Poster F125, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Tactile and visual motion processing in congenitally deaf humans
Agnes K. Villwock1,2, Davide Bottari1, Brigitte Roeder1; 1University of Hamburg, 2University of California San Diego
Sensory deprivation has been shown to partially impact the development of the remaining modalities. However, to date, the consequences of congenital deafness on the processing of the spared senses remain inconclusive. This is particularly the case with regard to the somatosensory modality. In the present study, we investigated the consequences of auditory deprivation from birth on the processing of tactile and visual motion. To this end, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) in congenitally deaf signers (N = 21) and matched hearing controls during a target detection task with unimodal, dynamic tactile and visual stimuli. The motion of standard stimuli was continuous, whereas deviants comprised a gap in motion. Participants were asked to respond to rare deviants moving in a target direction. We predicted to find an enhanced behavioral performance in the deaf group compared to hearing controls. Furthermore, we expected a more anterior distribution of the ERPs in the deaf group compared to the hearing group after tactile or visual stimulation, indicating crossmodal reorganization. No between-group differences were found in the behavioral measures. The ERPs at 150 ms poststimulus onset displayed a more anterior distribution of the potential in the deaf group compared to the hearing control group. Importantly, this difference was observed independently of the presented modality. This finding suggests crossmodal reorganization as a result of congenital deafness – that is, enhanced activation of areas, which are typically associated with auditory processing in hearing individuals. Acknowledgement: This study was supported by the European Research Council (ERC-2009-AdG 249425-CriticalBrainChanges).
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Multisensory