Deductive Reasoning and Working Memory Skills in Individuals with Blindness

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Mar 7;22(5):2062. doi: 10.3390/s22052062.


Deductive reasoning and working memory are integral parts of executive functioning and are important skills for blind people in everyday life. Despite the importance of these skills, the influence of visual experience on reasoning and working memory skills, as well as on the relationship between these, is unknown. In this study, fifteen participants with congenital blindness (CB), fifteen with late blindness (LB), fifteen sighted blindfolded controls (SbfC), and fifteen sighted participants performed two tasks of deductive reasoning and two of working memory. We found that while the CB and LB participants did not differ in their deductive reasoning abilities, the CB group performed worse than the sighted controls, and the LB group performed better than the SbfC group. Those with CB outperformed all the other groups in both of the working memory tests. Working memory is associated with deductive reasoning in all three visually impaired groups, but not in the sighted group. These findings suggest that deductive reasoning is not a uniform skill, and that it is associated with visual impairment onset, the level of reasoning difficulty, and the degree of working memory load.

Keywords: congenital blindness; deductive reasoning; executive functions; late blindness; working memory.

MeSH terms

  • Blindness
  • Humans
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Problem Solving*