuli. This can
also result in deaf people becoming susceptible to perceptual illusions which
hearing individuals did not experience. The process of cross-modal neuro plasticity
as illustrated above does result in negative consequences (Bates,2012).
After analysis of the above
information, I am of the opinion that when an individual suffers from a sensory
impairment, that our senses do not become more sensitive but rather that the
brain adapts and undergoes a process known as “cross-modal neuroplasticity”.
This results in lower absolute thresholds, increased awareness regarding
differential thresholds. Impaired individuals conform with the signal detection
theory (Bates,2012). Due to humans being creatures of habit, individuals
without impairments become complacent and reliant on specific senses ultimately
resulting in individuals suffering from a combination of sensory adaption and
in-attentional blindness (Cherry,2017).