If someone was born...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by waloshin, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

    waloshin

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #1
    If someone was born in a cave and never left the cage as their parents would always bring them food. Would they loose their vision or have enhanced vision? Or would their vision be normal.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    #2
    Reminds me of the "Allegory of the Cave", but to answer your question, and assuming there is not much light coming into the caves apart from man-made light and probably some kind of opening, the eyes of that occupant will be adjusted to low-level light. Once such occupant is released into daylight, the person would have to weir shades or sun glasses, as it would be too bright.
     
  3. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    waloshin

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    #3
    Socrates had quite the crazy theory. Do you think they would have to wear sunglasses after being released forever?
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    #4
    Depending on their length of light deprival, probably not, since the eyes will adjust, just as they adjusted to the low light.
    But then again, maybe they eyes have been damaged in between due to sudden light exposure and other stuff I currently can't think of.
     
  5. Daffodil macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

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    #5
    For the sake of the argument, I'm going to assume you meant that these kids were hypothetically really far back into the cave where it's pitch black, with absolutely no visual stimuli at all...

    It is my understanding that neurons to an extent are a use-it-or-lose-it type thing. You're born with a huge set of possible connections, but only the ones that are reinforced remain after a given time, and the rest weaken. (Strong argument to introduce your baby to many varied situations/stimuli, perhaps? :p) If your visual pathways never were used from birth, the lack of stimulus during critical formation could conceivably render you permanently unable to see.

    Nevertheless, neurons also exhibit great plasticity, so who knows what would happen if you took them outside? Probably depends on the age at which you did it... At 40 y/o it'd probably be too late, but if you took them outside as a 4 y/o perhaps they could adapt? Pure speculation on my part, though... ;) There might be relevant studies with various kinds of stroke patients out there?

    As some scientific back-up to my speculation, there have been experiments restricting kittens' eyesight from birth (since they're born blind), with either dark-rearing, or restricting their visual field in various ways to see the permanent effect. The evidence suggests some preference for whatever they were exposed to...

    Couple relevant articles:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/681993
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7230034
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18019611

    Enjoy! :D
     
  6. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    waloshin

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #6
    That is correct.
     
  7. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #7
    There are key developmental 'windows' where the brain is fine tuned to develop key areas. We have probably all heard that it is much harder to learn a language after the age if ten, but for anyone who never hears a human speech as a child it is exceptionally difficult to learn as they missed the window.

    Human babies are capable of responding to visual stimulii from birth, so they ate born able to see without the need for light. However, their vision is poor and there is likely a key window like I described above for developing key visual skills (eg properly focusing, depth perception etc). So I would expect it would be difficult, and take time, to see correctly without stimulus as a baby.
     
  8. And macrumors 6502

    And

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    #8
    My understanding is that the retina itself atrophies without light. Therefore, if it is pitch black as described, then the retina will die and there will be no possibility of being able to see in the future.
     
  9. diane143 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    You should read up on fish that are brought into caves open for public touring - they will go blind if in there too long. This is what I was told while touring a cave.
     
  10. And macrumors 6502

    And

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    #10
    Yes, but they've evolved to have no vision, so it doesn't really help answer the q. What happens when something which has evolved to have a visual system is brought up in an environment without light, that is the question.
     
  11. Daffodil macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

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    #11
    Yeah, definitely an important distinction. :)
     

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