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Sensory Substitution and Augmentation$
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Fiona Macpherson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266441

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266441.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 18 November 2019

Rewired Animals and Sensory Substitution: The Cause Is Not Cortical Plasticity

Rewired Animals and Sensory Substitution: The Cause Is Not Cortical Plasticity

Chapter:
(p.167) 10 Rewired Animals and Sensory Substitution: The Cause Is Not Cortical Plasticity
Source:
Sensory Substitution and Augmentation
Author(s):

J. Kevin O’regan

, Fiona Macpherson
Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266441.003.0010

Cortical plasticity is often invoked to explain changes in the quality or location of experience observed in rewired animals, in sensory substitution, in extension of the body through tool use, and in the rubber hand illusion. However this appeal to cortical plasticity may be misleading, because it suggests that the cortical areas that are plastic are themselves the loci of generation of experience. This would be an error, I claim, since cortical areas do not generate experience. Cortical areas participate in enabling the interaction of an agent with its environment, and the quality of this interaction constitutes the quality of experience. Thus it is not plasticity in itself, but the change in modes of interaction which plasticity allows, which gives rise to the change of experience observed in these studies.

Keywords:   plasticity, sensory substitution, rewired animals

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