What is it about?

We found that blind individuals are better than sighted at counting their own heartbeats. Our finding gives us important information about the brain’s plasticity and how the loss of one sense can enhance other senses, in this case the ability to feel what happens inside your own body.

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Why is it important?

We know that heart signals and emotions are closely interlinked; for example, our hearts beat faster when we experience fear. It is possible that blind individuals’ enhanced sensitivity to signals from their own heart also impacts their emotional experiences.


This study was part of a larger collaborative effort between two research groups interested in bodily awareness and brain plasticity following blindness. Across several experiments, we investigate a topic virtually unexplored by both research communities: how blind individuals perceive their own bodies. We examine the ability to perceive internal bodily sensations, the perception of pleasant touch, and the processes underlying combination of information from multiple senses, in order to provide the first detailed description of differences and similarities between blind and sighted individuals in various aspects of bodily perception.

Dominika Radziun
Karolinska Institutet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Heartbeat counting accuracy is enhanced in blind individuals., Journal of Experimental Psychology General, March 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/xge0001366.
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