Perceptual Science Series
Project Prakash: Combining Science and Service
Persci Forum, Keynote speaker: Pawan Sinha
Monday, May 02, 2011, 12:00pm - 07:00pm
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
The hope inherent in pursuing basic research is that sometime in the future the work will prove beneficial to society. This fruition can take many years or even decades. However, in some instances, even the conduct of basic research can yield tangible societal benefits. I shall describe an effort that perhaps fits in this category. Named 'Project Prakash', this initiative provides sight to blind children on the one hand and helps address several fundamental questions regarding brain plasticity and learning on the other. Through a combination of behavioral and brain-imaging studies, the effort has provided evidence of visual learning late in childhood and has illuminated some of the processes that might underlie such learning.