Blind people excel at serial recall | Science News

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Blind people excel at serial recall

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11:57am, July 2, 2007

Blindness from birth fosters a superior ability to learn and remember ordered sequences of information, a new study indicates.

Blind people recall much longer word sequences than sighted individuals do, report Noa Raz of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his colleagues. The researchers propose that the advantage stems from blind people constantly practicing serial-memory strategies in daily life. For instance, a sightless person gets from one place to another by remembering and noting specific nonvisual cues along a particular route.

The researchers studied 19 adults who had been born blind and 19 adults with normal vision. Each volunteer heard a list of 20 words and was instructed to recall the words and their original order. This procedure was repeated four times to promote learning of the list.

In various sessions, blind individuals recalled 20 to 35 percent more words from the list than sighted people did. That advantage more than doubled for correctly re

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