Sight-impaired individuals must learn to “see” without visual clues. Researchers from the KU Leuven Laboratory for Biological Psychology conducted an experiment with people who were born blind — some of them even without eyeballs — and have therefore never processed any visual information. A sighted person processing visual input only needs a split second to determine what they are seeing. The area in our brain that can categorize these visual observations so quickly is the so-called ventral-temporal cortex, the visual brain. Like a map, this region is divided into smaller regions, each of which recognizes a particular category of observations — faces, body parts, scenes, and objects. The scientists in a new study have now shown that people who were born with impaired sight use a ‘brain map’ with a very similar layout to distinguish between these same categories. They asked the blind participants to listen to sounds from four categories: laughing, kissing, and lip smacking for faces; hand clapping and footsteps for body parts; forest and beach sounds for scenes; and a clock, washing machine, and car for objects. A scanner measured the activity in their visual brain. Their visual brain also responded differently to each category using their “brain map” part of the brain. Further, the layout of their map is largely the same as that of sighted people. The results trigger the question, what actually was the brain processing? Perhaps there is a form of “deep learning” in our brains as well as in our artificial intelligence.