Michael Merzenich shares a fascinating piece of research:
One of my favorite experiments of this class was conducted by John Kennedy now at the University of Toronto, who asked congenitally blind individuals to draw the shapes of large and small real world objects on special paper that produced raised lines on the paper as they drew. When asked to draw a car, for example, and the blind individual who had never before attempted to draw created a reasonable cartoon car. Asked to draw it in perspective (e.g., from the front) and they did a good job of it (e.g., headlamps, grill, windshield, etc.). Their drawings were usually made in 3 dimensions.
Asked to draw the car going fast, and they did the same kinds of things that a visual cartoonist might do: elevate the front of the car; follow the car with squiggly lines; twist the spokes of the hubcaps; etc. There can be little doubt that such an individual SEES (can create an image in her/his mind) WITH HIS HANDS. It is interesting to me that the brain uses the same areas for these mental reconstructions in the blind individual that it engages in actual visually-dominated reconstruction in the sighted.
Of course Arwood’s main point is that the hands are making their own very powerful contribution to mental reconstructions in the NORMAL (sighted) kid.